Aging Sucks, They Tell Me

My wife and I recently witnessed an occurrence in which a Very Senior Senior (VSS) publicly displayed characteristics usually confined to geriatric care facilities.  Later, we were holding hands as we walked to our car and I leaned over to her and said, “Please promise that you’ll have me shot if I ever get like that.”  She smiled and nodded.

At that moment a young man and woman edged off the sidewalk to let us pass, and I heard the woman say, “I hope we’re still holding hands when we get to that age.”

Harrumph, I thought to myself.  Where do you get off making a comment like that?  You only say things like that about old people.

We all tend to criticize others but refuse to see the same faults in ourselves.  To borrow a line from a good buddy of mine, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  (Matthew: Chapter 5, Verse 7)

This morning I saw an elderly woman back her car over a curb and hit a stop sign, crunching her back bumper.  She stopped, pulled forward and then started backing her car toward my own vehicle.  With mere inches to spare, I honked to let her know it was time to apply the brakes.  Silly woman, I thought to myself, someone should take away your license.

But as I was driving away, I have to admit I almost missed a stoplight and had to stomp on the brakes before entering the intersection.

A man who works out at the same gym as I is completely bald except for a brief swath of hair growing near the base of his skull, just above his neck.  He has grown that bit of hair to epic hippie length and combs it up over the sides and top of his head. I suppress a chuckle every time I see him carefully arranging each strand as he stands before the mirror in the locker room.  But then I remember images of other men with cheap Who-do-you-think-you’re-kidding toupees or ridiculously over-colored dyes on their hair or beards.  Is one worse than the other?

All this comes to mind because of an annoying set of commercials televised by a major telecommunications company.  (I call them annoying because they were somewhat amusing the first hundred or so times I saw each of them, somewhat boring the next several hundred times, and downright irritating and counterproductive the last thousand times.) In each of the commercials, a child about 12 or 13 lectures a pair of children aged 6 or 7 about how easy they have it because of the telecom company’s innovations. “Your generation has it so easy,” sighs the older kid in one of the commercials.

Sixty is the new 40, I hear them say.

About pwandersen

Patrick W. Andersen's debut novel, Second Born, won critical acclaim for its reimagining of the life of Jesus as he grew up with his brothers and sisters in Sepphoris. His new novel, Acts of the Women, tells stories of how women, in the decades after the crucifixion, helped give birth to what eventually became Christianity.
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