Surprising Signs of Aging



I make every effort to ignore them, but it becomes ever harder as the signs that I’m getting old keep showing up faster than the national debt estimates are changing.  I’m not talking about normal aches, pains, graying hair, and skin that stretches too much and doesn’t snap back into place like it once did.  It’s the things you never thought about that offer surprising clues to your new status as an aged American.


Here are a few examples: Often I log onto the Internet and before getting to Yahoo forget why I logged on in the first place.  I walk to the back of the house and forget the reason for that trip.  I start the car and wonder where I’m going.  A guy who attended my alma mater 14 years after my graduation is advertising Viagra on television (Rafael Palmeiro).


I actually know the number of The Weather Channel for my cable system and even the number of the weather station that sounds like a computer generated voice in a can.  It is easier for me to list the top ten newscasters than the top ten rock stars.  Neither the Eagles nor the Bee Gees seem all that old and I remember when the Rolling Stones were a phenomenal new group.


Now younger readers are probably thinking it is time older folks quit writing about getting old.  It’s boring.  Does the fact that you are getting old come as a surprise?  Didn’t you know that one day you would get old?  Glad you asked those questions, let me explain.  It’s the difference between theory and reality.


I could take a few hours and explain in great detail how it feels to hit your thumb with a ball peen hammer.  We could discuss the jolt of pain, how much the throbbing hurts, and how long it lasts.  Eventually the discussion could go into how blue your thumb would turn and what it would feel like.  After all of that you might have a pretty good idea of what it would be like to hit your thumb with a ball peen hammer, in theory.


Or, I could take a ball peen hammer and place your thumb gently on a 2X4 and smash it with that hammer.  Then you would know exactly how it feels.  So what’s the difference?  In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is.” (Chuck Reid)  Yes there’s a point to that quote.  We knew theoretically that we would get old, but in practice there are still plenty of surprises.


Eating at a restaurant almost always includes a complaint about how much food they put on the plate.  Yeah, that surprised me.  In the old days I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that didn’t have “all you can eat” prominently displayed below its name.  No meal was complete until there was a lengthy discussion about eating so much we had to throw up.  Now I don’t go to Porky’s All You Can Eat Barbecue Heaven because I either won’t get my money’s worth or I’ll be leaving on a stretcher and taking a detour to the emergency room.


Remember that you become 21; turn 30; push 40; reach 50; make it to 60; and hit 70.  By the way, have you ever looked forward to a boring evening at home?  Ever wake up feeling like you had a big night out and then realize you fell asleep on the couch?  Ever plan to have sex and go to sleep watching a Matlock rerun?  Darn those signs.


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