Friday, May 07, 2010


I have heard it said that you know you are old when you reach down to pull up your socks and find out you aren't wearing any. There is some truth in this, and there are several other ways you can perceive that you are indeed growing old.

A friend of mine in Grand Rapids said that, as you age, every organ in your body either dries up and withers away, or leaks. This might be a gauge to use to judge your true age.

From time to time, I have seen the charts in magazines and newspapers where they have tried to help you view your physical age. You see, you may be only 30 years old, but if you enjoy yourself too much with life's little pleasure, you may actually be much older. Benjamin Button went from old age to infancy, but the rest of us follow a familiar path. We are born in various circumstances, and it's all downhill from there. Agewise, that is.

If you drink, smoke, eat too much, sit on your duff several hours a day and take no interest in the world....alas, you are doomed. The most important thing is good nutrition and, unfortunately, this does not include chocolate covered doughnuts. Exercise is also important, so try to lift yourself up occasionally. Take a walk, or at least a stroll, and maybe even run the vacuum. Exercise buffs never include running the vacuum as a way to slim your Abs, but if the dust and dog hair is two inches thick on the carpeting, it helps.

Generally, as you get older, you begin to shrink. Your body lowers, bones sinking wearily into joints, and flesh hanging down in unsightly folds. You lose inches from your height, but your shoe size generally remains the same. At an advanced age, comfort seems more important than fancy shoes and you find yourself buying them three sizes bigger, giving your toes the space to absorb all of those inches you are losing in height. Forget stilettos, or you'll be in a wheelchair much sooner than you planned.

The enemy of good health is Belly Fat, especially as you grow older. You know you have Belly Fat if you look like you are nine months along and you haven't had sex in several years. The way to avoid Belly Fat is to exercise strenuously and eat nothing but celery and carrots until you are fifty. Then, you can avoid Belly Fat and only suffer from a healthier condition, called Belly Sag. Belly Sag isn't pretty, but it won't kill you.

There are some advantages to getting old besides wearing a red hat. When you are bent over, wizened and wrinkled, you can be as mean as you want. You can use a cane and whack at anyone who displeases you. You can scowl and complain and be as miserable as a dark cloud on the horizon. There isn't a thing other people can do to defend themselves from your meanness. They can't whack back or tell you just how dismal you are much too delicate, fragile and aged for that! They may kindly try to lighten your mood, point out the beautiful flowers or the blue sky, but you can sneer at these attempts. You can wreak your revenge for every irritation, every trouble, every slight you have encountered throughout the years.

However, you may get better care if you are a sunny sort, a lovable old Bo Peep. Then you might get your diaper changed at a faster rate, or be given a special dessert at mealtime. So it is up to you to decide just which type you want to be.

As age approaches, it's time to think of the trials and tribulation of advanced age. Will you stay in your home, watched over by a "caregiver"? Or will you live in a back bedroom in the home of one of your children? Or will you enter a Nursing Home and try to think of it as your "Home Away from Home," rather than a warehouse for the aged?

There is no cure for old age, even though the Beauty Barons tell you otherwise. You can slather your face with age-defying creams, be treated with Botox and Collagen, have the fat sucked from your limbs, dye your hair, pluck your brows...and your chin hairs.....flirt with young men like a Cougar....and, alas, the wrinkles will eventually win! Gals like Cher can spend millions keeping up the impression of youth, but eventually these just won't work.

The best way to proceed is to embrace your creeping years with gay abandon. Pretend you are having the time of your life, whether you are or not. Point out that only the aging can join the AARP, or can sometimes get 10% off a restaurant meal. One thing is sure, you will not grow older alone. Like Mark Twain's description of Hell, you'll have a lot of company.