Illustration: Josh Clark
Aging isn’t all bad—it just affects every aspect of your life.
Another birthday’s coming, which is better than the alternative, but Father Time is looking more like a brother. Time is a confounding concept. As time marches on, it can run you down from behind, stomp across your backside, and kick you to the curb. Or, time can sneak up on you and gradually pick you apart with subtle changes over the years.
“I get winded when I tie my shoes, I got the old man blues.” (Imagine 82-year-old bluesman Buddy Guy singing.)
Physically, aging obviously brings some creaks and twinges. Actual movement might help my body feel better. I probably should stop shopping for one of those Hoverounds, but they look like they’d be so much fun around the house. I do keep appointments with my ear, nose, and throat doctor, followed by appointments with my ear, nose, and back barber.
Read about symptoms on webmd.com at your own risk. This will either ease your mind that a giant tapeworm is not devouring your intestines or send you panicking to the nearest ER. And I’m trying to ignore those letters from funeral homes and cemeteries asking me to consider relocation. I’m still above ground! At least remove the Grim Reaper from your logos.
“Strained an oblique getting out of the La-Z-Boy, ooh, I got the old man blues.”
Emotionally, just going out can be jarring. The other day at the supermarket, a bagger kid patronizingly said, “How are you, young man?” Watch it, punk, or I’ll smack that smirk right off your face, as soon as the Doan’s pills kick in for my aching shoulder. A small child eyed my white beard and exclaimed, “Santa!” Sorry, kid, you get a lump of coal. Then a woman looked at my paunch and cracked, “When are you due?” I’ll be birthing a canned ham any day now, thank you. Would you like to rub my belly?
“People always lookin’ with sideways views, I got the old man blues.”
Mentally, the mind is gone, and I tend to think it’s all tied to sleep. They say older people don’t sleep as long because they don’t need it. I think they don’t sleep as long because they can’t. I haven’t slept a wink since 1992. Each day, I function in a perpetually drowsy state. I’m nodding off as I write this.
“I’m weaving and stumbling like Mr. Magoo, I got the old man blues.”
Digestively, restaurants and supermarkets are just reminders of everything I can no longer eat: anything with red meat, anything with spices, anything with flavor, anything that didn’t come out of the dirt. “Aarp” used to be the sound I made after eating chili, now I’m reading the AARP newsletter for recipes on cauliflower steak and tips to curb flatulence.
“Acid reflux keeps me from drinkin’ booze, I got the old man blues.”
Sexually, aging in men causes the little-discussed but epidemic ailment of invisibility to women. It’s a socially transmitted disease. Somebody really needs to organize a telethon to raise money for research. Even though I’m always greeted warmly at retirement centers, date nights have given way to “Dateline” nights. Oh, that Andrea Canning is so nice! The rest of the weekend is spent deleting spam emails for hair loss, ED, and low-T. How do they know?
“Life’s journey ends with a seniors cruise, I got the old man blues.”
Now I get my kicks by purposely going to bars where I’m a thousand years older than everyone else and seeing how long it takes for all the young people to scatter. Don’t be afraid. Old isn’t contagious. I’m just here to steal your youth. I’m going to live forever! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (diabolical laughter).
I got the old man blues and I sing ’em every day. Hey, Father Time, wait up. You’re moving too fast.