Showing posts with label old. Show all posts
Showing posts with label old. Show all posts

Friday, November 3, 2023


Image by Nathan Wright from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device

"Old age is no place for sissies." -Bette Davis 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

I apologize for disrespecting anyone I judged to be old and out of it when I was a callowyute. I've been 39 for 31 years now and I'm disrespected almost daily so I'm paying for my sins. But I strive to not take it personally, it's just how things are in a youth-worshiping culture going 99 mph 24x7x365.

{I thought you didn't like the word disrespecting?}

I don't, Dana, it looks, and especially sounds, ugly, as does disrespected. In fact disrespected looks and sounds particularly ugly. 

{Then why...}

Well, I'm an old man and I associate both of these words with those who aren't. I don't recall them being commonly used when I was younger and they're both very commonly used nowadays. So I'm trying to um... reach across the temporal gulf that separates me from both the truly young, and the younger than I, which is the point of this column. 

{Huh. So you find certain words in themselves to be ugly, not necessarily what they... represent?}

Oh yeah. Take a word like misanthrope, hideous. Paradoxically, misanthropic is gorgeous.


It's not you, it's me, I'm old.

This was supposed to be a column about Old v. Young but I quickly became entangled in so many possible threads that I decided to take the high road and instead warn/advise the young and younger than I, those who are still young enough to rarely if ever think about their inevitable decline and deletion. 

When I was young, and I suspect this is true of most H. sapiens, I gave virtually no thought to getting old. On those rare occasions that I did, I was confident that this was even farther off than say... a term paper that was due by the end of next week, so why worry? HT: Alfred E. Newman. 

But once H. sapiens mature a bit, but are still relatively young, they would be well served to be at least a little more aware that they will wake up one day, note that there's more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than the top, and live/plan accordingly. 

But if they're anything like I was 100 years or so ago, they won't pay much attention when it's pointed out to them, even by a non-famous, non-syndicated, virtually unknown columnist.

{A 100 years? It appears that temporal distortion works in both directions.}

No doubt. Hey, apropos of not much, I once had a brother-in-law whose nickname was No-Doubt, about 75 years ago. He... 

Although attempting to point out to the young/younger the utility of being prepared for, and/or maintaining an awareness of, one's eventual personal decline and fall is likely to be a fool's errand, perhaps a few tips on what being old in America is going to be like might be helpful. 

{Say, do you know that "falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries" for geezers/geezerettes?}

I do, a not-so-fun fact that comes to mind every time my wrinkled bum and I get in/out of the shower, but what...

{We need to do more public service announcements.}


I know that you zany youngsters are already tired of hearing this, but you're not going to believe how fast your life will seem to have gone by once you can see the end approaching. 

[Dana groans, loudly... there's exaggerated eye-rolling]   

Seriously. I know-I know, you've probably experienced this to a certain degree, but trust me, you ain't seen nothin' yet; don't say I didn't warn you. 

Now, more importantly, one day it's going to dawn on you, or you're going to be forced to admit, that even if you're still relatively sharp and young at heart, no one mistakes you for a spring chicken and that you may even be...old. 

(On average: 70 or better. Warning: may be earlier.) 

Note the word relatively; you will have lost some of your edge. It's important that you face up to this (not everyone does) and compensate accordingly. 

The good news is that striving to fool the young and younger will help you to stay sharpish. Use it or lose it, right? Even better news: when you forget something or screw something up (accidentally or deliberately) that pees off the young/youngers you can invoke the Senior Moment defense.

Please manipulate responsibly (and judiciously). They may be looking for, even documenting, excuses to park your butt in a senior storage unit of some sort, particularly if they're seeking money, or revenge.  

{Pees off?}

Sometimes a silly word choice can turn an uglier (and now ubiquitous) version of a word (that I heard a nun use the other day) into something funny. It's not you, it's me, I'm old. However, all gentlepersons should always be aware that often, funny may be a better option than crude.

{But not always?}

No, not always. It's a judgment call, context-dependent. 

There are radically different kinds of old people. You must be aware of this early on so as to strive to avoid becoming one of the less-than-optimal versions. 

You undoubtedly already know many people who began aging early on and have been calcifying ever since. Never particularly self-aware, they've embraced stereotypes all their lives. There will come a point where they have been at it so long they may be damaged, even shatter, when confronted with unwelcome changes. 

They're so numerous that many young/youngers, due to unpleasant personal interactions magnified by the tendency of all sorts of media to lump all sorts of people into overly broad categories, may not realize that it's truly possible to age more or less gracefully, and keep a more or less open mind. 

But watch out for obsessives and would-be immortals. 

There are fine lines to be drawn between people attempting to maintain a reasonable standard of physical and mental health, people who are obsessed with maintaining high levels of health so as to have the energy levels needed to work all the damn time because they _______, and people who want to live forever because they _______. 

{What's with all the blanks?}

Reasons/motivations/rationalizations vary widely. Oh, and I'm not talking about people who have to work all the damn time because life peed on them. And I think that many obsessives can't help it. And I think that the would-be immortals (unfortunately? fortunately?) haven't learned there's no shortage of things worse than death. 

But I hope, that like Forrest Gump, at some point they decide that enough is enough and stop to smell the _______.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, April 4, 2020

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old

With apologies to Pete Townshend

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                               -Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay-



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." -George Burns

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I'm going to turn 39 for the 28th time this summer and I do hope I die before I get old. Of course, getting old means quite different things to different people.

For reasons having nothing to do with logic, I've long felt that once I turned 67 it would be time to have a belated midlife crisis, not having had one, and it would also be time to get serious about my bucket list (I don't have one of those either).

When I turned 65, a birthday that many H. sapiens regard as the first year of geezerhood, it didn't have much of an effect on my psyche.

Neither did 66. Why 67?

To me at least, 67 means I'm officially pushing 70, and I've long thought of 70 as officially being old. However, the rapid approach of 67 got me to thinking and I no longer fear 67, or even 70 for that matter.

See, I've realized...

[Let me guess, it's some pathetic variation of, "After all, age is just a number, you're only as young as you feel. Yadda-yadda-yadda."]

No, Dana, that's not it. I don't feel young and I don't want to. I just don't want to get old.

Note to those of you that, for all intents and purposes, are still young enough to think you're going to live forever: me, and many of my fellow sexy seasoned citizens often refer to ourselves as old, usually while trying to be charmingly self-deprecating. 

Sometimes it's because some health problem is irritating us. Mostly, it's because we're subtly manipulating you in some way. Even knowing this, you may not be able to resist the efforts of those of us who have mastered this particular gambit.

Shhh... Don't tell anyone. 

My body's getting old but I'm not complaining; I'm grateful to still be among the vertical and relatively mobile. My dad didn't quite make it to 60 and my mum didn't quite make it to 65.

But considering they both had decades-long intense, extramarital relationships — he smoked unfiltered Camels, she unfiltered Kools — that's not exactly shocking.

I have a vivid, early childhood memory of being tucked in, my bedside lamp being turned off, and then watching a tiny, bright red ball floating across the room that disappeared when my bedroom door was closed.

Also, he believed that a shot of whiskey and a nap would cure most things, she thought that aspirin and a nap was the way to go.

"Walk it off, son, you'll be fine."

[Whatever. Pray tell your garrulousness, when do you think you'll be old and why do you wish to be deleted before that happens?]

It's very complicated.

There's no way to predict when it will happen and lots of H. sapiens live on for decades after they get old without even noticing that it happened. I don't want to die, but as far as I'm concerned — that's the same thing.

It's getting old and not realizing that I got old, becoming in effect, a zombie, that I would avoid, that scares the hell out of me. Particularly since, unless one falls prey to some sort of dementia or some other equally awful physical malady, it's easily avoidable.

[I'm completely confused. I don't...]

Perhaps you're getting old. Sorry, couldn't resist, my bad. Clearly, I need to define my terms.

With the possible, but I suspect unlikely exception of those H. sapiens that hope to upload/download/whateverload themselves to a computer/robot/brain floating in a modified water cooler jug — Kurzweil's singularity — we're all going to die.

-Wikipedia-public domain-

At some point, before being deleted, you're going to look in the mirror and have to concede that your body has crossed a certain line and that the oft-mentioned "lines and wrinkles" are winning, that a holding action is the best you can hope for.

This is mere biology, inevitable, and all that you can do is all that you can do. In fact, this can be a liberating experience. One less thing to obsess about. Invoke an appropriate cliche, I like it is what it is and then make a decision. Now what?

May I suggest, assuming you haven't already become a zombie, that you take this opportunity to remember to not get old.

That ultimately undefinable spark of transcendence that is you — which includes your body, a body that should still be taken care of, appreciated, and enjoyed (if still possible) — does not have to get old.

It's really just that simple.

[Simple huh? And just how does one go about...]

As I've written previously but don't feel like looking up exactly where and when...

"Someone to love that loves you back (a dog will do) and interesting work is the secret of (occasional) happiness." -me

To which I would add, "And not getting old." 

To which I would also add that your work is probably not what you do for a living unless you're unbelievably blessed. 

Your work is that thing that keeps you getting you out of bed in the morning in spite of _______. And don't even get me started about _______. 

Collecting football cards, amateur brain surgery, or something in between   whatever works. For me, it's primarily my family and writing this column (believe it or not) and a few other things of lesser importance.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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