Thoughts on getting old

by Pat Maurer

A good part of this week has been spent on ideas and interviews for the 50+ section in this week’s review.

50+ doesn’t sound so old to me. Now 60+ or even 65+, well that is another story isn’t it?

Anyway it got me thinking about aging, and how it just seems to creep right up on you.

For instance, it seems just yesterday that this month meant hours of school shopping, and it still does, just not for me anymore, although Lisa does try and get me to come along on those “jaunts” with the girls…

There really are some good things about getting old. Remember our “Outta My Mind” column by Bill Ferrell?

In going through some old clippings I came across a couple of those columns Bill wrote that really say it all – about aging anyway. Here are a few of Bill’s excerpts along with a few of my own thoughts added.

Good things about being old:

  • Finally you can eat dinner at 4 p.m.
  • Kidnappers are just not very interested in you.
  • People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
  • Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
  • Your eyes won’t get much worse – actually with cataract surgery they might even get better!
  • Adult diapers are actually kind of convenient.
  • Things you buy now won’t wear out.
  • No one expects you to run into a burning building.
  • There’s nothing left to learn the hard way.
  • Your joints are more accurate than the National Weather Service.
  • In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

If you are already there, you know what I mean. If not, look at what you have to look forward to.

How to tell if you are old? See if you can remember…

  • Being sent to the drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the TV.
  • Hop-Along Cassidy and the Lone Ranger shows. How about “Have Gun, Will Travel?”
  • Soap Operas – on the radio.
  • Kool-Ade popsicles made in the freezer with little wooden ice cream spoons.
  • Two kinds of tennis shoes: Keds and PF Flyers, made of canvas and worn mostly in gym class.
  • Poodle skirts.
  • When it took at least five minutes for the TV to warm up.
  • Starting a stalled car by pushing it ‘til it started rolling downhill, jumping in and “popping the clutch.”
  • Single speed bicycles with “ooga” horns and baskets on the front.
  • When a great date was going to the drag races.
  • Loading up the trunk with people on a trip to the drive-in movies.
  • Soda fountains, jukeboxes and saddle shoes.
  • When the first computers took up a whole warehouse.
  • Pen pals.

Now, if you remember all that you can proudly tell everyone your age. Of course there are rules for that too.

You realize of course that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids. If you are less than ten years old, you are so excited about it that you think in fractions. “How old are you?” to a youngster brings this kind of answer, “I’m four and a half!” Nobody is ever 36 and a half…

When you are a teenager you begin jumping to the next number. “How old are you?” prompts an answer like, “I’m almost 16!” You could really be 12, but you are going to be 16 – eventually.

Then the great day of your life finally comes and you become 21 – all grown up! Even the words sound like a ceremony – you BECOME 21.

The next thing you know you are turning 30. What happened? That phrase makes you sound like sour milk that has “turned.”

Now you are “pushing” 40, then you “reach” 50 and now you “make it” to 60. By this time you have built up so much speed that you “hit” 70!

After that you take it from day to day – you “hit” Wednesday.

In your 80s you “hit” lunch, you “hit” 4:30. I even heard about one grandma who doesn’t buy green bananas anymore…after all they are an investment.

It doesn’t end there. When you reach 90, things start going backwards. Ever heard, “I was just 92?”

But make it over 100 and another strange thing happens.

You become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!”