Sunday, August 2, 2015

Getting Older

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Every Silver Lining
Touch Of Gray

Okay, here’s your life story: From birth to the ‘age of reason’ you’re pushed around and told what to do and when to do it, if you have any gumption, you push back and are called a spoiled, willful, spiteful brat. At seven or eight you’ve entered the world of other people, you become aware of peer pressure, fashion statements and kids that are better looking, better liked and better armed (to take on the world) than you. At twelve you feel the rumblings of your hormones, at sixteen you become a sex and acceptance addict. By twenty five you’re golden and three years later your spirit has tire tracks from being thrown under the bus. At thirty you’ve immersed yourself into a career (because you don’t really know who you are), by forty-two you’re in a mid-life crisis and it’s downhill from there.
In between those years you’ll experience growth spurts, pimples, cramps, confusion, children and a bucket of responsibilities and expectations to live up to. Scraps and scrapes and scars to prove it. You’ll have hated your parents, smoked things, made a fool of yourself, imbibed strong spirits and lost your self confidence and virginity on several occasions. You’ll be told what it is to be mature by a good number of (well intentioned) friends/lovers/kinfolk/others and just how unaware you are of the poor job you’re making of it
Awareness: knowing what’s going on while it’s going on; you’ll experience little of that and sometimes it is a case of “wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” And of course, if you live long enough, you’ll look in the mirror and wonder who that old person is.
 We’re told from an early age that if we live long enough… we’ll get old. What we’re not told is that it’s gonna hurt. Knees, back, neck, shoulders, feet; they’ll hurt one time or another during each and every day. They didn’t tell me that; in fact, there’re lots of things they didn’t tell me. I’m not sure how the rumor got started that getting and staying older was such a great thing. It’s not. Let me tell you how I know: I am older –and, if you can’t tell-- I’m not liking it very much, if at all, and I don’t think that you’re gonna like it either.
Tee shirt: Mill Valley, California. 1989.  “Eat Right, Exercise, Die Anyway.”
            “Flab. They didn’t tell me that my fine, tight gluteus maximus fabuloso was gonna become my gluteus maximus flabuloso; think that’s funny? Ask anyone my age what they think of their bottoms falling out and ten to one they’ll want to take a swing at you. Smart ass kid.
            Your hair will become as thin as your patience, your teeth will require regular checkups to no avail, your eyesight gets far and near and then hardly at all, your (“What’s that you say?”) hearing(?)…well.  The way you don’t bounce back from a night on the town (if you can stay awake that long) is telling. That fine firm flesh? You can kiss that six-pack goodbye; everything you eat is going right to your waistline and your hips. And that’s the good news.
            You’ll have insurance: health, home, vehicle, life and burial. You’ll have cards for Costco, Blue Cross, AAA, the library, CVS, RTA, AARP and Walgreens. You’ll be cautious about driving, walking, drinking, the safety of your pets and loved ones; by now you know that there are boogie men out there with names like COPD, Dementia, IBS, incontinence, UTI, menopause, Fibromyalgia, ED, arthritis, and cancer. Stick around, Kid, see what it’s like.
You won’t know any of the new technology, popular culture or music and you’ll reflect that the last dance steps you learned was to the Electric Slide. Sex will still be always on your mind but you’ll do less and less about it. You’ll take supplements (and not be any more supple), vitamins, calcium and floss your teeth. You’ll watch your icons, critters, friends and loved ones die... some prematurely.
Aging is a real pain in my butt—and adding insult to injury-- sometimes I’ll see myself through another person’s eyes, the myopic ignorance of youth perhaps, that, like in the Bradbury story, regard me as a being that has been created fully blown ancient. Bitter and pessimistic? It’s hard not to be; but, what’s the alternative? Looking into retirement homes and making out a will? Dying? That’s all I got? Are you friggin’ kidding me?
             Time. Time is something that I have now, it comes too slowly and it goes too fast.  Time is not money or security or something you bottle up and store under the sink for later. Time is ice cream, fried chicken, fresh peaches…bacon. Time is exactly the right temperature, uncomplaining and unconditionally. Time lets you know when to stand up for yourself, when to quietly sit down and how high your bulls**t meter will go before you tell somebody to take a hike. Time is shared like chocolate and fine wine.
            Time is not to be wasted or anesthetized, neither is love or youth; and I’ll venture that you’ve spent enough of it reading this. So, back away from my views, get that picnic, Frisbee, cinema ticket, fishing pole, wine glass and/or bicycle and with a special person (or not), take a deep breath and repeat after me: “evil spirit….depart!

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