J. T. (Over The) Hilltop
After a certain age one of the most awkward questions to ask is how old they are. Especially if the question is asked of a woman and answered with the equally awkward question, how old do you think I am? A very quick processing takes place, I look at the woman who asked me, guess at what age I really believe she is, and then subtract ten years. It’s a tried and true algebraic equation which often brings a smile while proving that those algebra classes did in fact come in handy. But first the tough part. Do I answer? Use the algebra and hope she looks at least close to the age I originally guessed so she feels good and I escape my awkward situation? What if my guess is way off and I offend her? That’s almost as bad as asking a woman when the baby is due only to yourself being sliced up and set on fire from her eyes, letting you know in no uncertain terms she is not pregnant. Maybe I’ll use the trusty old stand-by, distract and move on? Maybe I could just lie and say “Age is just a number” then change the subject. Age is just a number. That’s the first lie I tell myself about getting old.
It’s not “just” a number, its an ever escalating number that grows exponentially. It’s a number that goes up but never down no matter how hard we try to look younger. A toupee? They look live divots you replaced in your scalp. Dressing in younger style, dieting, crèmes, oils, aromatherapy, we have an abundance of reverse the aging process products on the market. I get emails telling me I can increase my virility by washing with bull semen. They just happen to have a deal on it this week too. Who collects that semen anyway? Some brave young stud I guess because I can barely outrun a snail. And of course the hard sell, little pills of instant sex machine. Viagra. How did my Dad survive without it? Age is a number all right and I’m getting tired of having to add to it all the time.
The second lie I tell myself is that I’m getting old. I’m passed the getting point and at the being point. I am old! I’m at the dinosaur stage. The days of my roaming the earth in search of food or other dinosuars is ancient history now. I have moved on to a new epoch. A friggen senior. But not to worry, with age comes wisdom. Yea, that’s the next lie. They say intelligence is knowing that tomatoes are fruits and wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. I know there are tons of stupid people out there but I have never seen anyone put tomatoes in fruit salad so the wisdom they speak of is actually very common. Besides, with all this reported wisdom how come I still don’t even know who “they” are? Oh I’m much wiser now, I realize drinking has a limit and I know it real well at this point but do I actually have wisdom? Not really, it took me a very long time to learn things I should have known years ago.
Next lie. You’re not getting older you’re getting better. Getting better at what? Just when I think I have a handle on new technology it springs another light year ahead. It took me four years and numerous lessons from my kids to learn how to schedule the VCR and one month later everyone switched to cable DVR’s and some Blur ray crap. It’s like the eight track fiasco all over again. I go to the doctor he doesn’t say “Hey good news, your getting better”, he says, “You’ve gotta exercise, lose weight, and slow down” That’s an oxymoron. If I slow down how can I exercise? Things I used to do all night take me all night to do once.
Next lie. I’m aging like a fine wine. Hahahahaha… Nice try but no. If you age a wine too long or too wrong it becomes vinegar. In human terms vinegar is known as the grumpy old man stage. Admittedly the older I got the more complicated life got and with wine complications are a virtue. I have so much extra skin that no longer fits I could hide a bottle of wine in the flaps. The older I get the more like box wine I become. There’s plenty of me and I’m cheap. If you drink a lot of wine you will develop a common trait of us seniors, you’ll be heading to the bathroom to empty your bladder a lot. Only difference is mine isn’t full, it just likes the comfort of relaxing by the toilet.
Next lie. You’re as young as you feel. Really?? Than I must be a hundred and twenty years because that’s how old I feel in the morning. It takes a lot of coaxing from my brain to get my extremities on board with getting out of bed. This young as it feels body feels like its been running on fumes for so long it gives out contact highs. I need a check liver light with all the alcohol I’ve consumed and a lung scraping for years of smoke abuse. Bones are crisp, like peanut brittle crisp and the noises they make scare the cat. When I was young I felt like partying all night and now I look forward to bedtime.
Next lie. You’re aging gracefully. That’s total bullshit, I may pretend like I’m being graceful but grace walked out for a pack of cigarettes years ago and I haven’t heard from it since. I’m fighting it constantly but I’m losing every battle. I use plenty of preservatives or as I like to call it Vodka, but after a few of them it’s almost impossible to be graceful. Age is kicking my ass and making me look like a lame bum boxer from Palooka-Ville that functions best when it takes a dive. In the first round.
Next lie. 60 is the new 40. What?? Are you kidding me? There is absolutely nothing about being 60 that’s new except maybe the effects of senility and the loss of bone matter. Someone tried to explain baldness to me as my brain pushing the hairs out to make room for the overload of intelligence we have. I believe it’s actually the brain cells become too weak to function and hold down the roots at the same time so they just let go. In a desperate search for belonging the follicles colonize in the ears and nose where they set up tight knit communities that are unruly to say the least.
Last lie. It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years. Okay, I have to admit that ones true. Despite the fact that I have to convince myself to get up each morning, despite the fact that the image in the mirror is way fatter and has much less hair than the real me, despite the fact I am not much wiser, despite the fact that young people laugh when I try to use the newest technology, and despite the fact I constantly need to remind myself not to let the small shit turn me into a grumpy old man, it’s still me who is in control of how I live out the rest of my life. Is it asking too much to live it out with a little of that reckless abandon that I enjoyed so much before responsibilities became my reality? I hope not……PEACE