Recently I discovered that I am no longer a geezer-in-training, but now I am classified as a full-fledged geezer. This designation became official when I received the “senior discount” at Dunkin Donuts without asking for it — for the tenth time in a row.
However, I’m not a big fan of some of the terms used for people like me, such as elderly, mature, or senior. I prefer a different term: “chronologically gifted.” Those of us who are chronologically gifted have an abundance of years; we have an abundance of experiences and memories. I actually feel sorry for people who are “chronologically impaired.” These folks don’t have many years to their credit, nor much experience. The only things these people have are strength, stamina, and good looks. Bah! Who wants that stuff?
Now that many years have been credited to my account, I realize a lot of what occurred during the aging process took me by complete surprise. No one warned me about these things. I made a list, and since I like alliteration, each item begins with the letter “F”.
When I was a young, I could run around the yard barefoot all day long, and play basketball at the schoolyard while wearing only flip flops. My feet never bothered me.
Now, I’ve learned that chronologically gifted feet are fragile. Arches fall, heels hurt, bunions bloom, fungus flourishes, and toenails in-grow. I used to wonder why older guys went to the beach wearing socks and sneakers. Now I know: anything less is just too painful.
When I hit my 50s, half my hair turned gray, and the other half turned loose. I wasn’t surprised by that, but no one warned me that when people reach a certain age, a whole new crop of hair sprouts from the ears, nostrils, and the sides of the neck. And this goes for the men, too.
There’s a little gizmo you can buy in drug stores called the “electric nose and ear hair trimmer.” When I was young I thought it was a gag gift, something you might buy for someone just to goof around. Well, now I realize without that little device, I would look like a cactus.
Chronologically gifted people know that if the clothes we own today are out of style, all we have to do is wait a little while and they’ll be back in style in no time.
The perfect example is the “hipster hat,” a hat with a short brim, turned down in the front and up in the back. I saw an ad in a magazine with a photo of a typical young hipster. He had the big bushy beard, horned rim glasses, skinny jeans, Starbucks coffee, and he was wearing a hipster hat.
Well, I hate to break it to him, but that cool, modern hipster hat is the exact same hat Frank Sinatra wore during the entire 1950s. So the more things change the more they stay the same.
There’s an amazing part of the brain called the filter. Whenever we have a thought, the filter quickly determines whether we should speak that thought out loud. If it’s inappropriate, the filter stops the thought from reaching the mouth. When people get into their chronologically gifted years, the filter often malfunctions. Thoughts that never should see the light of day come spewing right out.
A few years ago I was in a store, and an old guy in a wheelchair looked over at another shopper and blurted out, “Look at the size of her butt!” (Except he didn’t use the word “butt,” if you get my drift.) My wife is pretty sure my filter is already faltering.
Next week: Geezerhood Part 2.