Just Older

Ugh. There’s more evidence – courtesy of the last 48 hours – that there’s a point at which growing older can no longer be graceful. My mother passed this point years ago. Although my father passed this point a couple of years ago, grace exists on a continuum – and it’s always possible to have less. This was on display earlier this week, at two different hospital emergency departments.

There will be no adult beverages for me this evening. I need to be able to drive to a hospital if I get another call.


I wasn’t aware of this until recently, but my children treat me like I’m old and frail – like my bones are made of glass and my internals pop like a soap bubble. I don’t remember doing this with my father, but then this may say more about me than my son. My dad always seemed fairly rugged. Mind you – and I think he’d admit this himself – he’s not what you’d call a physical specimen. Folks don’t walk down the street, look at my dad, and say: “that dude’s more likely to break me than get broken.” But if we were out playing catch and he fell, I wouldn’t rush to his side asking (worriedly), “are you ok?”

Two weeks ago I got out my old Aerobie. I dove for an errant throw, rolled through a fall, and slowly got up. Adam did the worried-rush over I described above. Incensed, I turned to him and said, “Adam, I’m not that fragile.”

Of course, much of this week my back and neck have been killing me, but surely that’s just coincidence.

The case against math

It’s a great day for a blog post! I’m not particularly depressed at the moment and I’m in the mood for a little nonsense – which as we all know are the perfect ingredients for a little writing.

I was looking at someone’s date of birth (something that comes up often in my line of work) and noted the year: 1994. My imagination stepped back in time. I lived in Orlando then, as I do now. It makes a little more sense if you knew I lived somewhere else the twenty or so years in between. It was the year I got married. I’d graduated from UF the year before. I was still using a Mac Plus I bought at UF as my primary computer.

Oh, and this 20 year old “child” was born.

In many ways I should be twenty too (as in “also,” not to be confused with 22), just not in any objective or observable way that follows nature’s laws.

It’s a shame too, because I think I’d make a pretty damn good twenty year old (or 22 year old, for that matter)… not that I don’t cut a fine specimen at forty-something.

High on my recent brush with perspective and simple math, I asked my cube neighbor what she remembered from 1994.

“Nothing,” she replied. “I hadn’t started school yet.”

What? You don’t remember anything before high school?

“No. I hadn’t started grammar school yet.”

Ok, I’m not gonna lie. That hurt a little. I’ll bet you saw that coming from wherever you are though, am I right?

So you’re telling me I was old enough to vote for the first Bush – though I didn’t, for the record – and you don’t remember him?

“Yep. That’s pretty much what I’m telling you.”

Skip back twelve hours or so… to another close encounter with subtraction.

It was evening. Beth was acting like a teenager which as it happens is age appropriate – she’s seventeen. She was complaining about all of the burdens she carries, i.e. the yoke of responsibility placed on a twenty-first century teen. At the time I was not in a good mood, so it was a bad time for her to say something like: “what are you guys going to do when I’m not here anymore?” Good thing for me, I had a rare moment where my brain to mouth filter worked while I was in a bad mood. If it hadn’t, I would have immediately replied, “probably not much different from what I did most of my life, before you were born.”

Good filter! Good! I would have regretted that the moment I said it.

But then I did a little more math. Have I been childless most of my life? I ran the numbers and decided it had been – but not by much. The pre-Beth era of my life is at 60.5% and sinking. There are times in my life when nothing in my body hurts (the last time was last Saturday around 8:32 a.m.) and I still feel like that twenty year old. In my mind, I’m still that college student, who’s idea of dressing up is wearing a pair of black Chuck Taylors with a shirt and tie.

Now here’s the funny thing. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like a few of the things that come with getting older. Granted, I’m not old yet by most folks standards. But without doing a run-down of my medical history, I’ve had my share of “old folks” diseases that occasionally make me feel physically “old.” Mostly, I enjoy telling stories. Life is rich with stories and I feel this accumulation of wealth with every passing year.

No, I haven’t really made a case against math. If you don’t recall – and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t – my post titles are chosen for how they sound in my head, and rarely have much to do with the substance of the post.