A short dissertation on aging and how it sneaks up on you!
|I am getting older. Inevitable, you say. I suppose. But for the first 30 years of my life, I considered myself a kid, or at least a young adult, amidst a sea of old people. I found it much easier to relinquish responsibilities to other people when I was a young adult. I was having too much fun to be worrying about a family, a job, a mortgage, etc….
Then, when I wasn’t looking, I turned 40 and all of the above described responsibilities were a part of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected to get old, to marry, and to reproduce, but on my terms. Before I knew it, I was happily married and the father of two beautiful daughters. Not bad for an irresponsible kid unwilling to grow up.
Deep down I knew I would have all of these things and be all of these things, eventually. But it happened so fast.
One moment I’m riding my motorcycle through the Black Hills of South Dakota, camping under the stars, and not a worry in the world. And before I can get my bike out of second gear, I’m stopping on the way home from work in my mini-van to buy diapers and formula, and feminine hygiene products.
I don’t resent getting older, I resent the way age sneaks up and backhands you when you’re not looking.
I first noticed I was aging while bowling. A few weeks ago a smattering of couples went to the local bowling alley to enjoy a night without kids. Innocent enough you say, but wait. Here comes the backhand. It smacked me right in the behind. I began to feel some discomfort early on in the second game. My right rear was sore, especially when doing the “Bowling Shoe Slide”.
I had heard old people talk about the aches and pains of aging, “ I broke my hip the other day while trying to get out of my recliner”, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up”, “ has anybun seen by ubber blate?” etc. The next day I discovered that I too, had become a victim of age.
It turns out that I pulled my gluteous-maximus during our bowling outing. A butt muscle. It hurt to walk, sit and stand. Not debilitating by any means, but terribly sad. I was a 40 year-old man with a pulled muscle in my derriere. When my co-workers asked me the following day about the nature of my limp, I of course told them the truth. I had pulled a hamstring while playing a pick-up game of tackle football with the Minnesota Vikings traveling squad. Could happen, tscha.
Up until this point in my life, I had considered myself in relatively good shape. Relative, that is, to other 40 year-olds who are my size. I had a very physical job which required copious amounts of walking each day as well as heavy lifting on a regular basis. I used most of the muscles in my body, but not all.
One obvious exception was my butt muscle. It would appear that this particular muscle was used only in the “Bowling Shoe Slide”. Lesson learned. I must stretch before every activity imaginable, including bowling.
Not long after, I again was reminded of the limitations of my forty year-old body.
I am not one to shy away from public restrooms. In fact, why put the people I love through the potentially devastating effects I am capable of "producing"?
I'm inclined instead to utilize facilities graciously afforded to the general public by nearly every retailer imaginable.
However, few of these facilities are built for a person of my size. I'm 6'1 and 250 pounds.I'm fairly broad, and there-in lies the problem. Narrow stalls.
While engaged in certain activities, it is not uncommon for me to need to sit askew, almost side-saddle, to avoid bashing my knee on the dispenser on the stall wall. These stalls are also quite often to short, which inevitably leads to me hitting my head on the door when I lean forward to....finish the ...paperwork.
It is in this fashion that I suffered yet another "sports" injury. During the final moments of my ....game, I sustained a severe charlie horse in my ...pitching shoulder, directly attributed to the cramped quarters. The succesive flailing about and string of curse words caused quite a commotion as I tried to get the cramp to loosen up. I think the other occupants of this facility were surprised to see me emerge alone. Three days of Ibuprofen and I was as good as new. No worse for wear and determined to search out the larger stalls whenever possible.
These incidents, however, was not as much a gut-wrenching head slap as was the first time I told my 13-year old daughter to turn down that awful music. Aaaahhhhhhhh!!
I had promised myself that as an adult and especially a parent, I would be cool, baby, with any and all music my kids wanted to listen to.
But music has changed!! Have you heard some of the putrid vile played on the airwaves nowadays? It makes “KISS” and “Black Sabbath” seem like “The New Christy Minstrels!”
Insane Clown Posse, Slipknot, Mudvane. Who comes up with these names? What ever happened to band names like, Styx, Kansas, Santana and Boston? And since when did a chainsaw become a musical instrument?
See what I’m saying? I sound just like my dad. I remember having to explain The Doobie Brothers song, “Jesus is just alright” to him. I said “dad, it’s ok. The title pretty much says it all.” His reply was something to the effect that He’s better than just alright. He is the Son of God, you know! I know dad, I know, it’s just a song. Jeez!!
So, my daughters are listening to “music” I wouldn’t listen to on a dare. Not hardcore angst anthems that talk of teen suicide and hating their parents or killing cops, but bubble-gum pop crap that is produced for major markets including Disney and Nickelodeon. Could be worse, I know.
My wife and I have spent hours in the car with the girls trying to enlighten them. Whenever we take a car trip of more than an hour, we load up on what we consider the classic literature of music. “CSNY“, “Stevie Ray Vaughn” , “Rush” , “Lynard Skynard” and even some “Queen” .
We will occasionally throw in some classical stuff like Mozart or Vivaldi.
While they were initially receptive to our pleas of “Listen to this guitar riff” , or, “Aren’t those harmonies amazing?”, any mention now of “Rush” or God forbid, “Styx” and let the whining begin!
When did all this happen? When did I turn into a younger version of my dad? When will I have to start wearing the hat? It must be mandatory because all men past fifty own one and wear it nearly all the time. You know the one. It looks like a French beret, only for a man.
I am not ready to drive in the right lane, drive with that hat on, or put my wallet in my front pocket. And I will NEVER take the last remaining hair on one side of my head and flip it over the top in a vain attempt to cover the barren landscape.
I wonder if my dad said the same thing?