You know, I mostly don’t mind getting older.
I was a dorky kid, an awkward teenager, and probably worse as a young adult. Somehow I’ve managed to outgrow most of that and frankly I like getting older, I’m enjoying it.
I mean, the grey hair makes me look distinguished (not that you can see it, since I keep my hair cut high and tight because, see, chicks dig the military look. And by chicks I mean my wife) and the closer to 50 I get, the better looking I seem to be, so you know, I’ve got that going for me. Also, I’m fairly sure that I’m getting smarter, or that other people are getting dumber – either way, I’m OK with it. Kids think I’m wise (kids are easy to fool). We don’t have personal jet packs and flying cars here in the shiny 21st Century, but we do have enormous plasma TVs and beer, and frankly I’ve got to tell you that given a choice between picking bugs out of my teeth at 20,000 feet or watching Cancun Hooters Bikini Beach Adventures in 76 inch HD I’m pretty sure I’d choose the latter anyway, so again, I’m good. I’ve lived long enough to hear my mother use the word “blowjob” out loud in a sentence (during the Clinton Administration) and frankly I’m hoping to die before that happens again. I’m retired at an age far younger than most people, and I’ve got the time and the means to do pretty much whatever I want. So, you know, it ain’t bad at all.
But as good as getting older is, there are a number of things that just chap my ass about the middle part of middle age:
- I sneeze, and my back goes out for a week. What the hell? Considering the amount of damage two decades of military life did to me, I’m in pretty damned good shape. Better than most men my age anyway. I’ve got some disability, sure, but I’ve never had back problems. I’ve got some serious issues with my neck, and my shoulder is mangled, and there’s the hip, leg, and foot. And my hands are pretty messed up, especially the left one. Sure there’s that. But I’ve never had back problems. Now, It’s Breakup here in Alaska, what you people would call spring – and the spruce trees are just yellow with pollen, so, as I mentioned, I sneezed – and something right in the middle of my back snapped. Christ, it’s like being jabbed with an ice-pick. And I keep sneezing and it keeps getting worse. Good God, another ten years I’ll cough and break a friggin’ hip.
- My arms aren’t long enough. I’ve always had 20/17 vision. Always. But in the last couple of years I’ve learned a new word, presbyopia. I don’t like this word.
- Everything gives me heartburn. Mashed potatoes give me heartburn. Chocolate gives me heartburn. Wine gives me heartburn. Republicans give me heartburn. Air gives me heartburn. Heartburn medication gives me heartburn.
- I have absolutely no idea who Coldplay is.
- Altitude has a direct effect on my memory, I can’t remember anything above the first floor. I go upstairs to get something and I can’t remember what it was. I go back downstairs, I remember. I go back upstairs to get it and I can’t remember what it was, so I go back downstairs… I could do this all day. At least I’m getting exercise.
- I don’t recognize half the actors on TV, half the time I’m not even sure what I’m watching – unless it’s Cancun Hooters Bikini Beach Adventures in HD. Just sayin.
- I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in years. Oh, I have absolutely no trouble falling asleep. I’m out like a light. Trust me here, live on a warship for a while, you’ll learn how to sleep even if you’re being thrown about like a midget at a drunken biker convention and the flight deck four feet above your head sounds like fifty crazed baboons beating on metal garbage cans with steel mallets. Sometimes I fall asleep while I’m brushing my teeth. But see, then I’ve got to get up two, sometimes three, times a night to take a piss. What the hell is this all about? Does your bladder shrink as you get older? Do I absorb extra moisture from the air like some kind of amphibian (actually, that would be kind of cool). I don’t have any of the symptoms they advertise on those prostate medicine commercials. I don’t drink any more than I used to. I sure as hell don’t have any trouble going. Hell, I can go and go and go. I’ve got great control, I can start and stop mid-flow. I’ve got an uber-powerful stream, the fire department would be jealous. I can do tricks. I can write my name in the snow and dot the “i.” Hell, I’m like Superman when it comes to pissing. But I’ve got to get up twice a night to take a leak. Seriously, it’s bizarre, especially considering that my waist is expanding – seems like there ought to be more room in there, not less.
So far I haven’t driven into town with my seatbelt hanging out the door making sparks or my turn signal on for the whole way, but it’s probably only a matter of time.
What chaps your ass about getting older?