Friday, April 17, 2009

Things That Chap My Ass About Getting Old(er)

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?


  1. Attention, Stonekettle Station proprieter:

    Stories about your urination proficiency generally fall under the category of "Too Much Information," especially if you compare your urination technique and skills to that of Superman. I also don't need to know the details and symptoms of your prostate health. Unless you want the gory, gory details of my next pelvic exam, that is.

    Thank you for your attention in this matter.

    Speaking of that, my OB/GYN says I have to continue to have pelvic exams until I'm like, 70.

    How fucked up is that?

  2. One of the advantages of getting older is that you can talk about prostate health without embarrassment.

    And I've met a few navy girls who could write their names in the snow and dot the "i" too. They were very popular. Just sayin'

  3. Forgetting things...

    Not having the energy for projects that I had when I was younger but lazier.

    Forgetting things...

    The snoring. (So I'm told.)

    Um. Other stuff, which I've forgotten now.

  4. Two words:

    prostate exams.Never had to worry about that in my twenties...

  5. I get hangovers now just drinking a couple beers. Never did that in my twenties. Feel like complete shit now the day after a party. When exactly did that happen?

    Oh, and all the noise my joints make when I get out of bed in the morning, I used to be sneaky, now it sounds like a kid with a set of drumsticks beating on things.

  6. There's hair growing out of my fucking ears. And I just spent time debating whether the 'fucking' belonged before 'hair' or 'ears'.

    That sort of thing would have been a no-brainer before I had fucking hair growing out of my ears.

  7. When in doubt, Nathan, go for broke:

    There's fucking hair fucking growing out of your fucking ears. What the fuck is up with that, motherfucker?


  8. I'll let you know how I feel about it when I actually feel older.

    As it was only in the past couple years (say when she hit 89) did my grandmother start to say she felt old.

    I figure I've got several more decades of being both young and immature.

    As opposed to just immature.

  9. Not to be a party pooper - but at this point in my life I'd say you should be damn grateful for the opportunity to grow older. Just saying. ;)

    Resume normal snarkiness now.

  10. Well, I am grateful, Jeri. But I understand what you mean and think it's damned good advice.

    Also, I'm going to send you some pictures tomorrow. Your project is nearly finished.

  11. Jeri, that was normal snarkiness.

  12. I know something chaps my ass about getting old, but I can't remember what the hell it is

  13. I just don't want to have to wear chaps 'round my ass when I'm old. I'm really not cut out for the part of "gay cowboy from the Village People."


  14. Eric, before I can accept that I think I'm going to have to see pictures.

    Please arrange this ASAP.

  15. Yes, those pictures would be worth seeing, I suspect. :-D

  16. Whoa, now, this isn't that kind of blog.

    You girls want to solicit lawyers in assless chaps, you need to be doing that shit on your own time. Elsewhere. With Tequila shooters...

  17. What chaps my ass about getting older? Well, it's the kids I work with. I'll be 50 this year, and just about every day I think to myself, what the fuck is wrong with these kids, am I really in that much better shape than them? No, I can't be, they're just lazy and don't want to work. I bust my ass while they chit chat. You can say something to them, and it's as if it goes in one ear and out the other. Maybe it does.

    Really, all-in-all, I'm happy with my age, and I feel damn good and much younger then I am.


  18. Just one time I'd like to remember to go pee BEFORE I start reading your posts, not when I'm laughing so hard I can't move. Hooo. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm dying up here, but they're too polite to investigate, which is ok because if they did, then I'd have to explain.

    OK, covered memory and nearly pissing myself when I laugh too hard.

    So I'll see your heartburn (that started with me a couple of months ago) and raise you, wait for it, HOT FLASHES. Oh, the joy. Sometimes they wake me 2 or 3 times a night. Now a few years ago when I was really broke and trying to save money in the dead of winter, they came in real handy. Matter of fact, more than once I had to go stand outside in 20F weather to cool off. Non-existant heating bill for at least 2 winters. Then they sorta went away. Now they're back, with a vengence.

    But no matter how hot the hot flashes are, my feet stay cold, and I can't stand it because that makes my ankle and foot arthritis scream. So I wear socks to bed even in the middle of summer.

    I'd go on, but I'm finally getting a little sleepy-insomnia issues seem to be getting worse now that I'm past 50-and need to go to bed before the brain realizes the body is still up.

    After I find the heartburn stuff I bought earlier.

    April 17, 2009 9:31 PM

  19. Though the body is creaky from time to time and if I ever find out who invented sinuses, they are going to get a serious large caliber talking to, but I don't think of myself of old. However, having reach fifty, I keep discovering that people I know from TV, etc., who I consider to be adults are increasingly younger than I am.

    What's up with that?

    Dr. Phil

  20. Temporal time displacement.

    I don't consider myself old either, and as our parental units are 85 & 90, I figure we've got a ways to go.

    And Jim, your blog is doing something weird. Whe I click to comment I didn't go to the Blogger window I normally get. It wanted me to select a "profile" and I had to re-log into google to get it to recognize me and allow me to post.


  21. Wendy,

    Everything is perfectly normal here at Stonekettle Station. I don't know what you're talking about.

    Don't feel bad, sometimes this sort of thing happens as we get older... :)


    I've be making some changes to my blogger template and enabling some Blogger upgrade features, the change in comment format is one of them.

  22. That stabbed in the spine with an icepick thing happens to me all the time. It's especially fun when there's two of them doing it at the same time, one on each side. My chiropractor calls it "fixated rib" (just before he contorts me and crushes me like a clamshell). Yoga seems to help them unfixate on their own.

    I have what I call the Distraction Method of Housekeeping. It's like your altitude problem, except that when I get to the second room, I notice something that needs doing in it - and instead of going back to the first room I'll start doing that. Until I need something from a third room... Eventually I make it back to the first room, see where I left off with the original task, and remember. ;)

  23. "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."

    You know, people who do this also don't realize they're doing it. Just saying.

    For me it's the doing lots of work in the yard, coming in for dinner, and afterward trying to stand up again. OMG. When did someone pour cement into my joints?

  24. Of course, I'm listening to A Prairie Home Companion and Elvis Costello is the guest. And I'm thinking, you know, his voice hasn't changed all that much, although his music is richer and deeper. Yeah. Getting old just gives you more context. That's why us old farts seem to be absent minded, we're just trying to pick the most apropos previous context and there's so friggin' much to choose from.

  25. Don't worry, youngster. The only way it gets better from now is if you get Alzheimer's and can't remember how bad things really are!

    I got worried when I found out that prostate exams didn't hurt as much as they used to. People don't need to tell me I'm a bigger asshole than I used to be, cause I've got medical proof!

  26. My waist has completely disappeared. Swear to God, I woke up one morning to find that men's jeans now fit me a hell of a lot better than women's jeans.

    Also,I can't see shit and my knees hurt.

    And don't even get me started on the insomnia thing.

    However, I guess it's all better than the alternative.

  27. I guess it's all better than the alternative.Oh sure, Cindi, be optimistic. ;)


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