Sunday, July 22, 2012

Getting old is for the birds

When I was younger there were certain things that never seemed in short supply. Energy was one.  This must be what bubbles from the fountain of youth if there is such a thing.  I don't really know where it came from but sometimes I'd just run for the hell of it.  No stopwatch, no race, just running.  Once I wore a circular track in the backyard complete with berms in a few corners.

Deference was another.  Maybe it's the way I was brought up but I had respect for my elders.  I waited my turn, I listened when they gave instruction, I tried to live up to their expectations.  Remember those Question Authority bumper stickers?  I never had one. Just didn't have that rebel streak in me.  I did sneak out once, though.  Stayed gone for three days and couldn't believe the commotion it caused.

Apathy, on the other hand, bucked the trend.  It was nowhere to be found.  I cared about everything - big, small, dead, alive, new, old, clean, dirty - it was all interesting in one way or another.

Maybe I've seen all the world has to offer but now the give a shit factor barely budges the needle most of the time. Apathy and I have coffee daily. I don't know when, exactly, it all started to change.  If I had to guess I'd say it was a very gradual process, imperceptible on a weekly basis but at work nonetheless.  Slower than snowmelt but faster than water carving rock.

My joints never accept the notions I have for them, stiff, aching liabilities that they are. The stairs to the second floor might as well be Camp 4 at Everest by the end of the day. I used to see these old men walking around, shuffling actually, with their heads down and their shoulders rolled forward.  There's a preponderance of the day that I don't feel like holding my head up.

The doctor says my eyes are getting "cloudy", whatever that means.  I hope they don't fail or all these people who communicate with me through overzealous hand signals are going to be out of luck.  I know my hearing is slipping away but honestly, with these kids around the house it doesn't bother me much.  It comes in handy.

I got these round, fatty things all over me.  They feel like jello under my skin.  Doctor says they're nothing to worry about since they aren't attached to the bone or something but can this kind of thing really be good? Old age is undeniable, I don't care who you are.

I've narrowed the list of things I do care about down to two: food and a place to lie down, that's about it. I'll snitch food off of the table with everyone in the room. I'll knock over the kitchen trash can and have at it. Can't get enough of it.

And give me a place to lie down, any place really, and I'm happy.  A soft place is better what with my bones aching like they do, did I mention that already?  But this time of year a place in the shade or near a fan or next to an air conditioning vent is just fine.

This is the stuff I think about now that I'm old.  There are also things I prefer not to think about.

old bird dog


  1. Mark, take heart, Fall is coming. Any day above ground is a good day...

    1. I celebrate every birthday for just that reason.

  2. Terrific! I am your dog except for rooting in the garbage can.

    1. He's so persistent about it I'm wondering if there's something to it.

  3. We must be on the same depreciation schedule...

  4. Getting old may be for the birds, but not getting old is for the worms.