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Posts Tagged ‘aging humor’

Things I Never Thought I’d Do

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Been reflecting on aging recently, looking at my adult life through the eyes of my younger self. I remember studying my parents and thinking, “I’ll never do that.” Or “Are they CRAZY?” Seems as if I’ve turned out just as crazy as my parents. Here’s a list of things I never thought I’d do when I grew up.

Number One: Say things like “I don’t understand these kids today.” In my defense, what the eff is up with young dudes showing their underwear? The cool kids shuffle along with almost the entire length of their boxers hanging out with their belt around mid-thigh and the crotch of their pants at their calves. I saw a teenager the other day with the outline of his junk clearly visible through his underwear. Vile. When I was a kid, if you dared to show even a micro-inch of underwear, someone would grab it and pull it up to the middle of your back and give you an epic wedgie. I think wedgies ought to make a comeback.

Number Two: Put ludicrous amounts of pepper on my food. This one sticks out in my mind more than any on the list. I used to watch my father in horrified shock as he used the pepper grinder to turn his food black. He didn’t just use a little pepper, he made his food look like volcano eruption fallout. Dad’s forearms were massive from all his pepper grinding. I think it was how he got most of his exercise. I have not yet reached his blackout phase of pepper application, but I’m getting close. I think I blacken my food with pepper because my taste buds are burning out and I can’t taste as much as I did when I was a kid. Either that or my latent pepper deficiency gene got activated.

Number Three: The contents of my bedside drawer would become the same as my father’s. Tums, reading glasses, Kleenex and back scratchers. Horrifying. Dad’s bedside table contents always disgusted me. Why would you need peppermint candy that was chalky and horrible-tasting? How many pairs of glasses does one person need? Adults blow their noses so much, they actually need a whole box of Kleenex by their bedsides? And what’s with all the backscratchers? Are adults really this blind, sneezy and itchy? Do they have no taste? Answers? Yes, yes, yes and yes. I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now or I’m not sure I would have allowed myself to grow up.

Number Four: Refuse to acknowledge the limitations of my eyesight. I am now one of those idiots in denial you see in grocery stores with their arms extended as far as they can, squinting at the fine printing on the soup cans to make sure they don’t contain monosodium glutamate. I’ve been practicing balancing cans on my feet at home so I’ll be better prepared for the inevitable. So. Humiliating. Why can’t I remember to carry glasses with me? Because I think I’m mounting a subconscious aging protest. Like if I don’t carry glasses, it means I can see and am still young. It’s also because I hate carrying crap around with me. I already have to carry Kleenex and Tums and ibuprofen with me everywhere. Pretty soon, I’ll have to drag around freakin’ carry-on luggage just to hold my Old Lady emergency supplies. Ugh!

Number Five: Talk about getting older. There is nothing that makes you older than talking about getting older. Which is what all my friends and I seem to talk about these days. Well, that is when we can hear each other. Rock-n-roll was not kind to my generation’s hearing. I’m getting good at smiling and nodding.

Number Six: Be convinced by current events that the world is coming to an end. My grandmother was convinced that the fabric of society was disintegrating. I thought she was insane. But with global warming and the global warming deniers; our failing healthcare system; our failing safety net; our failing education system—and the news being controlled by the same corporations that are screwing us out of all of our money, polluting the planet and exploiting the workforce—I’m starting to understand my grandmother’s mentality. My bunker should be complete by next year.

Number Seven: Be startled by my reflection. Or recent photos. Who the hell is that old lady? Wow, my face is starting to look like the Death Star, all deep dark channels. And what the HELL is up with the flippin’ jowls? And when did my neck start looking like that? (Insert scream here.) The only thing that’s saving me from total shock is that my eyesight is gratefully fading. If I stand far enough back from the mirror, I look like Doris Day in her later films, all fuzzed out and pretty.

Number Eight: Wear clothes for comfort, rather than fashion. A slippery slope, let me tell you.

Number Nine: Use an old lady cart to get groceries. This is the most humiliating out of all of the above. I feel a thousand years old dragging the damn thing over to Safeway. I feel like I should heap on the Depends, antacids and laxatives, and shuffle back home. I feel like I’m using a walker. Ever since this summer when I had seizures in the emergency room—and the DMV suspended my driver’s license—I have no choice but to use the horrid cart if I want food. Yes, I know I should be thankful I can still walk and I’m alive and all that garbage, but I hate crossing six lanes of traffic on El Camino looking like a crazy old lady when I’m only fifty-bloody-three.

I have decided to stop aging altogether. Next time I emerge from my bunker, I’ll let you know how my refusal to get older is working.

©2013, Janet Periat

Wisdom At Fifty

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I recently celebrated my half-century birthday. I have learned much in my time here. I’m starting to forget most of it, so I’m going to write down the salient points for future reference.

Number One: When you turn fifty, you don’t have to dress like your mother. My mom always dressed cool, but ultra feminine. And very adult. So do all my girlfriends. I dress like a teenage boy. I had this idea in the back of my mind that someday I would wake up and be a grown up and suddenly understand the need for high heels and dresses and scarves. You know, like, at fifty. Now that I’m fifty I’ve come to a realization: I will always dress like a nineteen-year-old boy. At ninety-five, I’m gonna look like the Mummy in jeans and a t-shirt. Which is actually fine because of Number Two.

Number Two: No one cares what old people do. Basically, you go from being “the” age in all TV dramas, the center of the universe of fashion, on the forefront of new trends, straight into the vast wasteland of The Great Ignored. Your age group is no longer represented on TV, except in embarrassing denture commercials. No one asks you what you’re doing anymore because they assume you’re not doing anything new or different or interesting. Which means you can finally get away with whatever you want. I rented a bounce house for my adults-only fiftieth birthday and had a blast jumping in the stupid thing. I kept expecting the Age Police to show up and ticket me. But no one gave a damn. I’m thinking of pushing this whole Ignoring of the Old People phenomenon and starting a life of crime.

Number Three: Sex is as good at fifty as it was at twenty. Even better because I’m not as self-conscious, nor am I worried about unintended consequences. Like children. The only difference is I’m not into all that freakin’ Cirque Du Soleil stuff because I’m as flexible as a two by four with as much stamina as an emphysema patient on oxygen. Which brings me to Number Four.

Number Four: Aging hurts. You can still do much of what you did in your youth, you’re just gonna pay a price for it. Sure you can have sex all night or jump in a bounce house. You’ll just be in traction for the following week. Getting out of bed requires not only more effort, but a large grunt, too. There is a direct relationship between age and the amount of noise you make when getting up. I used to think my parents were having brain aneurysms every time they got out of a chair. Now I get it. If you sit too long, everything solidifies. Kind of like pre-rigor mortis. I think my body assumes that since I’ve sat for so long, I’ve actually died. So it stiffens up like a corpse and gets ready for embalming. All that pain is from my body reanimating as I force it to move. Kind of like Frankenstein being shocked into life. My mom says it gets worse and this is the only thing she’s ever told me that’s turned out to be true.

Number Five: Your parents were wrong about almost everything. Problem with parents is that they give you advice from their parents, who got it from their parents and pretty soon, the advice sounds like it came from the Pilgrims just getting off the Mayflower. In every generation, all the rules change, yet parents’ advice stays the same. Get a good job. Stay there forever. Pay them with your loyalty and they’ll pay you with theirs. Banks are the safest place to put your money. Mom told me the other day, “Don’t worry about planning for your future, it will all work out by itself. That’s what we did.” Riiiggghhht. My parents’ generation lucked out. They bought their homes for a dime and sold them for a million. They got GI loans, health insurance, pensions and could support a family of six on one salary. They got Social Security. Basically, their generation spent all the money and left nothing for us. Of course, if they told us the truth, we wouldn’t be helping them pay for that nice cushy retirement home.

Number Six: As they age, most men turn into Dick Cheney. Remember how cute Richard Dreyfus was? What about that hot guy in high school? What the hell happened to these guys? They all got fat, bald and whiter. They all morphed into the same man. They started off as adorable men, then they went through the Dick-Cheney-Izer. They lost their hair, acquired a paunch, started wearing glasses, dressed in old man clothes and now resemble human maggots. Their wives look twenty years younger even if they’re the same age. The weird thing is, the guys still think they’re hot. Frightening.

Number Seven: If it tastes good or makes you feel good, it’s bad for you. Beer, chocolate, caffeine, doughnuts, hamburgers, French fries, cigarettes, butter, salt and Pringles. That was my breakfast. The doctor keeps telling me it’s all gonna kill me, but since I’m old now and no one cares what I do, I figure to hell with it. Which brings me to Number Eight.

Number Eight: When you get older, you realize that no one knows anything. Especially doctors. Three years ago, my doctor told me I should be on Hormone Replacement Therapy because it would help prevent certain illnesses. A year ago, she told me I shouldn’t because HRT causes more illnesses than it was supposed to cure. I could name five hundred other things my doctor was wrong about. So now I don’t listen to her. Or anyone else for that matter. Of course, that could be my hearing.

Stay tuned, I have much more wisdom to impart—if I could only remember it.

©2009, Janet Periat

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