The other side of 50? Was there another side? I can’t remember.
A funny thing happened to me on the way to this column this morning. I had a call from my nephew, Dennis Lafferty. He told me that it was his turn to call and that he was finally going to get a computer.
I told him I was in the process of writing a column about growing old. Dennis is 73 and I am 84. After a few “old man” jokes about the difficulties in using the computer, our conversation drifted to old people jokes, most of which I can’t tell you. But for old guys, they’re still funny.
He did tell me one story about an old guy turned stand-up comedian. I said, “That’s a good one. I think I’ll use it in the column I’m writing.”
Here I am writing the column and I’ll be darned if I can remember the funny story. It’s only been an hour since I heard it. Now that’s funny. I’m going to have to call him to hear it again.
Here are questions to share with other guys who have grown old:
When does the “ball of fire” turn into the “ball of lint?”
Why does the skin-colored skull cap now fit me?
Life among the ruins: I was proud of the many things I could do. Now I’m happy with the few things I can still do. I watched as my physical abilities began to collapse around me. Now, people ask, “what physical abilities?”
The youthful fantasies about women are now about not having my back hurt and what would be easy to fix for dinner.
It’s not just the physical. Time disappears. When I talked to my son, I said, “I’ll call you again on Thursday.” “Dad, this is Thursday.” It’s happened more than once. The third or fourth time (I forget which) I finally figured out that I was beginning to be lost in time.
Another month gone? I tell the month by the “holiday” of Thanksgiving – this must be November.
Another year gone? I still find myself writing 2011 on my checks. I had an excuse in January, but no longer.
I only have two columns in the hopper? I thought I had five.
I read a lot about senior moments. I realize now that my senior moments have turned into senior hours, sometimes senior days. Oh well, I can live with that. I was going to tell you a senior moment story here until I realized I had already told you one at the start of this column: My nephew gave me the punch line of the story by the old stand-up comic: “Senior memory loss really isn’t that bad. At least you get to meet all new people every day.”
All of those jokes about getting old now fit me. Why aren’t they as funny anymore? But growing old really isn’t all that bad. You are still growing older. You find pleasure in the more basic things.
Don’t worry about making big bucks. You can’t take it with you. Think about spending your last buck on the day you die.
And it’s a happy thought. You think about simplifying your life, getting rid of things instead of collecting them. You relish the loving relationships you have and nurture them instead of taking them for granted. When you do that, the affection is returned. I think there is a lesson in life there.
Here I am out of space with enough material left over for another “growing older” column. Your senior moment and growing older thoughts, ideas and experiences are welcome. Just send ‘em to me.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.