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August 2014

Getting’ old ain’t for sissies

As may have become apparent (by now) to some of the now 6⅓ regular readers (cats, dogs and other assorted livestock count) of the monthly mutterings of the Curmudgeon, your favourite voice of cynical whingeing in the wilderness is not exactly a spring chicken. Truth be told, epithets such as “pernickety old coot” or “miserable, geriatric ol’ fool” become more and more applicable as each new epoch rolls around. And, as galloons of wrinkly geezers out there can attest, it’s getting harder and harder to be a dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying ol’ toppie!

For one thing, all the brave (aka stupid), daring (aka suicidal) and dashing (aka you looked like a ponce) things that you did with gay (and brainless) abandon in your mis-spent youth back when dinosaurs roamed the earth now come back to haunt you with a vengeance. Ankles twisted back when the planet was young now contribute to slow you down to a snail’s pace – much like the build-up of weed and barnacles on the hull of some ageing hulk. Or the 3 748 times you performed your favourite drunken party trick of popping your shoulder out of joint and lurching around like some drooling zombie caricature for the entertainment of the (often, equally brainless) members of the fairer sex – in the vain hope of a snog – now mean that you sometimes go without mayonnaise for three weeks on the trot coz you can’t get the bl**dy bottle open.  As the official OAP mantle becomes more comfortable on your once proud (now sloping) shoulders and inoxerably slides (along with your face – a la Walter Matthau) down to take up permanent residence just above the waist that was once home to a six-pack (now a keg), there are, believe it or not still a few plusses to geezer-hood.

You are now more comfortable in your skin – probably because there’s so much more of it. (I read the other day that the average OAP, if properly ironed out, has enough skin to make 14 raincoats) You no longer care if you look “hot”, you’re more worried about keeping your skinny shanks warm. You find yourself completely clueless as to whether barely post-pubescent Justin Bieber is “back together” (for the umpteenth time *sigh*) with pre-schooler Selena Gomez (who?), but nonetheless often find that your life experiences and knowledge horizons have expanded beyond the point of sex, heartbeat, sex, respiration, showing off, sex – so much so that you are instead, now able to (Alzheimer’s notwithstanding) able to construct whole sentences unaided without liberally sprinkling even the most mundane conversation with “like”, “totally”, “dude!”, “OMG” “awesome!” and “fully, bru”. Pro-nouns? A walk in the park. Palindromes? Close enough to OMG to flummox tannie Esme’ and OMO. (tannie wie?) OAP’s now find they can even walk, talk and chew gum all at the same time – if only the china choppers didn’t keep slipping out of their mouths.

Bottom line? There are pro’s and con’s to everything in life – and ageing is no exception. Boy, it ain’t easy. But at least, advancing age allows one the perspective to adjust (and where necessary) even lower one’s standards to indulgently turn down one’s hearing aid to tune out the thundering hoofbeats of galloping senility and still be comfortable. Beating yourself up with angst, self doubt and the obsessive self auto-response of “what will people say/think/do” is not only a mug’s game – it’s a young man’s game. Get old enough and you find that you no longer care so much (or even at all) anymore. And, what’s more, you’re “totally cool, hundreds and down with it!”

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