If Age is Just a Number, Why is Mine Multiplying?

It’s not my imagination. It was only a really short time ago when I was rolling around our backstreet on clamp-style roller skates, riding a second-hand bicycle with pedal brakes without even thinking of putting a helmet on my head[1], watching The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night on a black and white TV, and having to wait until the people on the party line were finished talking before I could make a telephone call.

I am not old.  I’m just more experienced at being alive.

That has to count for something.  I should be kind of proud that I was born in the BC[2] era.  True, we had to do all of our homework by hand and we had no Spell Check or calculators.  Arithmetic was a torture for those of us who prefer to make calculations by making a good guess.  I admit, though, that knowing how to add, subtract, multiply and divide comes in handy when you can’t find your calculator and your taxes are due tomorrow.

We weren’t allowed to give our teachers trouble, either.  Our parents always sided with the teachers.  Exceptions to this were so rare they were newsworthy.

I also know how to duck and cover under a desk when someone is dropping a nuclear bomb in the neighborhood.  I would be vaporized anyway, along with the desk, but at least I would feel safer for the minute or two I would still have to live.

The thing is, my body has gotten older but my brain still thinks I’m 20 years old.  That has to count for something, too.  No rocking chair for me (unless it’s a really great La-Z-Boy recliner — that doesn’t count because I want one of those).  No retirement, either.  I need the money from my job too much.  That should keep me younger than my chronological years, too.

I am an avid computer user and a computer nerd wannabe.  This, I am told, makes me a curiosity among my age group.  I can’t help it.  I love gadgets, especially the one that enables me to surf the Internet.  There is nothing quite like wasting time by googling whatever has come into your mind at the moment, before you forget about it.

Okay.  It’s time to take a pledge.  If you are more than 50 years old, you are welcome to join me:

I (insert name here) hereby swear that I will no longer be shocked when I look at photographs of myself.  In addition, I will never pull another gray hair from my head.  If I have too many gray hairs to pull out, I am free to color them or just leave them be.  But they are just gray hairs.  They are not omens of impending death, and I will no longer think of them as such.

I will enjoy Christmas and never say that it is “just for kids.”  In fact, I will feel free at all times to have fun and will never be caught saying, “I’m too old for this.”  I will only use the “too old” excuse for times when someone is asking me to do something I don’t want to do and I don’t want to be rude.  I will use this excuse sparingly, though, because people will catch on to it after a while and it won’t work anymore.

I will never complain about the younger generation.  We were even more obnoxious when we were their age.  Remember “Turn on, tune it, drop out?”  We are still trying to live that down.  The younger generations have yet to even come close to our antics.

I will not talk about my ailments.  If I do, I will keep it short and change the subject fast to something more interesting.

Please feel free to add other clauses to the pledge, as needed.

In the meantime, I will not let my gray hairs or my orthopedic shoes define who I am.  I am a youngster in a 60-something body.  And I don’t plan to change.


[1] Nobody ever thought of helmets.  If we had, we would have thought they were for sissies.

[2] Before Computers

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