I turned 59 this past Friday, which isn’t exactly a milestone birthday; you know, one that moves you from one life insurance group into another. I’m also in pretty good shape. Broccoli, salmon, nuts, a lot of walking, that sort of thing. I used to work out until I realized it was just making me tired and hungry. You lose weight when you stop exercising. Besides, I had injured myself trying to do mid-air twists while jumping rope.
Once, I left my jump rope at a hotel and they sent it back via overnight express. I had to explain the situation to the front desk, hotel security, housekeeping, and FedEx. At one point, I detected a snort on the other end of the line.
The AARP has had me in their sights for a while now. I finally joined, so I get their magazine every month. The photo above is from their August/September 2015 issue. The article is entitled “Best. Sex. Ever! We Show You How” I’m not kidding. I suppose they think they’re being shocking. Maybe it is for their older readers, but my generation went through high school and college in the seventies. Is there anything left to shock us? Miley Cyrus? A spoiled show-off trying to be naughty. That puts her in the same life insurance group as Justin Bieber.
My mother sent me a check for $59 and a note asking if I can ever forgive her. Isn’t it amazing how parents suffer? The guilt is incredible. My mother is younger than Julie Andrews and William Shatner, so I am going to rib her about it. She can take it. I’ve decided to spend the money on a fine bottle of gin, which I can purchase at the liquor store on Arthur Avenue (if you’ve never been to Arthur Avenue, watch Marty).
I have three grown daughters who watch over me like guardian angels. They want to know who I’m with, what I’m doing, if I am eating leafy greens, and when am I moving back to California. It’s great having daughters to watch over you. I recommend that everyone have daughters. They are truly like “olive plants” around your table (Psalm 128:3). They even made me download an app that locates where I am at all times. “Just in case, dad.” “In case of what?” “You know.”
I held a contest on my birthday in which I asked my Facebook friends to identify me in the fourth-grade photo above. I thought it would be a challenge, but a lot of people found me right away (sitting, gray tie, holding the sign). I think it was my smirk. If I had a dollar for every time somebody told me to “wipe that smirk off your face,” I’d be writing this blog from my Swiss chalet. But I can’t help it. You might as well ask me to change my DNA.
The winner of the contest was Judy Elfstrom-Reilly from my Southern Regional High School days. Judy and I went to the junior prom together and had a great time. That was the only prom I have ever been to, so Judy holds a special place in my heart.
I’ve started getting email ads for walk-in bathtubs and medic alert bracelets. I find it annoying, almost as annoying as when people hold doors for me. If they’re young men, it’s even worse. I’ll do it myself, thank you. Been opening and closing doors for a while now. Yet, I am not a crotchety old guy; just an older wise ass. That’s what happens when wise asses get older: we don’t care anymore. There are few things I’ll go to the mat for. Just don’t bullshit me. I hate bullshit (unless it’s extremely funny).
Getting older, which is a function of time, is related to distance. That is, as you get older, your perspective becomes more distant until one day it’s as if you are watching from the moon. It’s great being so detached that you are above the fray. You get to see just how petty most of our concerns are, but you are still connected to the world through relationships. The best thing I can offer people now is an ear, not a tongue. You also find simplicity. A great day to me is a cappuccino in the morning and a martini at night.
That new bottle of gin will help.
Haven’t had enough? Go to Robert Brancatelli for The Gringo and Laura Fedora. *If you are interested in reviewing either one for Amazon, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note to self: thinking of opening a Greek-Zambian bakery called “Lusaka Moussaka.”