Another year is about to click by bringing with it, at least to me, how quickly time passes. As a child, an hour was a month, and a month was eternity. However, as time has passed, it seems that the roller coaster of life picked up speed at an amazing rate.
I didn’t really notice the escalation until probably my late 30s. Raising kids, working to feed a family and keeping bills paid diverted a lot of attention from the increasing velocity of time, but it happened just the same. Seems I went to bed one night at age 18 and woke up at 40, and just one night had gone by.
The Golden Years. The committee who markets The Golden Years has done a splendid job of making them seem so alluring. This committee — if it really is a committee — could land a marketing job anywhere in the world attempting to sell anything. One of my brothers-in-law put in best when he proclaimed: “The only thing golden about the Golden Years is the color of my urine.”
It was shortly after my 40th birthday, I was driving along an expressway just before nightfall, and the sun was shining brilliantly through the rear window of my automobile. I glanced into the rearview mirror and saw something I had never observed prior to that moment. The golden (there’s that word again) rays illuminated a crop of new growth hair emanating from not only on my ears, but from inside my ears, that created an image of a ball of tumbleweed attached to each side of my head. I was horrified. My concentration on this new development was interrupted by the screams of my passenger as I drove along the inside of the median of the expressway (he lived, but never rode in a car with me again).
The following morning brought yet another new experience. My family all gathered around to watch dad shave his ears for the very first time. How embarrassing. But it gets better. Upon completion of the inaugural shaving of the ears, I spy something foreign on the top of my nose. Is that a smudge on the mirror? No! It’s a lone, thick black hair growing from the top of my nose. One! Just one! I tried to pluck it out, but I discovered that its roots were somehow attached to the top of my feet, because when I tried to pluck out that unsightly little guy, both of my feet came off the floor. My family gave me a commemorative plaque later that day for the outstanding entertainment value I had provided them.
As the days, months and years progressed, there were many more tell-tale signs that the aging process was not only at hand, but not for the weak. One day I needed reading glasses, the next day I needed cataract surgery.
If it didn’t hurt, it didn’t work, and if it didn’t work, it fell off. Food tasted better, and the recliner was more comfortable that ever before. The sounds I made getting up were very much the same as the sounds I made sitting down. AARP and the Golden Buckeye Card (if that even exists anymore) people had me in their sights from about age 35. My pharmacist, veterinarian, and my personal physician guessed my age to be around 60. I was 42 at the time.
Age does have its benefits though. People don’t ask you to help them when they are moving from one home to another, I seldom am asked to help a farmer put in hay anymore, and I am almost never asked to participate in triathlons.
I find that wisdom is a terrific bi-product of age, too. Age has taught me that grandkids can be more fun than raising your own kids and, probably most importantly, never, ever, take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.
We all want to live as long as we can, but just remember with regard to The Golden Years, everything that glitters is not always gold.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. He can be heard Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon on 88.7 WOBO-FM, and can be reached at HEKAMedia@yahoo.com.