Getting Old


I hadn’t really thought too much about getting old. My Dad was 40 when I was born, so, in retrospect, he was always sort of old. But he never really acted like it, and he didn’t actually start looking old until I was in my 30s. Plus, we lived in different towns and I didn’t see him more than once a month or so.

Thing was, he kept working at a job (in a lumber mill) until he was 76 years old. What with him working like that, it never occurred to me that he was wearing out. Or getting tired of the grind. Or that the way he had lived (and, brother, he lived) might just perhaps have caused his bones and joints to hurt.

I just never thought about it.

My Dad, I think, was blessed with the same sort of genealogical heritage that he passed along to me. Or cursed with it, if you know what I mean, and I think you just might.

One of his favorite lines was this: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I woulda taken better care of myself”.

Now that I’m 70, I agree.  Up until about a year ago I thought I might be exempt, and never feel the effects of age.

My eyesight is fading…..Not completely, but I can tell the difference. My energy level isn’t what it was even a year ago. I can tell. My hearing isn't very good. Too much gunfire is what I think did it. That, combined with the police car electronic sirens that were placed on the roof of the car right above the driver. That was some loud shit, I’m telling you.  I seem to be growing hair where none should exist.  Bruises on my forearms last for weeks.  If I put on 5 pounds, it's a struggle to take it off.

I never completely know when I’m done taking a leak without looking, and that’s a drag, Buster.

My mustache has turned gray, but not my head hair. When that first started, I had a dick-weed neighbor in Ohio who asked me if I dyed my hair. What he meant, of course, was did I forget to dye my mustache. And no, I didn’t.

When I was 27 or 28 years old, my Dad and I went to the county fair in Napa county together. When I got out of the car, he said that he was just going to stay in the car and wait for me. “Have a good time, Boy” he said. He always called me “Boy”, but the way he said it made me know that the word “Boy” was always capitalized. I now know that he stayed in the car because he was tired. Nothing more than that. When I went into the fairgrounds to get some beers and look for trouble, he was reading the Racing Form. He was still reading it when I got back.

My Dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve when he was 77 years old and he died the next day. He had been a smoker all his life.

I quit smoking decades ago., but I was diagnosed last year with A-Fib. If one thing doesn’t get you, something else will.

Although I retired from public service long ago, and am a recipient of a pension plan and Social Security, I still work about half time.

Just like my Dad.

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