The State of Elderly has no barriers, rules, regulations or gold cards. It’s a territory that advocates no specific religious persuasion; it will not deny anyone on the basis of ethnic or racial background, whom one may know, whether one voted for the donkey, the elephant or worshipped any particular popular guru. The autumn years are completely democratic. They accept any kind of weirdo, gender or combination, speak all languages including Sanskrit, Ebonics, New Age, pidgin, vegetarian, vegan or fruitarian.
Sometimes revered but seldom envied, the condition of “elderly” cannot be cured by a government grant, extreme wealth, magic potion, what one may do or not do, eat or not eat — including ingesting or not ingesting tofu or rats. No matter what, someday — if they’re lucky — everybody turns older than dirt.
You know you’ve crossed over into elderly territory when:
• every object in your house is coveted by antique collectors.
• the books on your shelves are older than stone-age tablets.
• your hair hates you so much, it leaves your head with so few hairs, it’s possible to count them.
• you become so bald you have to slather your pate with sunscreen if you go outside without a hat.
• you sprout whisker-like tendrils growing at odd places on your person.
• you know more people in the cemetery than in town.
• your skin develops more lumps than tapioca pudding.
• your teeth must be removed for brushing.
• your eyes can’t tell the difference between here and there without powerful magnifiers.
• other people’s conversations make you lose not only your train of thought, but the entire train.
• you look in the mirror and wonder what happened.
• you look in the mirror and E.T. looks back.
• you look in the mirror and wish you hadn’t.
• you look in the mirror to watch your chin-skin wobble.
• you don’t want to go to the local senior-citizen hospitality house because there are too many old people there.
• you bow your head while sitting in a chair, but you’re not praying — you’re merely catching a few winks.
• the condiments and spices in the kitchen cupboard are older than fossils.
• you notice little kids staring at you as if they’re watching your wrinkles wrinkle.
• jokes about old age all refer to you.
• you feel like a gummy ewe — no teeth and a tendency to void frequently.
• your toenails are impossible to reach.
• packing in stove-wood requires twice as many trips as you can carry only half as much.
• tossing haybales has turned into pry, pull, shove, and yank — and that’s just to get a grip.
• achieving the summit of a haystack means using your bale hook like a rock-climbing spike.
• stepping off a curb in town means leaning on the nearest angle-parked car hood for support.
• a handsome hunk (if you’re a woman) or a pretty girl (if you’re a man) helps you across an icy street — and that’s all — durn it!
• you can’t read the teensy print on pill or wine bottles.
• you get all the news from listening to the radio as your arms are too short to hold a newspaper within reading distance.
• child-proof caps are also old-person proof.
• your medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy.
• your joints know when the weather is going to change.
Graceful aging is an oxymoron, so … AGE FEROCIOUSLY, IT’S MORE FUN! ❖