As one ages, one must inevitably give up all the things that make one want to live longer. Once you’ve wandered, shuffled, staggered or achieved the status of older-than-dirt maturity (through no fault of your own), you are eligible to join certain OTD (older-than-dirt) clubs. Be advised that these fellowships are not exclusive to older-than-dirt members. The clumsy, inept, bungling, young, old or bonkers individuals are welcome as well. However, OTD clubs are found mostly in old folks’ homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and gramma digs. To spice up the activities, many of these club-organizations hold regular contests. Winners get extra deserts with meals.
Club Drops-A-Lot: This activity is where the OTD (older-than-dirt) person chalks up how many times a day he or she drops a dish, a sack, a bag while carrying the item or picking it up or merely passing near where said item is quietly resting, minding its own business. At day’s end, the chalk marks are tallied. The OTD with the greatest number of drops wins an extra desert at mealtime. This game is played mostly in assisted living institutions and nursing homes.
Club Wrinkle-Counting: The number of face-wrinkles increases almost daily, thereby making regular re-counting a reliable repeat game. Note: Acquiring wrinkles as one achieves an OTD status is inevitable. Tallying them requires a certain skill as well as tri-focals — particularly for those horizontal lines on the forehead. How to test for horizontal wrinkles: While looking in a mirror, your brow may appear relatively smooth. Now, decisively lift your eyebrows. Note the myriad horizontal lines texturing your forehead. Those are wrinkles. (They look like weensy, skinny venetian blinds). These horizontal fine lines are difficult to count but give it a try — at least until you tire of holding your eyebrows in a lifted position.
Club Cursing: The Art Of Colorful Blasphemes. Choose one or two favorites to employ whenever you drop something or otherwise become irritated.
However, choice cursing may not be comfortable for everyone. If he or she is a habitual non-curser, trying to develop profanities could cause discomfort which contravenes the benefits. But not to worry. Non-vulgar-language individuals can create their own lexicon of words designed to be uttered in times of stress. Such as: “Durn!” Or: “Oh, Potholder!” Or: “Greasy spit!”
Club Memory Hopscotch: The art of trying to recall what it was you said, did, meant to do or should have done last month.
Some memory-jogging techniques include: Making lists. Keep a stack of small pocket-size spiral notebooks on hand. At any time, day or night, jot on the page of a notebook: a) what you intend to do that day (or night), b) what you plan to purchase at any store in town, c) what time you plan to go to town, d) who you mean to email this day e), who you mean to phone this day. Clearly, an OTD person can go through the entire alphabet and list stuff you need to accomplish, say, do or remember. Just as clearly: Nothing works. As you age, you can’t remember squat.
Club Cane Chasing: The art of capturing a rogue cane which has been dropped, forgotten, lost or strayed. If you’re an OTD and have adopted a cane as a constant companion, you will find that canes are notoriously guilty of hiding, falling and otherwise causing serious anxiety, wrath and discomfort. Coping with unruly canes requires some modest physical agility. Catching one as it dives for the floor improves your eye/hand dexterity.
There are other clubs I could mention, but just to reassure folks, this column is meant to be humorous, not derisive. Though you or I may have arrived at the older-than-dirt stage of life, and regardless of the joys or sadness, ups, downs, disappointments, tragedies or suffering that you or I have encountered on the journey, I, for one, consider myself fortunate — and grateful.
Steven Colbert (host of a late-night comedy program) said it beautifully: It’s a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.
Mantra: Onward to the next adventure along the path of existence! ❖