It’s morning. Awaking with a start (have I ever not?), I glance at the illuminated face of my alarm clock, and read the time, 7:14 AM. I whisper triumphantly, “Yes!” No, no, not because I’m still above ground (although there is that, too). I’m happy because, for the first time in weeks, I’ve actually slept for seven consecutive hours! Normally, I string them together in bunches of twos and threes. Or, more often than not, the numbers only add up to three or four. Whoopee! Nice work, Joe. Next stop, the bathroom, and even more cause for a big Ooh rah! The day is only five minutes old, and already I’ve thanked God twice. This is gonna be a beaut!
Aging is not fun. As my good friend and fishing buddy, Gene, always says, when we’re comparing notes about our various and multiple ailments, “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies, amigo!” And he’s right. The aches and pains are worse, and the doctor visits more frequent, with every passing year. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t suffer a panic attack—not because of a missed heartbeat—but because I realize I might have missed taking my statin the night before. What? Isn’t everybody on a cholesterol-reducing drug? If you’re not, you oughta be! At least that’s what the ads on TV would have you believe. Ask your doctor about this drug, ask your doctor about that drug. Enough already!
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of all those targeted ads on TV, aimed at seniors. One asks: How will your loved ones pay for your final expenses? “Who gives a crap?” I shout at the TV screen. “I’ll be dead. What do I care?” (Come on, admit it, you’ve done the same thing.) Then there’s the one: Did you know that a man’s testosterone level drops five percent every year, after the age of thirty? “Well of course it does, you jerk! That’s the way God designed it!” And if we had it, what on Earth would we do with it?
Or how about the ones for the “anti-aging” creams for women that promise to remove wrinkles—with all those dramatic before and after shots (and the fine print disclaimers)? I want my wrinkles; I’ve earned those lines around my eyes, and by God I’m proud of them! I ask you, men, do Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier not look absolutely ridiculous with their artificially dark hair and mustaches in those Just for Men commercials? And who even remembers them, anyway?
But my favorite seniors commercial of all time is the one for Cialis (if you have to ask, you’re not old enough to be reading this post). “What the hell are two, middle-age people doing in those damned bathtubs?!” (That would be my wife, Becky, shouting, not me.)
But it’s not all bad. Expectations are greatly diminished as we age—if we do it correctly. You see, the key to “successful advancement in years” (a little euphemistic lingo) is to grow old gracefully. Translation: Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. So go ahead, lower that bar—but just make sure you’ve got a tube of Capzasin cream handy, if you can’t make it under!