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Getting old in eye of the beholder


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The other day I was informed by someone much younger than me that I am “getting old.”

Boy, you get a little gray hair and some wrinkles around your eyes and express the opinion that most of today’s pop music is unlistenable garbage, and all of a sudden people think you’re past your expiration date.

I beg to differ. I am not “getting old.” “Getting old” is a rude and indelicate expression. It is blunt and abrupt and a little insulting. And when I am concerned, it is simply not the case.

Yes, I have a few years, but am I old? No way. I am:

Piling up some miles on the odometer

Discount-eligible

Generously seasoned

Experienced

OK, make that very experienced

Vintage

A collector’s item

An authentic piece of

mid-20th Century Americana

Analog

Blessed with good shelf life

Nicely aged

More than a little peeved.

Old? I’ll show you old. I’d arm-wrestle to prove how non-old I am, but for last couple of years I’ve had this popping noise in my elbow and … well, never mind. I just don’t think I’m old. I’ll settle for older but not old.

Old is when you go flipping through the channels on Saturday night, pause on a Lawrence Welk rerun on public TV and say to yourself, “Seen it.”

Old — for men — is when you see Fred Mertz on “I Love Lucy,” with his pants buckled around the armpits, and think to yourself, “That looks comfortable.”

Old — for women — is when you see Fred Mertz and say the same thing.

Old is when you see doctors, plural. And they all seem to be about 17.

Old is when all your shoes are slip-ons because it’s just too difficult to tie them, except for your walking shoes, which fasten with Velcro®.

Old is when the weather is never good except for two days in the spring and two in the fall.

Old is when everything you used to eat is off-limits, and everything you can eat gives you gas.

Old is the people who were ahead of you in school.

Old is a state of mind. If others look at you and state it, you mind.

OK, all kidding aside, I’m not really upset. From the perspective of a young person just getting a start in life, I suppose I do seem old. And I do old-person things, like reject the music of today, for the most part, in favor of what I grew up with.

But that’s as it should be. I’m not supposed to like the music kids like. It would be weird if I did and against the law of nature that says each generation is required to produce music the previous generation cannot stand.

But mostly I can look at my life and see that it has been pretty amazing, going as it has from party lines to cellphones, typewriters to computers, actual friendships to Facebook. And it took some time for all that to happen.

But it doesn’t make me old. Heck, I don’t even qualify for retirement benefits yet. And besides, I still wear lace-up tennis shoes instead of the Velcro® kind. I’m not old.

I’m classic.

Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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