In a few weeks my daughter will be 36 years old, for those of you keeping score that officially makes me an old guy. I don’t remember becoming an old guy, I don’t really feel like an old guy (this week), but the evidence is starting to stack up that I am evolving in that direction.
I remember every detail of the night she was born very clearly. I can still see her little face and the 10 tiny fingers that I dutifully counted; she was perfect and it doesn’t seem possible that more than three decades have passed since then. Let’s examine the evidence; on the night she was born Jimmy Carter was president, gas cost under a dollar a gallon and I called the family to announce her arrival from a wall-mounted phone with one of those long cords that was perpetually twisted. OK, maybe it has been a while; I could be getting a bit older.
I’m not a detectiv,e but I’ve watched enough cop shows on TV to know that a single piece of evidence doesn’t make a case so before I buy a rocking chair I’m going to need more proof. I still feel like a clueless kid and I can get plenty of testimony that I still act like one so there’s pretty solid evidence that I’ve never grown up … but am I growing old?
I’m a realist, I understand that years have passed but how do you really know that you’re reaching the out limits of middle age? Is there an official “geezer” threshold you pass? What are the signs that you’re getting old?
As we approach the end of 2014 I’ve got to believe that anyone born during the Eisenhower administration should at least consider the possibility that you might be getting a little long in the tooth. In fact, if you’ve ever used the expression “getting a little long in the tooth” you’re probably getting old.
If you walk into a room and forget why you’re there, it might be time to get that early dinner reservation. If you walk into a room and forget why you’re there more than twice a week, go ahead and buy some suspenders.
You may well be an old guy if you make the “old guy noise” every time you stand or sit; you know the noise I’m talking about … you heard your grandpa make it, then you probably heard your dad make it and now you’re making it. If the sound of your bones cracking is louder than your “old guy noise” go ahead and tune in the weather channel.
Anyone who ever climbed up on the roof of their house and turned the TV antenna as your dad yelled, “Turn it left … no back … wait, too far!” may be starting that senior slide. If you even know what a TV antenna is it probably isn’t too soon to join AARP.
Folks who use the word “folks” are either senior citizens or politicians; I think I’d rather be old.
Anyone who had a grandchild before they had a cell phone is probably approaching the geezer zone.
If you ever watched Heckle and Jeckle, Mighty Mouse or Popeye on a black and white TV chances are you can order off the senior menu.
All of us who honestly believed polyester and disco were signs of the apocalypse should be studying our Medicare options. For the record I still have a “Death Before Disco” T-shirt … but I can’t remember where I put it. That can’t be a good sign.
If you ever went to the school cafeteria to watch a Gemini or Apollo “blast-off” or a World Series game on a black and white TV someone has probably already called you “gramps.” Those of you who listened to the World Series on a radio at school, go ahead and buy that condo in Boca Raton.
These are all pretty good indicators of aging, and I admit that almost all of them apply to me; OK … all of the apply to me. That doesn’t mean I’m old it just means that I’m in the neighborhood, and I’m all right with that because it’s not the number of years in your life that matters, it’s the life in those years.
I think I still have a T-shirt that says that too … if I could just find it.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.