Golden Years

While growing up, you’ve probably often heard the term “golden years.” Most everyone seems to agree that it’s that wonderful period of time between the ages of 60 and 80. But let me tell you something. I’ve been panning that river for almost six years now, and I ain’t found any gold. Truth is, the golden years are just another term for “old.” If you’re approaching them, here are some of the things you can look forward to experiencing:

1) aches and pains
2) loss of hearing
3) loss of hair
4) loss of reading glasses
5) repeating yourself due to loss of memory
6) aches and pains

You will also tend to become more isolated. For instance, the only time I really ever interact with my neighbors is when we’re all outside staring at the same funnel cloud. Your wardrobe will also start becoming more and more casual. A number of you will start wearing the same outfit for longer periods of time. Some will eventually digress to three pajama tops, socks with sandals and a bib. However, your choice of clothes shouldn’t hamper your everyday activities. No one notices how you look when you’re redeeming your scratch-off tickets, knitting a vest for one of your pets or exchanging poems with a new pen pal in prison.

Now although none of us will admit it, during these golden years, you will gradually start making less sense than the lyrics about them in that song by David Bowie.
You will also gradually come to believe that you are the only person left on the planet with any common sense. And though you may become stingy and selfish, there is one thing you will always share with anybody. Your opinion. I have quite a bit of experience with this. Let me explain. I had always been told that an elderly person is basically a museum that can talk. One should always seek them out for enlightenment. In reality, I’m more like a museum that won’t shut up. It generally takes me less than three minutes to clear out a table. I’ve actually seen a person fake a heart attack just to end the conversation. With that in mind, please try to bear with me while I share my opinions and observations about some random topics.

First of all, there has been a great deal of anger expressed nationwide lately over a professional football team’s nickname, which is viewed as disparaging because it denotes a large group of people by skin color. However, I find it interesting that the ones who protest that nickname the most, particularly celebrities, seem to have no problem referring disparagingly to another large group of people by a very similar moniker......... “rednecks.”

Now don’t quit reading yet. I’m on a roll.

Think about this. We’ve been told that if we want to find someone to fill a position, the most important criteria is probably experience. Right? Well, not always. When it comes to marriage, it’s probably not a good idea to pick a partner who’s been in several of them. And remember, marriages are supposed to last forever. Sort of like a tattoo that constantly finds fault with you.

If you’re really bored sometime, do what I do to brighten my day. Grab some cotton balls and throw them at Smart cars. The airbags almost always deploy.

By the way, quitting Facebook is the adult equivalent of running away from home. We all know you did it for attention, and we also know that you’ll be back.

Finally, I’m sure you’ve noticed that this issue of the magazine is honoring the top teachers in the area. You might recall a favorite, but I bet you definitely remember the most intimidating. If you went to R.L. Paschal High School back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, that person was probably basketball coach Charlie Turner. But if you also happened to attend Alice Carlson Elementary School during that same period of time, there is no question in your mind that the fifth grade art teacher, Margaret Flodin, would have had Charlie Turner in tears. She had this booming voice that was a cross between Ma Kettle and the Exorcist. She got mad at me once, and to this date I have never been that terrified. Fortunately, I happened to bump into her a couple of times 20 years later, and she was actually one of the nicest people I ever met.

Well, this old museum needs to head upstairs and go to bed. I’ve had trouble sleeping lately because of all the noise. Let me share one more thing with you. In case you’re wondering how long it takes for a smoke detector to stop beeping, so far it’s been five months.