65 is the new 64
We get old but birthdays never do, someone once said.
Maybe it was me. I can’t remember.
But trust me from experience, turning 65 is not all fun and games.
It’s not all whist, pickleball and medical appointments, opposing Socialized medicine because you got your Medicare, and griping about entitled Millennials and condescending Gen Zs while they pay for your Social Security they’ll never get and also for your destruction of Earth.
Aging ain’t what it used to be. Like when parents at 40 looked 65, grandparents at 65 looked 100, and great-grandparents went unto God’s Loving Hands too soon from gumption, apoplexy and biliousness. And some from car crashes after belting out the Gershwin Bros., “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” at the DMV, referring to their driver’s licenses.
Aging is not whatsoever like the “163 Hilariously Honest Tweets About Getting Old That Will Make You Laugh, Then Cry,” tweeted by people worried about turning 30 or 40, many possibly still weaning from parents and struggling heroically like the Greatest Generation. Only with adulting, not World War II, and Instagram depression that’s serious but different from the Great Depression.
The hilarious honest Millennial tweets about aging include, “You know when you’re getting old when all of your injuries are from sleeping weird.” This from Elan Gale, 38, multimillionaire TV producer celebrated for his work on “The Bachelor” and creating the HBO Max series, “FBOY Island.”
If you’re over 65 and grew up watching TV on three channels plus UHF, this tweet about aging might work better: “You know you’re getting old when you wake up with Bozo the Clown and he says, ‘I slept funny.’”
In any case, I’m celebrating rather than lamenting this milestone of my inexorable decline by saying whatever comes to mind.
I don’t care if the following wisdom makes no sense. That’s on you.
Ageism is the only -ism we all hope to suffer
It means we’re still alive.
Aging also unites our divided nation in common cause complaining about knee pain, back pain and general cranky ass pain.
The Lennon/McCartney ditty, “When I’m 64,” is a toxic microaggression
Yes, I’m losing my hair, except now it’s coming out of my ears.
“Sunday mornings, go for a ride” sounds nice, but if we care about the climate we bequeath we should be walking, biking or taking transit.
“Sincerely, wasting away” — definitely.
But no, I’m not out till quarter to three, or even quarter to nine, so no need to leave the door unlocked. No need to feed me; I have DoorDash. I’ll never be handy; don’t ask me to mend a fuse. Most of all, I’ll never be doing the garden, digging the weeds.
And if somehow I acquired grandchildren named Vera, Chuck and Dave, they should learn I’m the kind of loving grandpa that’s never around when the grandkids are.
Tell them Peepaw Jeff is off on his adventure bucket list. Just make sure they know it doesn’t mean I’d rather eat fire, hold a shark or tarantula, swim with stingrays, walk on hot coals, jump off a cliff, or fight off giant venomous tourists at Machu Picchu than see my wonderful grandchildren.
Some microaggressions I’ll welcome
Such as Huffington Post’s list of “Things You Should Never Say To A Person Over 50.”
Compiled by a HuffPo Millennial senior reporter who specializes in ageism, these toxic, triggering, traumatizing comments include, “You are aging gracefully,” “you don’t look your age,” and, “wow, you may live to be 100!”
I welcome these comments.
First, my aging makes me even more contrary, so I particular enjoy what I’m told not to.
Second, I don’t need some whippersnapper, especially a Millennial fragile snowflake cancel-culture language cop, telling me what I should be insulted by. If we avoid saying everything HuffPo says we shouldn’t say, there’s nothing we can say.
Most of all, these comments sound like compliments. My response would be, “Why how nice — thank you!”
Pleasures are simpler, yet more complex
It’s one of those ironic juxtapositions that only older people with our advanced sensibilities can understand.
Take opera or classical music, which apparently young people hate but retirees adore.
Music is a simple pleasure, but if you meet someone at a party who wants to explain Der Ring des Nibelungen, including Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, back away and say you have to use das Klo.
By the way, not to be ageist like a certain young HuffPo senior editor, but if you’re worried about aging and want to feel hale, hearty and tall like an Übermensch, attend a Saturday matinee at the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Speaking of das Klo …
My 65th birthday splurge gift to myself wasn’t an old Porsche to sop up extra money, like when I turned 55, but a simple yet complex commode, namely, the American Standard “high-performance” Optum™ VorMax™.
“VorMax™ Flush Technology is the cleanest flush ever engineered,” American Standard extols. Combined with the CleanCurve™ Rim, it will “keep the bowl so clean from top to bottom you’ll never have to worry about missing a spot again.” Best of all, it features the EverClean™ Surface that inhibits evidence of use.
Even as a hack writer, I couldn’t make this up. Like Sinatra, regrets, I’ve had a few, especially that I wasted my career not writing commode marketing copy.
Speaking of Sinatra, now that the end is near …
Yes, I’ve lived a life that’s full. I traveled each and every highway, many because I was lost. I did what I had to do, and sometimes saw it through without exemption.
And yes, there were times I bit off more than I could chew. I’ve loved, laughed and cried. I had my fill, my share of losing, etc., etc., etc.
But thank heaven, I didn’t do it my way. That would have been a fever dream of disgrace, squalor and shame. Like “FBOY Island.”
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.