Gods Of Old!

gods

Although old is a relative term, generally, old people never get anything and (some would say) deserve even less.  Children annoy them, teenagers avoid them and adults talk to them in that voice we reserve for pets.  Their stories are long, their habits are confusing and they play way too much “Remember When.”  However, old people have it over everybody else on the planet because they have their own set of gods!  These gods and goddesses, like the pantheon of Valhalla or Olympus, govern all aspects of “older” life.  They appear to us slowly as we tack on the years.  They slyly watch as we slowly trade in our tequila for iced tea, push-up bras for baggy sweatshirts, stiletto heels for comfortable shoes and muscle cars for minivans.  And by the time we’ve replaced vodka shots with a glass of wine and clubbing with crossword puzzles, they have our fate firmly in their hands.  These gods should not be ignored because we’re all going to have to deal with them one day.

Cutonya – The goddess of beautiful grandchildren.  With one glance, she turns any grandchild into the cutest, funniest, most talented little kid on the planet.

Kwikus – This is the god who manipulates the calendar so that days, weeks and seasons magically disappear, and suddenly it’s Christmas– again.

Noxia — This is the god who finds joints and muscles we never knew we had and torments them with annoying little aches and pains.  This is punishment for all the times we were mean, thoughtless and rude when we were younger.  Get used to it!

Poof — The goddess of the unexpected fart.

Scritch – The god of the inappropriate itch.

Folus — The god of aggressive nose hair.

Wat – The god of selective hearing.  This god saves us from all the stuff we didn’t really want to hear in the first place.

Notagin — This is the most helpful of the gods.  He’s the one who protects us from all evil.  He keeps track of our experiences and steers us away from making the same stupid mistakes we made when we were kids.  We should never overlook Notagin, because old people who do, end up giving all their money to Nigerian princes or greedy grandchildren who have no honour.

Myosotia – Sometimes called the Goddess What’s-Her-Name, she takes proper names and puts them just out of reach.  She also hides small objects like keys in the very place we left them.  Oddly enough, Myosotia doesn’t bother with memories that are 20, 30 and even 40 years old — which remain crystal clear.

Metamorpho – This god transforms professional people like doctors, lawyers, accountants, police officers and even judges and politicians into children – who get younger and younger every year.

Kilomornow and his twin sister Saggeth – These two tricksters love practical jokes like shrinking clothes that hang in the closet, adding extra numbers to bathroom scales, distorting mirrors and moving body parts just a little lower to the ground.

But mostly, old people’s lives are governed by the Queen of the Gods:

Idonkare – The most powerful goddess of all, Idonkare spends her time lounging around with her indolent lover, Sowat, playing backgammon and eating nachos, yet her power is so awesome that merely invoking her name brings harmony and comfort to the universe.  For example:

“Looks like you lawn is gettin’ a little long there, Herb.”
“Idonkare!”

Or:

“It’s the trendiest restaurant in town and I’ve got reservations!”
“Idonkare!”

And, of course:

“Grandma, nobody wears a Hawaiian shirt and Lederhosen!”
“Idonkare!”

Have You Heard “the Voice?”

the voice

It’s been a number of years since I first heard “the voice,” but I remember it quite clearly.  I was going through a grocery store checkout and the little popsicle at the cash register said, “And, how are you today?”  She drew out the “oo” vowel and leaned slightly forward as she said it.  It was at that precise moment I realized I wasn’t a young man anymore.  And I have to admit it annoyed me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar (read “under 50”) “the voice” is the inflection adults add to their speech when they’re talking to children, dogs, foreigners, hospital patients and old people like – uh – me.  It’s a strange combination of empathy and authority.  It suggests that the speaker thinks you might not understand the words, but wants to reassure you that they are in charge and there’s nothing to worry about.  And despite its condescending tone, it’s actually full of goodwill.

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to “the voice,” but, honestly, it still grates on me.  I can’t help it; I just don’t like being talked to on the same level as “Who’s a good boy, then?”  This is especially true when the speaker is a 20-something somebody whose major accomplishment in life is a totally cool Instagram profile.  I know these folks are full of good intentions, but treating grey hair as if it’s a terminal disease is hard to take when you’re on the receiving end.  (Full disclosure: Like everybody else on this planet, I used “the voice” when I was younger and still do, on occasion.)

The problem is, after a while, “the voice” doesn’t quit.  It’s like you’re living in a gigantic daycare centre.  Pretty much everybody who doesn’t know you, uses it.  They start every conversation with a simple question so you’re not stuck for an answer.  They constantly repeat themselves as if you can’t hear, don’t understand or have no attention span.  And they over-explain everything — as though your age and your IQ are somehow connected – adversely.  It’s totally tiresome.  But, the worst thing is “the voice” tells you – in no uncertain terms – that you’re no longer a viable sexual partner and you are not now — nor ever were — a badass.

It’s been a number of years since I first heard “the voice,” but I remember it quite clearly.  I looked at the little popsicle at the cash register, saw her smile, looked into her eyes and thought, “You have no idea who you’re dealing with, little girl — and if I told you even half the story, you wouldn’t believe me.” But, all I could think of to say was, “Not bad — for an old fella!”

Do You Act Your Age?

hourglassI had a birthday the other day.  (Years ago, I lied to Mark Zuckerberg, so nobody’s really sure when it was.)  Anyway, I kinda got to thinkin’ about getting older (notice, I didn’t say “old”) and discovered nobody really knows anything about it.  Basically, we travel along the road of life and all the signposts are either torn down or written in Babylonian.  So, at the end of the day, none of us really knows where we’re going, ’cause it’s all unfamiliar territory.  So, I decided to draw a quick-and-dirty map.

Shakespeare got it wrong: there are really only five stages of life.  They are Kid, Teenager, Young Adult, Adult, and Adult Plus.  So, in each of the categories, select the attitude that most closely resembles yours, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of where you are on this journey we call life.

AGE

Kid – I’m this many!
Teenager – Boy, when I get older …
Young Adult – Age is just a number.  I know a lot of totally old people who like to PARTY.
Adult – We never had/did stupid crap like that when I was young.
Adult Plus – How the hell did this happen?

WEEKEND LEISURE

K – I played some games, had my special lunch and a nap, watched TV, had a story and went night-night.
T – Nothing!  Just hanging out with my friends.  God! Why do you always have to give me the 3rd degree?  This place is like a prison.
YA – PARTY !!!!!!
A – I worked my ass off for this Christmas/ birthday/ vacation/ dinner party/  (fill in the blank) and now we’re going to damn well enjoy it!
A+ – I played some computer games, made a sandwich, took a nap, binge-watched The Killing and fell asleep reading my book.

FOOD

K – Grandma, I like pizza, too.
T – Chicken and stuffed peppers, again?  How come we never get pizza?
YA – Let’s go get a pizza before the PARTY.
A – I’m way too tired to cook.  I’ll just pick up a pizza on the way home.
A+ – Let’s get a pizza and see what’s on Netflix.

FRIENDS

K – Tommy and Shafir and Gemma and Mrs. Windouffer and Barnsy and Bunny and Megan and ….
T – Everybody hates me.
YA – My BFF is Stacey. We PARTY all the time, but I’m — like — totally friends with everybody — except Emma; she’s such a bitch.
A – If you don’t count family, we don’t have that many close friends.  Maybe Jake and Trina or Paul and Sasha from work. But have you ever noticed when you know a couple, there’s always one that you like way more than the other one?
A+ – Yeah, we have friends, but it’s so much nicer just to come home and relax.  Besides, once Edna takes her bra off, you need a team of horses to get her out of the house.

FAMILY

K – There’s Mommy and Daddy and Daddy’s new friend Ryan and my stupid sister and Barnsy the dog and me
T – This family sucks.
YA – I should call the parents more often, but mom’s always going on about grandchildren like I’m some kind of a brood mare.  I’ll call next Friday before the PARTY.
A – I spend so much time taking the kids to school and ballet and soccer and band practice.  And then there’s grandma’s grocery shopping and dad to his doctor’s appointments and every other “come-get-me” emergency.  I should just get my chauffeurs’ license and go into business for myself!
A+ – I love her dearly, but it was only supposed to be temporary after she broke up with Rashir.  If Audrey doesn’t get her head on straight pretty soon and move out of the basement, I’m probably going to kill her.