Free Old Man Advice

old man

When I was kid, old people always started their stories with “When I was your age …” and then they’d ramble on for awhile until one of us got bored.  They meant well, like a strange dog licking your face, but, since I had no idea what — uh — life experiences their tongues had been through, wagging them at me about life, love and the logistics of adolescent sex was kinda icky.  Fast forward 50 years, and now I’m the guy telling the stories.  Luckily, these days, young people aren’t forced to be as polite as we were, so most of my tales remain untold, thank God!  However, on occasion I do feel the need to bore the hell out of people with some free old man advice.

Never drink Tequila on an empty stomach.  Unlike most alcohol, tequila is unforgiving, and whereas you’re probably going to do something stupid with whiskey, beer and even red wine, tequila will turn you into the Mad Hatter, escaped from Wonderland.  One time, in a border town called Sierra Vista — well — let’s just say nearby Fort Huachuca is a CIA listening post, and even though they’re awfully busy. sometimes they’re very interested in listening to a loudmouth Canadian.

Don’t waste your breath telling people to “Calm down!”  (Does this ever work?)  Once, through no fault of my own, I made a rude hand gesture to a biker, his girlfriend and his somewhat larger companion.  And believe me, telling them to “calm down” was not as useful as the cops who showed up in the nick of time.

Definitely, sweat the details!  It’s never the big stuff that does you in, but forget one condom (twice) at the Alpha Phi Sorority’s Hayride-Under-The-Stars, and you’re in for four weeks of protracted anxiety.

Unless your doctor has absolutely no sense of humour, never listen to your inner child — ’cause when you try to explain how you burned your private parts with chocolate sauce and get your foot caught in the toaster, it’ll be a lot easier if she doesn’t burst out laughing halfway through.

And that’s the problem with old people telling stories — even though they might offer some sage advice, they’re normally pretty boring.

I Love Getting Old — II

time-and-oldI took a little local flak for Tuesday’s (January 24, 2017) post, “I Love Getting Old.”  The general consensus was, “Hey, (descriptive derogatory noun deleted) gettin’ old isn’t all beer and skittles, ya know.”  This is true.  So, in the interests of fair play, here are a few things about getting old that aren’t so nice.

1 — You forget things — a lot of things.  The days of keeping phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, bank accounts and a grocery list in your head are over.  You’re lucky if you can remember why you just walked into the kitchen.  The thing I hate the most about memory loss is you can almost remember stuff — but nope — it ain’t there.  For example, sometimes when you see a familiar face you can’t quite remember how you know that person.  Or sometimes you can conjure the face in your mind but you haven’t got a clue what the name is — and that includes famous people like Albert Einstein or that fat Brit who sang at Diana’s funeral.

2 — Your body betrays you.  This is the worst.  All those little aches and pains that weren’t there yesterday — in places you didn’t even know you had.  But the real problem is you have no idea which ones are Get-Thee-To-A-Hospital-Immediately and which ones are Cowboy-Up-Ya-Wimp.  And that means you’re either going to spend the rest of your days reading out-dated National Geographic magazines at the doctor’s office or die naked in the shower because you didn’t.

3 — Mirrors are the enemy.  It’s not just changing rooms that hate you.  First thing in the morning looks like Night of the Living Dead, and last thing at night looks like you might not make it ’til morning.  Even shop windows on a cloudy day can scare the hell out of you.

4 — Cute.  This is a major problem.  Mother Nature provided us with natural defences against bratty kids and vicious little dogs.  Unfortunately, as you get older, everything under 3 feet tall just looks so damn cute that you spend a lot of time getting bitten on the ankles and putting up with yappy dogs.

5 — It turns out all the TV programs you loved as a kid actually suck.

6 — Modern music all sounds like the Klingon Wedding Song for bassoon, drums and base guitar.

But the very worst thing about getting old is:

7 — You’ve had the misfortune of living long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series!

I Love Getting Old

time-and-oldI’ve said “I love getting old” so many times that people think I’m being ironic.  Folks, do I even look like a hipster?  Don’t get me wrong: being young was fun.  Wine, women and song: sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll — whatever you want to call it, being a young man in the 20th century was worth the price of puberty.  However, there are some seriously cool perks available when you’ve lasted long enough to get north of 60, ’cause if you do it right, old people are just pre-schoolers with porno and alcohol privileges.  Here’s what I mean:

1 — You get to complain.  It’s not only allowed: it’s expected.  It still doesn’t change anything, but damn it feels good!

2 — You get to wear comfortable clothes.  I don’t know why (and this goes double for women) but fashionable clothes are always uncomfortable.  They grab ya in the wrong place, hold things way too tightly and sneak into areas that really should remain private.  I don’t have any personal experience, but a push-up bra and stiletto heels have got to be the worst.

3 — You’re never lazy.  You can lie around all weekend in your (comfortable) sweat pants, eating pizza, drinking Pepsi, binge-watching Luther on Netflix — and nobody calls you on it!  In fact, you get loads of sympathy. “Poor old fella!  He’s got nothing to do.  Awww!”  Yeah, life’s a bitch.  Pass the pepperoni.”

4 — People do things for you.  They move out of the way, give you a seat on the bus, reach for the tall stuff, lift your heavy crap and set up your technology.  It’s great!  But use this power judiciously or young people will start avoiding you and, believe me, lonely and bitter is not a good way to go.

5 — You get a vocabulary.  Luckily, even though life remains cool, brilliant, far out, awesome and amazing, you get better ways to describe it.

6 — Cool is a temperature.  I have no idea how many Kardashians there are, who sings what song, where the Marvel Universe is at, what any of this year’s Must-See-TV programs are, or what what’s-her-name said about the evils of capitalism.  When you’re young, if Jennifer Lawrence gets a boil on her bum, it’s big news.  When you’re my age, you’ve seen enough boils and bums not to worry about it.

But the very best thing about getting old is:

7 — You finally understand the connection between elegant and sexy — and it’s got nothing to do with sex.