Young At Heart – Why A Credit Card Bill Made Me Realize How Old I’m Getting
Something I’ve been quietly dreading for years finally happened this morning. Up until now, I’ve been pretty adept at ignoring how long I’ve been kicking about our good green Earth. This has been achieved by me genuinely not actually knowing how old I am a lot of the time. If somebody asks me my age, I have to look at the date, remember what year I was born in and work it out because I really just don’t know it off the top of my head. This is probably something to do with the ageing process, but that’s irony for you.
Easy as it is for your brain to ignore how old you’re getting, it’s a lot more difficult for your body to pull off the same trick. Every day, your body gives you hints at your upcoming decrepitude and they’re not hints of the subtle variety. I’m finding meat harder and harder to digest to such an extent that I’m seriously considering becoming a vegetarian to avoid the bathroom trauma. My legs don’t seem to be hooked up properly to my hips anymore. Shakira said a mouthful when she sang “Hips Don’t Lie”. My hips definitely don’t lie. Every morning when I drag my sorry carcass out of bed, my hips describe to me in truthful and painful detail the fact that I ain’t no spring chicken any more.
Worst of all, a couple of years ago, what I thought to be a broken toe turned out to be my first attack of gout. That’s right, fucking gout. An ailment traditionally associated with moustachio’d, curmudgeonly Major-General types harrumphing in wing-backed leather chairs in London Gentleman’s Clubs. Not prime young hunks of British beef like myself.
Anyway, “What happened to you this morning?” I hear you ask. “Get on with it, you stupid old git” I hear you cry. Ok then, I will. This morning I opened my monthly credit card statement. A traumatic event in itself, but lurking in the envelope were some advertising leaflets. And they weren’t trying to sell me the benefits of the latest i-phone. Neither were they extolling the virtues of a trendy fashion label. No, they were bringing to my attention the fact that I might enjoy an ocean cruise. Not any old ocean cruise either; a Saga Ocean Cruise.
Oh yes, you did read that correctly. Saga. The old person’s travel agent of choice. The place where youthful energy and aspiration goes to die. Apparently, I’m now on their demographic radar. Being sent Saga cruise leaflets is the world’s way of saying “Welcome to God’s Waiting Room.” Fair enough, you’ve only got one foot in the waiting room and the number on your ticket is probably far removed from the one flashing on the board, but it’s still the world reminding you that you’ve put more years behind you than you’ve got in front of you.
My reaction to the world reminding me this was to immediately text my missus with the following message: “Saga holidays have sent me a brochure for their cruises through the post. So I’m off to town to buy a pipe and some slippers. If you need me I’ll be at the allotment.”
I did no such thing of course, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s no shop in the town I live in where you can buy a pipe. Secondly, the only places which sell slippers only sell the novelty “Monster Feet” and “Beer Cans” varieties and I’m not putting those on the ends of my legs no matter how senile I get. Thirdly, I don’t have an allotment due to not being a character in “Last Of The Summer Wine”.
These are important reasons, but the main reason I didn’t buy a pipe and slippers this morning is this. I have decided to ignore the fact that I’m getting older. I’m just going to carry on doing all the things I’ve always enjoyed doing until I’m actually physically incapable of doing them. I don’t see why the fundamental laws of nature should spoil my fun. And when I do become physically incapable of doing the things I enjoy, I’m going to buttonhole youngsters and tell them all about the things I used to do and how I used to do them far better and in a much more flamboyant manner than they will ever be capable of.
Come to think of it, lots of young people work on cruise ships, don’t they? The crew would have to listen to me if I was a paying passenger. Maybe I should give that Saga leaflet another look.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014