Give Me Wrinkles or Give Me Death
Updated: Mar 11
While my generational comrades may be stuck in a cloud of nostalgia and FOMO, I for one look forward to old age. I don't need or want face creams or Pilates to stay young. That's right, I'd rather be the opposite of Peter Pan. Don Rickles or Ed Asner will do. They epitomize the crotchety old man.
Yup, the title says it all. But let me explain lest you believe I’m just another millennial hell-bent on living off social security. About a week ago, my wife and I were walking our dog around the neighborhood. We walk a variation of the same route almost everyday. It’s very Truman Show. This time was different though. As we turned the corner, we were greeted by some Kirk-Douglass-stale-saltine looking mofo. He came out of bushes with the swagger of Rip Van Winkle… or Henry Winkler. Its all the same.
If I didn't know better, I would have thought he was going to give me some magic beans. If not that, maybe his marble collection. No phantom gift giving took place nor did he offer any obscure life metaphors. All he did was give our dog a treat.
Nothing nefarious, just a Milk Bone from his garage. He then informed us that he is an original owner who bought one of the homes when they were originally constructed in the 1960's. He old AF.
It got me thinking, maybe being old isn’t that bad. You're done with your job. You’ve settled in with your routines. More than likely you aren’t trying to date. The stressors in life are relatively low. Occasionally you need to fend off Publisher’s Clearinghouse from swindling you out of your financial legacy. All in all, not a bad way to wait for the warm embrace of death.
Think about it, you have an excuse to be an ignoramus. You don’t have to embrace new technology nor do you have to give any F’s. When’s the last time you saw middle-late aged man quickly cover-up in the shower at YMCA… yeah never. Jerry Stiller is the epitome of this geriatric confidence:
There is so much to stress out about in our world. Just last week I noticed my neighbor’s dog had one less limb than it did the previous week. For the love of God. As if a pandemic isn’t bad enough, a week into 2021 the Capital was stormed by the cast of Shameless. Now leprosy is making a comeback with my neighbor’s dog. Oh did I mention I Googled Michael J. Fox memes? Yeah big mistake. Clearly I went looking for love in the wrong place.
I made the mistake of ending my business with Supercuts and migrating to the higher class... Sports Clips. In my first appointment, my stylist washed my hair in a dimly lit room. It was the first time I felt ready to be elderly.
Being old gives you a license to speak first before thinking about it. Just imagine all the time we’d save if we just started assuming again. I wouldn’t have to worry about digital blackface, deadnaming anyone in a tweet, or body shaming. I’m not suggesting that bringing back mainstream bigotry would bring me peace. I’m admitting the fatigue affiliated with remembering all the social rules and expectations of the current era is real. Is there evidence to suggest that millennials will be the first generation without pervasive racism? Give me the data.
Right or wrong, being old excuses a lot. When you’re a child you are faced with an increasingly higher bar that you must reach. From birth we are trained to have manners and demonstrate respect to our elders.. As an adult it's expected, no learning curve or grace is given. Then, somewhere down the line, the bar gets lowered again. As your heart rate slows and your body succumbs to a wrinkly plague, so do the expectations for the elderly to be reasonable.
I knew a guy in his 80s who would steal every pen that was ever lent to him. I watched him do this while having a conversation with the “pen-lender.” The lender looked at me like I was going to say something. I said nothing. My man was damn old. So old that I called him on Veterans Day to thank him for his service.
Turns out he wasn’t a veteran. I just thought he was because he was that old.
I miss low expectations.
Ultimately I want my biggest problem to be whether or not the paper is delivered on time. And yes, I want a newspaper. I want to feud with the knucklehead neighbor kids who run on my lawn. I want an excuse to be grumpy. I want to be excited over having a cookie.
Perhaps I want all this because it feels like an unobtainable fairytale. My wife comes from a lineage of people with long lives. According to Ancestry.com… I do not. Tuberculosis, consumptions, or anything else that took people out of commission on the Oregon trail have eradicated my ancestors. When things appear to be going fine, freak accidents took hold like a Final Destination movie.
To sum up, a wise man once said, that in his day, global warming was just called summer. I hope to be that wise man one day. Getting older means you can walk shamelessly through the showers at the YMCA, with your limp bizkit, doing it all for the nookie. The older we get, the fewer f's we give because sooner or later we all become dust in the wind.
A slogan to live by? Perhaps.
Live long and prosper... unless you host a show where unsuspecting people spin a wheel and buy vowels.