The Public Eye

printed 08/23/2019

Seventy-two years ago this week, I squirmed my way into the world heedless of an inner voice that said, “Go back, it’s a trap.”

It’s a good thing I didn’t pay attention for a variety of reasons, all of which, of course, would be secondary to the fact that my mother was not up for housing a tenant on a year-round basis.

It occurs to me, however, that over the course of all this time, I have discovered certain truths about our and my own existence.

For instance, it has become more apparent recently that people will lie to you routinely.

As evidence, I offer the long worn-out expression, “age is just a number,” which I have been hearing ad nauseum for some time now by kind souls who either think it’s a nice thing to say, or believe it’s necessary to prevent a guest appearance by Mr. Grumpy.

Obviously, this adage cannot be true, or I would have discovered many of life’s attractions much earlier than the regularly scheduled program would allow.

“Bartender, a beer and a shot, if you please.”

“What are you, seven? Get out!”

Conversely: “My, my, my, if it isn’t Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Maren Morris and …”

“Beat it, pop-pop.”

The truth is I have no illusions about this aging business, although it is a fact I can still do as many pushups now as I could back in the day, when the drill instructor would say, “drop down and give me 50.”

I weighed 145 then, and could run off those bad boys faster than a lizard on hot sand and clap my hands between each one. It’s true.

It’s also true that I can still give you 50. It just won’t look like it, since I continue to lift those 145 pounds, while the other 50 I gained since then remain on the floor, having dropped down on their own. It’s kind of like grading on the curve, I suppose.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t fake the age-is-only-a-number thing by concealing certain undeniable giveaways.

“Bartender, give me a beer and a shot (and wake me when I nod off).”

“Two tickets to the 7 o’clock show, please (pssst! Seniors discount, right?)”

“Yep, 22 or 72, I’m still up at 2 a.m. (just getting home with the former, and just getting up with the latter).”

The other thing you should do is resist what is apparently an age-induced desire to use words like “whippersnapper” and end your sentences with emphatic expressions.

I don’t know what it is, but ever since I turned this page, that little inner voice has been telling me, “Say it … say it … just get it out of your system.”

Okay, I will: “Get off my lawn!”

There. I have to admit, I do feel better now and that’s important at my age, which is not just a number. No sir, I’m not buying it. Not buying it all ... by cracky!

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