The real reason we wear clothes, it has occurred to me in recent years, is to give young people false hope.
Yes, we say to them as we cover ourselves completely (except on the beach, where the sad reality of things is frequently on display), you will always look exactly as you do now. Heh, heh.
For the most part (or parts, as the case may be), clothes prevent young people from seeing their futures paraded before them, thus sparing them a life of woe and despair.
As it is, the rest of us go about our fully clothed lives, while members of the 16-t0-25 set comment snidely on the very attire we put on daily to protect their still-fragile minds.
“Hey, Pop-Pop! You got any legs in those baggy pants?”
To which you respond, silently, “Laugh it up, knucklehead. You’ll be wearing support hose knee socks with Bermuda shorts before you know it. And, incidentally, I have more money than you.”
I set the age group at 16-25, because, once we get beyond that stage, we begin to see little indicators that Sir Isaac Newton knew what he was talking about when he observed that gravity will bring down whatever was up, or something of that order.
Had Newton been a truly superior thinker, rather than merely a great one, he would have added a cautionary note to his laws of the physical world that said, “Warning: gravity is not our friend, even though it does keep us from floating off into space, which is convenient should we want to go hiking or bowling. Or play with lawn darts, for that matter.”
That is the irony of our existence: even though we tend to become more successful as the years roll by, nature and other forces of the universe exact their toll on the other end.
By that I mean we reach a point where the comment, “My a** is dragging,” is not an expression of weariness, but refers to a matter of personal distribution, as it were.
As in, “Let me grab my wallet. Let’s see. Hip pocket, where’s my hip pocket? Oh, there it is down by the curb.”
If life were fair, we would be more like crabs and each year, as we grew older, we would shed our outer selves and emerge as bigger, better versions of what we were the year before.
That way, by the time we reached the age of 78.7, the average lifespan in this country, we’d be real bruisers, twice or even three times the size of those youngsters and looking good right to the end.
They wouldn’t be making wisecracks then, by golly. We’d be kings and queens, the top of the heap, give or take a missing appendage here and there, as happens with elderly crabs from time to time.
Even so, it would be wonderful. We would look in the mirror, see a few age spots, a little droop here and there, and the next thing you know it would be off to the shedding box for a complete makeover.
In other words, if some smart alecky kid were to say, “Hey, Pop-Pop, you …” you could just slough it off.
And say,“It’s Mr. Pop-Pop to you, sonny.”