I was getting off the train the other day, and as always my knees and back were creakin' and speakin' to me in a language I’m too old to try to learn.
I noticed another gentleman walking along in front of me, and he too seemed to be having his own conversation with parts that had long since dropped any form of respect for the person they belong to.
It was then I noticed that the bus which was about to deliver me to dinner and then to the bed where old parts go to die, was already at the bus stop a block in front of me. It was about thirty seconds later that I noticed the brake lights coming on. Normally those lights are designed to warn you to back your rear end off or kiss the rear end of the bus ahead of you. What they mean in bus and train language is the bus is about to leave your rear end where you are, and it did.
I could have run for it, the other gentleman could have, too, and in another life we might have. I had a long conversation with my knees, my back and several other unruly parts; they had very valid reasons not to run, a vote was held, and I lost. I watched the bus drive off into the sunset without me or my knees and back or the brain too weak to put forth a convincing argument against its other, much louder conspirators.
I recognized a kindred spirit in the gentleman, in front of me, and briefly considered picking up my pace to catch him and have a little pity party, but my hips looked up at me and asked, did you bump your head? Maybe I did at that.
Getting older is a lot like fishin'; you don’t go scrambling around lookin' for the fish, you sit on the bank and wait until the fish comes to you.
When you’re old, if you wait long enough, whatever you want will come around eventually, and if it doesn’t, well at least you don’t mind too much, and maybe you didn’t need it too much in the first place.
Regardless, once he stopped at the bus stop, the other guy had come around with no extra effort on my argumentative knees part.
If we’d been younger the conversation might have been different, but as it is there is, but one thing to do in such situations as this: lie.
“I could have caught that bus if I’d wanted too.” I said. “Me too,” he said
After a few other lies designed to make us feel better, he made one of the truest statements I’ve ever heard. “There’ll be another one,” I said. “Yeah besides my Scotch will have ages another fifteen minutes by the time I get there,” He said.
Now that’s the difference between the young and old man in a nutshell. When you’re young, you’re glad that beer has a fancy born-on date because you want to drink it as fast as they can make it. When you get older, you can wait patiently for paint to dry, cars to rust and Scotch to age, and the best part of this is you can even convince yourself this is a good thing.
One of the other jewels he passed to me during our short conversation.
A man only needs two things, duct tape and WD-40. If it moves and it’s not meant to, use the duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it’s meant to, use the WD-40. Now, that is a truism, if I’ve ever heard one. Did you know that people actually use both for medicinal purposes?
I firmly believe that Ellie Mae Clampit could have cured most of the ills of any young or old man, and I further believe that Granny Clampit could have cured the rest if duct tape and WD-40 have been available in Bugtussle.
So what gets better with age?
Scotch, cheese, leftover spaghetti, painting, writing, cars, memories, wine, women and song and presumably beef, but I ain’t convinced about that one. They say sex gets better; after all you now know where everything is and what to do with it, the only problem is you’re not too sure exactly what you did with it or where you put it the last time you used it.
What gets worse with age? Men, milk, fruit, knees, backs, memory, snowballs, ice cream, and of course no good can come from old drawers.
Why is it that everything but old men become antique?
Who snuck into my ears and planted all this hair? Why is it that shoes get comfortable with age and men just get grumpy? I guess I’ll never know these things, but at least his Scotch will get better as we struggle to figure them out.