I’m officially old.
At least I feel that way.
It wasn’t like I felt like a kid or anything, before. I wasn’t delusionally thinking I was a teenager. But up until the whole Heart Episode of mine a couple years ago, I was happily oblivious to the realities of time, blissfully drifting along in my own little bubble suspended somewhere between my ten-year high school reunion and the birth of kid number four.
I’ve never been the type of guy who has the car radio permanently set to the oldies channel for a non-stop playlist of songs my senior prom. I keep up with current movies, or the commercials for them anyway. I may not know all the “stars” on the CW, but who really does? I try and stay current with music; I, for instance, know what the fox says and I’ve seen Miley's big, swinging ball. But I know better than to cram myself into skinny jeans. And I’ve resisted the urge so far to get a tattoo for milestone birthdays. That should mean something.
I wasn't desperately trying to recapture anything. I sort of pretended I didn’t have an age. I just was.
What's my age again!
Then came the bypass, my Big Event. Old people have Big Events. The “dad’s not the same after his: tumor/stroke/heart attack/hip fracture/hunting accident/fill-in-the-blank” event.
Now every morning I leave at least twenty hairs in the sink. I’ve had so many colonoscopies, I think my proctologist and I are dating. I crack teeth for no reason, three of them so far--- pieces of my molars simply break off. I don’t even have to be chewing.
I go to urologists’ offices: you know, just “routine.” All their questionnaires, the doctors, the nurses are overly concerned with pee. Of course, I don’t have a pee problem but that doesn’t stop them from asking. Are you able to pee? They ask about my “stream.” Does it start and stop? Trouble emptying your bladder? (They have a device that actually measures that!) How often do you get up in the middle of the night? Oh, and while we’re at it, pee in this cup so we have some, you know, for later.
Last month, I had arthroscopic knee surgery on a torn meniscus: the cartilage between where my shinbone’s connected to my thighbone. Turns out it’s the Old Guy’s Medical Procedure Du Jour… every third guy I know around my age has had one or two knees done, some more than once. Boston Children’s Hospital estimates half a million people tear their meniscus every year, usually while performing an activity--- rock climbing or a tango competition or a pickup b-ball game at the Y. I tore mine walking, I think, or getting up from the couch too fast, I have no idea…
So, yeah, add one more piece of evidence that I’m officially old. I’m waiting for the day real soon when a cashier or a waitress calls me “Pops.”
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