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Sat, Jan. 25

A geezer's life ain't so shabby

When geezers are at a table drinking coffee, they hang on every word. Words that make nearby young people retch and run away. (Adobe Images)

When geezers are at a table drinking coffee, they hang on every word. Words that make nearby young people retch and run away. (Adobe Images)

I recently had the privilege of running into a dear lady who reminded me that I have not recently written any geezer related items. I will try to correct that herewith.

Becoming a geezer is easy, all that’s necessary is just living long enough. Keeping up with all the “stuff” that comes with geezerhood is sometimes a bit like herding cats. There are many more things that have to be dealt with than we ever expected when we still knew what youth felt like. I sometimes have to ask unh, y’know, whats’er name, what I am supposed to be doing today, and why do I have the truck keys in my hand. It kinda rankles me when she tells me in that superior tone, “you already did it. You just got back, so hang up the keys and have another cup of coffee.”

One of the interesting things we geezers learn is that the chemistry classes we hated in school really do have a purpose in our later years. We now have to be pretty good at chemistry to avoid poisoning ourselves with the myriad pills and concoctions we are told we absolutely must be ingesting daily.

Another area of interest is the legal mumbo-jumbo we have to learn just to protect ourselves from the many scam artists who love to prey on old folks whose memories are not what they once were.

Why is it that scammers think we oldsters are rich? They keep after us like we were Jeff Bezos’ close family. Most of the time the closest we get to any sizable dollar numbers is when some distant relative puts the touch on us for a loan of money we don’t have.

It’s not that we don’t remember at all. It’s just that we remember trivia from a half century ago, but not what we had for dinner last evening.

Our physical condition is the subject that seems to start and end many conversations, and many of those seem to be a game of “can you top this?” Sadly, most of us really can. We hear vivid descriptions of invasive procedures that would make a statue cringe. We are told of medical instruments that would awe the torturers of the Spanish Inquisition. Oddly, when there are four or five us at a table drinking coffee, we hang on every word. Words that make nearby young people retch and run away. Ah, the joys of being ancient.

One irritant in being a geezer is thinking of a visit from “the kids,” and we have to stop to figure out if it is our own children coming up the drive, or is it their children. Then, my word, coming real soon are the great-grandchildren. When we get visits from some of our offspring, we have to give serious consideration to just who the heck they are. I think to myself “my kids are way too young to have gray hair and pot bellies.” Then, “why on earth is he walking with a cane?” It is just plain embarrassing to see my own flesh and blood growing old.

A sad and depressing facet of geezerhood is the loss of old and dear friends. When they pass on, it is really troubling to stop and think, “why, he was only middle-aged, I believe he was just 87 or so.” I hate to say it, but there are far too many of us disappearing every week. One light note, though. A friend told me that the oldsters where he lives are so courteous that they pass on in alphabetical order. When I scoffed at that, he told me to just check the obituary notices in the paper. Sure enough, there they were in nice, polite order. I keep wondering just how they coordinate that.

I ponder over the pleasure I take from just knowing some really wonderful people. Some of them are public servants who volunteered to accept positions that bring them very little compensation and lots of consternation. They have to smile and be polite with their constituents who only speak to them when there is a problem. Others of those wonderful souls who are military veterans, some of whom are missing appendages or those who are emotionally battered and scarred beyond their ability to cope and who desperately need help. Then there is the retired county sheriff who fought his own horrible war, each day leaving home to deal with horrors and with no idea whether he’d be returning that evening. Plus, the enemies he faced were not even uniformed. He had to fight his war with that disadvantage every day. Now, how about the retired school teacher who gave 30 years to trying to enlighten unruly, surly kids who hated being in the classroom and who were the teachers burden. Yes, the burden was that he and she were expected to somehow pound knowledge into the heads of those little rascals, and somehow did it. I am proud to know these fine folks and to listen to them share some of their experiences. I believe that if we closely examine a bunch of geezers, we will find more than a few who are, in every sense, true heroes who have dedicated their lives to making this world a better place because they gave of themselves for the rest of us.

Now, I’ll grant you there are some rewards to be found and enjoyed in what some folks call “the Golden Years,” senior discounts are always a nice little gift to receive and having young folks offer to carry a heavy or awkward item for us are pleasant experiences. Having a young person exhibit great patience with us when we are trying to tell them just why we came into the store is pretty nice. There is also a lot of relief when we are excused or forgiven when we commit some really big social boo-boo.

All things being considered, a geezer’s life is not too shabby.

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