When did I get Old?
By Garland Davis
When I entered the Navy in 1961, I was seventeen years old. I had finally reached an age where I could make decisions regarding my future. I had made the decision to go to the Navy in the third grade. I thought I had reached an age where the world was open to me.
The next age milestone was twenty-one. Then I could legally buy beer and vote. I had no concern about growing older and never had a conception that I would ever be an old person. There was a country song by Faron Young, “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young and Leave a Beautiful Memory.” This was the mantra that my young shipmates and I lived by.
The years slipped by. There was almost thirty years active duty, retirement from the Navy, settling into a civilian career and then came the Parkinson’s. Suddenly another retirement was necessary. I always thought I would work until the day I received my orders to that “Silver Cruiser” that I have written about.
I never envisaged being old. But here I am. I am seventy-three years old and seventy-four is rapidly gaining on my ass. I always thought that when I got older and retired, that I would live an ideal life. You know, read as much as I want, eat right, sleep late and enjoy life.
One thing about old age, it just creeps up on you. You don’t get a chance to practice. There is no “A” School. It is all On the Job Training.
Some of the pros and cons of being old.
When you reach a certain age, people are nosy but there are two things that they are too polite to ask. I’ll just take care of that right now. I am seventy-three years old and I weigh one hundred eighty-five pounds.
People my age are not very likeable let alone loveable. I am the old men we tormented as children. The kids in my neighborhood were playing ball in the street, sometimes hitting the cars with the football. I mustered them in my garage and showed them the video from my surveillance system and told them if they damaged one of my cars, I would show the video to their parents and police. They don’t play near my house any longer.
Although there are signs that aging is happening. The slow loss of hair on your scalp accelerates with a commensurate acceleration of ear and nose hair growth. If the hair on my head grew as rapidly and as thick as the hair in and on my ears, I could get a Marine haircut on Monday and be sporting a Mullet for the party Saturday night.
I sometimes turn my left turn signal on and leave it all day. I will probably turn left at some time or another. To mix it up I often turn the right one on.
You are on first name basis with doctors, specialists, nurses, laboratory technicians, and physical therapy practitioners.
Benign skin growths sometimes large enough to be named begin to appear in the strangest places. Some growths are cancerous. I just had one chopped off my nose.
You are constipated when at home or near a toilet but are in drastic danger of shitting all over yourself while caught in traffic. You don’t really need to piss until you have been asleep for an hour.
You have driven up to a blue Post Office collection box and attempted to order a Big Mac extra value meal.
Some of you know that in my younger days, I was a runner. I usually ran about three miles a day. I was forced to give it up after the Parkinson’s affected my ability to walk and run. I decided to try jogging the other day. I had to stop because my ungainly gait causes the beer to slosh out of my glass.