A couple of days ago, there was this old guy in a hat on TV.
He was one of the people randomly asked to comment on New Zealand’s incredible summer.
I recognized his hat.
And the voice sounded familiar.
But for the life of me, I could not accept that the old guy was me.
Because of the camera angle and extreme close-up, I got to see wrinkles on the side of my face that I did not know I had.
I noticed that gravity and age had eliminated what the missus used to call my “kissable lips” — they now cover my teeth.
And the angle of my neck hinted of the back pain I was in.
A total disconnect — what I am vs what I remember being.
‘Back’ to the Future
I remember poo-pooing my kung-fu instructor in university days. He said that my back would be a real problem when I got old because, having been born without a left hand, the right side of my body had over-developed.
My right arm had developed Hulkish strength.
But now? Even the Hulk has gone soft. And bent.
The highlight of my birthday yesterday, aside from the Queso from my Arkansas niece who is Back in the Will, was going to the physiotherapist.
A few days ago I lugged Junior’s heavy keyboard from the basement to his room for storage.
As a result, I am all Quasimodo.
Thank the Lord for Voltaren. And physiotherapists. And Queso.
But about that disconnect.
Even though I have seen these equations before…
— lifting anything heavier than cheese dip = beeg pain and suffering
— eating anything spicier than a cracker (including cheese dip) = beeg pain and suffering
… I cannot accept that, in my mind’s eye I am still a strapping young buck from Oklahoma, but in the real world, I look like my grandpa George, have a back and stomach like my Dad, and totally unkissable lips.
I wonder if the disconnect will ever disappear; if the reality of now will ever synch.
I suspect that it will. In fact, it probably has already started.
When I was walking the doglets a few weeks ago, I saw two guys struggling to unload some heavy logs off a truck. When I walked by, I was, amazingly, smart enough to say “20 years ago I’d have leaped in to help you chaps, but those days are long gone.”
Last night, the missus loaded the hatchback with stuff to take to her sister’s. Because I was in beeg pain, still in Quasimodo Mode, I also let her unload the stuff.
This is not how I was raised, and my male ego did NOT like it one little bit.
But it’s the reality of being 57 years old.
I cannot see myself fighting back old age, like a friend who bought a $3,000 carbon fiber bicycle and lots of Spandex. That’s probably a good thing.
He fell off his uber fast bicycle and broke his wrist. Previously, he had snapped his achilles while running on the beach in an attempt to hold back the tides of aging.
No, I suspect I will limp on to the grave, as bits and pieces slowly crook or just fall off, like a rusty muffler.
I will continue to resent a friend of mine who still looks like George Clooney and that, if Mom had been quicker, and maybe had handcuffs, my Dad could have been James Garner, in which case I would be way taller, with kissable lips and a much straighter back.