On Being 82

     If you drop a coin on the floor, it may take you a while to pick it up. “A while” being defined as anywhere between five and 55 seconds. The alternative when you see a coin on the floor or on the sidewalk is to keep walking. The hell with it.

     You take many pills, and the drug companies—staffed by sports of many colors—like to see if you are still on your toes, so every six months they change not only the shape of the pill but the color of the bottle it comes in. Would it be petty to hope that the drug company executives who decide such things are big consumers of suppositories? 

     Sometime in the last five years, without you noticing road crews repainting the lines, the lanes on major highways have been narrowed. Considerably. All passing cars on either side of a highway are much closer to you than they were five years ago.

     Every morning you check the newspaper to see whose birthday it is. More than half of the people under 40 you have never heard of. Some mornings you get very angry when you discover some old buzzard, male or female, is younger than you are or at least claims to be. No way.

     The last time you tasted a good tomato was in high school. (Don’t be a smart ass and ask, what was her name.)

     There are more and more ads on TV that don’t make clear (at least to you) what product is being sold. And even if you figure out what the product is, you don’t know what you’re supposed to do with it. 

     You use your cellphone primarily to make phone calls. You are one of the few people in your neighborhood who has retained the ability to walk without a phone in your hand.

     The Major League Baseball rosters are filled with the grandsons of players you used to follow.

     You see an attractive young lady with one or both arms completely covered with tattoos, and about all you can come up with is thinking. or even saying out loud, “This didn’t happen when Margaret Chase Smith was in the Senate.”

     You can’t remember when you didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. While it’s annoying to break up your sleep this way, you’re glad there is still communication between your plumbing and your brain otherwise you might have to toss your bedding into the washing machine every day. 

     If you’ve had the same companion for many years, chances are one of your major areas of dispute concerns room temperature. When I walk into the front room and Irene is there in a short-sleeve blouse with the AC on, I head to a closet to get a heavy sweater. If I don’t, I will become Mr. Sniffles. 

     When it’s recycling pickup day, your house is one of the few on your block that has a pile of newspapers out front. (On my way to a Yankee game a couple of months ago, I saw a young man on the subway reading a newspaper. I was tempted to go up and hug him.)

     You wish you had the willpower to cut down on desserts, especially ice cream. It’s just a wish. Nothing serious.