I hate to have to tell you this, but anyone who tells you that age is just a number is full of shit. Besides, the only person who’d ever say such a thing is either too young to know what he or she is talking about, or too old to be telling the truth.
Not that all of us old farts are necessarily liars. To be fair, there are plenty of people who know how to age gracefully, and I’d take my hat off to them if I were wearing one. Since I’m not, I’ll simply remove my toupee. I hope the lobotomy scar is not too conspicuous.
By that line in the first paragraph, “too old to be telling the truth,” I meant that if a person over the age of forty-five says, “Age is just a number,” it’s liable to be a disingenuous sentiment said in order to get some younger person to go to bed with him or her. Just close your eyes and imagine Hugh Hefner, Bill Clinton, Warren Beatty, or some other “aging Lothario” (thanks, Spy Magazine) saying such a thing to some hapless, quivering high school senior girl. Doesn’t ring too true, does it?
I may already have been an old soul myself to begin with before the hair on the sides of my head started turning white and I had to start wearing a name tag to remember what I’m called. And don’t get me wrong–I still yearn for dwindling youth and would willingly make a deal with the devil to keep it going instead of gradually falling apart over the years until I’m a useless hunk of junk hooked up to a bunch of feeding tubes in a hospital cot–but I think one of the few evident benefits of aging might be some semblance of available maturity, the one thing that could save some of us from making absolute fools of ourselves by investing in face-lifts, fiery red sports cars, and adolescent slang-saturated vocabularies.
It’s a hard time to grow old, as the world seems to be getting harder. With its increasing mood swings and hysterical fits that leave carnage, flotsam, and jetsam in their wake, the earth itself is waxing senile, although it still possesses the vigor of furious youth.
Not that I can envy those who are younger than I am too much, considering what a wasteland we’re bequeathing to them. At this muddled vantage point in my own largely squandered life of missed boats and opportunities, a life rife with extravagant mistakes, blundering impulses, and erroneous judgments, I can only pause from the maelstrom within to survey the damage without, wondering how much longer my kooky species and I can go on procrastinating and messing up, delaying the inevitable need to lessen our appetites, slash through the tentacles of distraction, and do what needs to be done in order to save the world and ourselves:
Namely, to love one another without the greed of expectation, to give with all our overworked hearts instead of fretting about what we believe we deserve to receive, to make war, fear, and hatred a thing of the past, and to repair our relationship with our fair befouled home, the one and only Planet Earth.
Since we’re all going to die anyway, we’ve got nothing to lose by trying. (Of course, the hard part is getting everybody to agree on a strategy before Shiva the Destroyer comes surfing towards us on a colossal tsunami the size of the Brobdingnagian World Trade Center.)
May the best man lose (otherwise the groom’s liable to end up an old maid–gotta love those new gay marriage jokes).