The realization came as a jolt of reality.
I have four classic rock stations preset on my car radio. That way I can switch stations to skip commercials and songs that I dislike. With these stations at my fingertips I generally can be listening to a song I like at any given time.
Driving to work at Sauder Historic Village the other morning, however, that plan wasn’t working out. I kept switching rapid-fire among stations, but only once did I find a song worth listening to. As I pulled into the parking lot it hit me – all the songs except that particular one were more recent hits than I typically care for.
That was on four, count them four, separate classic rock stations. If all four stations consider this new music to be classic, I realized, I must be getting old.
What am I going to have to do, forget the radio and instead install an 8-track player in my car? Come to think of it I could just drive my truck to work instead. It’s already equipped with an 8-track.
Ironically, I got a text message that same day from Lynn Thompson, asking if he could interview Diane and I for a story in the upcoming Bryan Times Senior Tab. Lynn said something about a consensus that Diane and I are the most interesting old people they know. I’ll take the interesting part – I like interesting people, and I consider being called interesting a compliment. But did he have to throw in old?
Last week I bought some items at a local store on their senior discount day. When I pointed out to the young clerk that I was a senior, she said “I know – I already rang up your $5.32 discount.” I thought wow, is it really that obvious?
Actually ouch is the operative term when you’re north of 60. For a long time I used to chuckle when older people would predict it was going to rain, because they could feel it in their joints. I used to think it was all in their heads.
Now I realize it was wasn’t all in their heads. It was in their knees, hands, backs and various and sundry other body parts. Well, and maybe part of it was in their heads if their sinuses were acting up. Regardless, the body does become a functional barometer.
I suppose it’s time to concede that geezerhood isn’t just getting closer in my rear view mirror, instead it’s now right here beside me and staring me down.
Perhaps the best ever “old” dig I’ve received came from a girl maybe ten years old who was part of a school field trip to Sauder Village. I was working in the print shop, and was explaining how a Linotype typesetting machine operates. These machines were a mainstay of the newspaper and printing world from the late 1800s into the late 1960s and early 1970s, and they take their name from their function of setting hot led type a line at a time.
This girl was seated at the Linotype keyboard, and I explained to her that I actually had typed a bit on a Linotype in my after-school job as a high school student. The girl’s eyebrows raised, and she looked at me intently. She gazed back at the machine for a moment, then stared back at me in wonderment and exclaimed, “And you’re still alive?”
The students’ chaperone looked a bit embarrassed. I simply smiled, chuckled a bit and told the girl “Yeah. I’m still hanging in there. I have to admit it was pretty funny, but even so it did sting just a bit.
As an older friend used to say when I asked how he was doing, at least I’m on the right side of the grass.
I guess that’s really the whole point of it, be glad I’m still on this earth and doing pretty well. And for the record, as I write this I don’t believe it’s going to rain anytime soon.
Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.