Friday, May 27, 2016

Thoughts on my 65th

A house is like a graveyard... filled with markers of vital spirits of inspiration all lying dormant, fading memorabilia. Books once read, video once watched, chinaware once filled with nutritious delicacies waiting now for the next generation to break and merge again with the earth.

My great grand uncle lived in a little house, adjoining the community burial ground, in his small Pennsylvania town. He was the one to cut the grass among the tombs and remove dead flowers left by those who came to remember.

But what I remember most vividly... is that hand-whittled slingshot he kept hidden on his back porch, overlooking the greenery and lawn. With a mischievous grin he'd stretch back the rubber, posing an aim, and gleefully describe how he protected his turf from critters and vermin... Any and all, who dare disturb his peace.

He taught me my first old man lesson. He was the little boy still alive in that wrinkled old carcass. In our end game, we old men need our sling-shot...
Some simple grumpy old-man way to say 'Hey! I'm still alive... there still some elastic left in these old bones.' Don't underestimate the bite under these dentures.

Old men survive as long as they can deliver their sting. It is the spice we are made of.   'Love us or leave us to die'... said with a slightly-sly naughty-boy's grimace and grin. We old men have our opinion... And, god-help-ya, we might just let you have it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Post Midlife Crisis; Facing the tidal wave of old age

Midlife Crisis is our cultural antidote to the tedium of overwhelming responsibility. Beyond the euphoria of youthful exuberance, new career, new neighbors, new kids, new car, new homes, et al, resides our indebted servitude, educational extortion, and a job that is 'real' work in the 'real' world. A flat plain pattern of sex, constipated coworkers, and cultural cliche up the kazoo, life ain't easy being lived, after the ecstasy of youthful folly.

Midlife calls us into a fresh quest for newness. An authentic hunt for health or an illicit affair, a new hair color or embarrassingly predictable patterns of consumption. Our senses take precedence over making sense. We go nuts feeling we deserve more from life. We need to say 'Hey!' while the sun still shines. So we go overboard a bit, till the tide brings us in.

But what happens next? When mathematically, middle means 'living to 120'. What is the point when you are done swimming in your fountains of inspiration? Where be the muse now to feed amusement? How to get off, when being on makes your body ache, when muscle tone descends into a wrinkled map of past excesses, where root canal and the death of companions become the core of conversation?

Bitch be the drawn curtain, revealing our decline into old age. When our memories appear as a quaint archeology to the youth in our life. At 50 you can smell it coming, by 60 it starts to stink, until at 65 life is a sewage of body stench from every pore of our fledgling insecurity. We hit the wall of our naive mythology, of how we might bloom into wisen maturity with sound insight. We are actually, as stupid as always, yet with far less skill to wing it.

All we have managed to do was confirm Buddha's warning, the inevitability of old age, sickness, and death. The memory of our youthful mimicry, of shaking bent absent-minded old-fogey, when being old was once the brunt of fun filled mirth, now all seems an ironic sad joke. We live the tears, and feel the wet salty fluid dribble down our chins, sorrow blended with delicious self pity. We are starting to see the end now, and it terrifies the fuck out of us.

We miss being young and stupid, instead of just old and senile. We miss the adrenaline rush that secreted passion, through tone muscles and a sparkling mind. The weird association of cosmic conclusion based on wild assumptions, raw platitudes of passion, as much chemical as clear light insight into exuberant animalism. We were spring and, now, late fall, with the chill of winter.

And baby it's cold outside.