In less than 6 weeks I will turn 39 years old. I am older than my wife, my siblings, and the majority of my friends. They all remind me of this as often as they can.
It's certainly not easy getting old. My body hurts more than it used to. Last November I played flag-football with some friends on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Urged on by large doses of bravado and even larger does of homebrew I flung myself into the friendly game. In the end, I needed dental work and two full weeks to recover. I find that I need to workout nearly everyday to keep the stiffness and soreness out of my joints. If I miss a day or two, the next time I hit the trail or the weights I feel like the Tin Man desperately in need of some oil. I don't think my mind has deteriorated any. I still have an extremely short memory so it can't get much worse.
Yet through all of these events of weakening joints, loss of hair, and the ever growing "spare tire" I've never felt old...until last week. Last week one single event made me feel like I had one foot in the grave, the other in the nursing home.
On Tuesday of that week the boys were especially rowdy in the morning. I let them go for a while until I couldn't take it anymore. I thundered out the laundry list of things they were to be doing, "Are your chores done? Did you clean your room? Did you brush your teeth? Why haven't you started your homework", and on and on. The answers to those questions were obviously, no. I continued on, "why do I have to run off this list every morning?" So far, so good, but I took it a step too far with this, "I feel like a broken record." It was at that point that the earth stopped turning, time stood still, and all the world looked sadly upon this old man. The birds froze in the sky, toy cars stopped in mid-course, and even the water coming out of the tap for the dishes stopped bubbling. And then, it came, like a bolt of lightning out of the sky, voiced from my wonderful 8 year-old son, "....Dad, what's a record?"
The bird dropped from the sky, the car crashed into the wall, and the earth resumed it's normal speed. The world didn't wait for my answer. I was no longer relevant. I realized then and there that I was officially - old. No answer in the world would have sufficed. The world didn't care. I just shook my old head, took a shot of Geritol, and proceeded to do the dishes.