By Jack Neely
Much has been written about the aging process, some humorous, some deadly serious. (Sometimes I wish the elderly were not so often the butt of certain jokes.)
We see the endless list of artifacts of aging all around us: Once used walkers, canes, slings, braces and elastic wraps used after various surgeries and injuries. Bathtubs with Dutch doors, nearly empty Ibuprofen bottles, grab-bars, elevated toilet seats, chairs that levitate you to a standing position.
Non-slip slippers, the weekly pill box, scam alerts, a nose-hair trimmer, first-aid lanyards, “Senior” menus and discounts as well as Costco’s “Senior” days. Address books with more cross-outs than the living, a calendar with more doctor appointments and grandchildren’s events than dinner dates, clothes in the attic that will never fit, along with the Grundig tape to tape player that will not play, as well as boxes of Super 8 reels and their projector and boomboxes that suffer from the same malady.
Then there are the hundreds of cassette tapes, CDs, LPs and nearly 500 Prairie Home Companion edited radio shows. Add to that the close to 50 photo albums—and there is not nearly enough time left to enjoy them—again!
You are even reminded again in the garage, where you tacked the 1951 licence plate from your Robin’s egg blue Ford convertible with its “necker’s-knob,” Hollywood mufflers, fender-skirts, racoon tail on the antenna, a pair of dice dangling from the rearview mirror and the ever-popular “curb feelers.”
You go to the “club” for more reminders via the mirror: graying, receding hairlines, balding domes, an occasional ill-fitting wig, liver-spots and backsides that drop another few degrees with time.
Then there are the old stories from the ’50s and ’60s you’ve heard before and will hear again!
But it is in the privacy of your own home that you secretly ask yourself, “Damn, has it come to this already?!”
It did this morning. Being that it is increasingly difficult to bend over and pull with arthritic hands. . . . I widened the entry of my Smart Wool socks—with a pair of scissors!
Could someone clipping my toenails be far behind, on the third floor of the Over-the-Hill Assisted Living facility in Ord, Neb. or the Final Destination for the Exceedingly Thin facility in Two Dot, Mont.? Probably not.
Every vertical day is a treasure. Make the most of them!
Jack Neely, 86, is a St. Anthony Park resident and occasional freelance writing sage for the Bugle.