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Sunday, September 21, 2014


I have reached a very disturbing conclusion recently. I am at that awkward age.

A series of events over the past few weeks have served to underscore this hypothesis Like all earth-shaking theorems, this began innocently enough.

After all, it was being conked on the noggin by an apple that led Newton to that whole “Law of Gravity” thing.

Einstein was fiddling around with his bowl of Alpha-Bits one morning, dawdling the time away. He glanced at his spoon to see “Emcmc”; and we all know where that led.

Descartes', pre-bathing pronouncement “I stink, therefore I am.” (although wildly misquoted from the original ever since), was the impetus for the 17th Century Scientific Revolution.

So, it began for me. An innocent Summer evening picnic with our local Senior Citizens group. I prefer the appellation “The Elderly Flatulence Club”, however, my Lovely Bride takes a bit of umbrage to that.

But, I digress

We joined a nice sized group of…well….old people at our local pool/picnic pavilion. Like most of the men, I followed along bearing our burden of food for the communal table.  Along one side of the pavilion were several guitar cases. “Well, well,” thought I, “this may be alright after all. “

We enjoyed our repast and the accompanying gay repartee, and the instruments came out. Do you realize that with nearly 8 or so pickers and players; there was not one ZZ Top, Lynryd Skynrd, or Creedance Clearwater Revival number played?

I gazed about as those surrounding me were all rocking to Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and similar genres. Wistfully, I looked across the grassy area observing some young men playing basketball.

I longed to run, dribble (a ball, that is), and shoot some hoops. Alas, the realization of the flesh being indeed beyond such activities descended as softly as a ton of bricks.

I knew how The Man Without A Country felt. I was no longer able to be with the young men; running, jumping; and high-fiving, Nor was I ready to swap my sandals for support hose and ortho shoes.

It was shortly after that LB and I went somewhere. I can’t recall where, at the moment. I suppose I should take more ginkgo biloba; bur for the life of me, I can’t remember why I take the stuff.  The point is, the smiling young man taking my money automatically gave me the “Senior’s Discount”! I was mortified!

Then, on my birthday, I had another confirming incident. See, the State of Ohio has a very warm, thoughtful way of recognizing one’s special day; your vehicle registration tags expire.  Not at the end of the birth month. Not a week later. No, for a special gift to yourself, you get to fork over money to the State.

While dutifully observing this annual ritual, the perky little  girl (I think she was 11) behind the counter announced:” Oh! I see you are (CENSORED). Have you checked to see if you qualify for Medicare?” Then, she smiled at me! I simply replied I had not, and I will have to look into that. All the while, I wanted to ask if she checked to see if she could swim with a cement block tied to her waist.

One day, after Worship Team practice, one of the more observant members of our team pointed out;”Hey! You’re the oldest one on the team?” I thanked him for his astute powers of detection.

I have noticed young people who used to call me “Jim” when I directed them in plays, now refer to me as “Mr. Hopkins”, or the kinder, gentler “Mr. Jim”.  Well, hush my mouth and pour me a sassafras.

All the preceding provided further evidence in support of my original assertion. Then, much like Einstein inserting an “=”, ditching one of the “mc”s, and using a “2”, the final conclusive event took place.

My Annual Physical.

It began with the nurse. I picked up some subtle conversational changes. Things like, “most people your age don’t have as good blood pressure.” And, “Doctor will want to talk with you about some age specific tests this time.”, and so it went. Eventually, the Doctor came in. She listened, poked, and looked here, felt there; all the while interjecting things like “No arthritis pain? That is great. Most people your age…”. Followed by “I don’t see any alarming spots on your skin, a lot of people your age…”. Finally, she asked if I had ever taken a specific, humiliating test. No; not that humiliating test, the other humiliating test.

Vainly, I tried to change the subject. Doggedly she came back to the subject. We volleyed back and forth like a verbal tennis match. Finally, she returned my deft back-hand with a blistering smash right on the side-line. “Look, you can either take this little kit home with you, or you can drink yucky stuff to prepare for some guy to take a look with his telescope and flashlight.”

Game. Set. Match.

So it was that I found myself doing the Walk Of Shame toward Bess, my Jeep, clutching a plain brown paper bag which screamed;”HEY!! Guess what I have?!?!”

The other day, I received a call from the doctor’s office. The lady apologized for the delay in getting back to me. I was told this was actually good news; they call patients who have problems first. There was a glimmer of hope.

For the most part, my numbers are very good. Oh, sure, I am a bit under-height for my weight, but I am not going to lose sleep over it. And, she claims my cholesterol is a bit high; but the vascular guy isn’t concerned over it. Before hanging up, the pleasant sounding lady told me “You are in very good shape for a man your age.” 

All of which sealed my hypothesis; 
I am at that awkward age.