I heard a phrase the other day while at the doctor’s office. A phrase that couldn’t have
sounded worse, than if a heavy metal rock band had been given power tools. The phrase was, and I am not making this up: “Well, at your age . . .”
When I heard these four words, in my mind, I was reaching out and choking the life out of the Little Dougie Howser! The only sounds that I heard after those four words were the nails being pounded in my coffin.
It was a logical progression – one that I should have seen coming. First, it was a little bit of a beer belly, then my knees gave out, then my hair fell out, then I got an even larger beer belly, followed by wrinkles, gray hair, gray beard, gray chest hair and now I have progressed to: “At your age. . .”
At age 30 was the first time I thought about being nervous about my age. When I was in high school and college, we had a saying: “Never trust anyone over 30!” You are satisfied with a 4 door sedan, maybe have a couple of kids and you actually seek out life insurance salesmen. But at age 30 you still consider yourself somewhat bulletproof and if you don’t, you look at someone who is 50 and thank God you don’t look like that.
At 40, you have the first feelings of desperation! The music that teens listen to sounds like nothing more than noise and the fashions that they dress in start to look ridiculous. You’re on your second, more advanced beer belly and your hair is turning gray. But it hasn’t quite hit you yet – you don’t feel that bad – you fool yourself into thinking that you’re still quite young.
When you get to be 50, life is cruel. The hair I once had on my head has migrated to my ears; the noise I make just getting out of bed in the morning scares my dogs and my hands feel like they have been in a bone crusher each morning.
You don’t get any compliments when you get over 50. There isn’t anything to compliment. People actually avoid commenting on your looks. What are they supposed to say: “Aucch – look at your face.”
But when you reach, “At your age,” you start getting compliments again. Compliments like: “You look good,” which is double talk for “Are you still alive?”
I am going to the eye doctor soon. I can’t read a book without holding it with my feet in order to read it, and I may be too old for contact lenses to improve my looks, and I am sure I will need stronger glasses – but he better not say: “Well, at your age.”