Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

August 22, 2012

Graves: What's golden about them? Part 2

Greensburg — As explained in the previous column, we spend the first couple decades of life acting our age, and on occasion trying to appear more mature when the situation warrants it.

Personally speaking, at the age of 12, anyone past the age of 21 looked like part of the Over The Hill gang, but I couldn't wait to get there and enjoy all the benefits of "adulthood."

When the magic day of my 21st birthday finally arrived I sauntered into one of the local pubs to order a legal alcoholic beverage. The only problem was, I had no idea just what to order. I bellied up to the bar between a couple of knuckle dragging beer drinkers, wiped the sweat off my brow and ordered a glass of sherry. Both Bubba's turned, looked at me and slowly leaned away and shook their heads. I thought about saying, "Either one of you dudes happen to know where I can git a good used pick-em-up truck and a double barreled shotgun?" I didn't, so I gagged down the stuff that tasted like Geritol and left, swearing to take up a better tasting, sinful hobby.

The next nine years flew by while getting married to a great person, having two perfect kids (Ha!) and trying to convince my employers that their companies would crumble into dust without my presence. Meanwhile, I, like everyone else, kept up with the latest in fashion trends and hair styles that originated in California. Bell bottomed trousers, Nehru shirts, and long hair were the order of the day. Every morning, I'd stand in front of the mirror, comb my long, curly locks and hiss, "You handsome devil, you."

That is, until one day at a service station when the attendant approached from the rear of the car and said, "May I help you, ma'am?" That night Judy lopped a few inches off my mane.

One day I looked ahead and saw the deadline looming. The end. The last hoorah. The final chapter in a young and vital life. I would turn 30 in a few months. To me, thirty marked the demise of a perpetual teenage lifestyle. No more midnight drag races or Michael Landon werewolf movies. Even my two remaining zits were beginning to fade. When the fateful day arrived, I stood in front of a mirror raking through my hair looking for the inevitable gray strands that I knew were there and made plans to visit the drug store the next day for my first application of Just For Men. Although none were found, I knew the little assassins were waiting to sneak out when I wasn't watching.

Were those bags forming under my eyes? Rigorous application of a wash cloth took care of that problem but no amount of scrubbing could remove the small dark line that was forming above my upper lip. My futile attempts to date to grow a mustache were finally showing results. But why had that not been apparent at first? Could it be that my eyesight was beginning to fade?

I planned to make an appointment with an optometrist the next week. Facing reality, my youth was beginning to sink into the sunset. It was time to take drastic steps. I bought a motorcycle.

The scoot (I quickly learned the proper jargon) gave me a sense of youthful freedom with wind blown hair and bug splattered teeth, but the younger bikers, even though I was a part of the brotherhood, were keeping me at a polite distance. Reluctantly, I settled in with riders my own age or older and started hanging out at rallies and joining in cross country rides. That is, until the scoot and I came to a differing of opinion one day and I wore dressings and Band-Aids for a few weeks as a result. Maybe it was time to let Mother Nature take her natural course since I wasn't going to last much longer, anyway. I concentrated on my career and other mundane things for the next few years, all the while waiting for the hammer to fall.

Somehow, I had made it to 40 and the gray hairs were still hiding in the foliage. Small lines began appearing on my face and I spent a little time each morning pressing my fingers against my temples, staring in the mirror and pulling the skin back to see what "reconstructive surgery" would do. I looked like I had a nylon stocking over my head and when I released my hold my face snapped back to a 40-year-old.

Thinking that stapling the folds of skin wouldn't help I gave up and bought a sports car. A bright red one. Now suave and debonair and a member of the jet set, I felt 20 years younger. Until one day a couple of chicks pulled up beside me at a stop light. One looked over and said, "Man, that's a cool car." Her buddy said, "Yeah, but look at the old man driving it."

Years have passed and I've kept the car and the motorcycle, just for the fun of it. The creams and lotions that claim to take years off your appearance haven't worked. I'm used to hearing my doctor say such things as, "You're scintillator bone has slipped out of alignment with you onfonosanadim."

The gray hairs have finally decided to come out of hiding, no longer afraid of an attack by Just For Men. Apparently you can't make a thoroughbred out of a mule by simply putting a saddle on it, but I'm not through yet.

Forget shuffleboard, checkers, and bingo. There is a growing demand among seniors for things as they used to be, such as manual typewriters and radios that were a piece of furniture. I'll open an antique store with a sign that says "Over 65 Only Allowed Inside. I.D. Required. Management Reserves The Right To Refuse Service To Anyone Who Uses Just For Men or Wrinkle Removing Creams or Lotions."

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