Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

September 12, 2013

Ah, the benefits of geezerism

By Dan Graves
Daily News

---- — It had to finally happen.

One fateful morning you fall out of bed, stumble to the bathroom, turn on the light and recoil in horror at the sight that greets you in the mirror. Staring back through bloodshot eyes is an apparition of something so ancient that it had a pet dinosaur and dirt was edible (This is for the men only. You ladies will always be beautiful). A stubble of scruffy growth covers the lower face under a tangle of graying hair.

You slide your bifocals onto your nose to help in finding your dentures and the scene gets worse.

Now the bags under your eyes and sagging cheek jowls stand out like white wall tires on a school bus.

To make matters worse, the mirror covers half the wall, revealing what effects gravity has on the human body from the waist up.

In an attempt to salvage at least part of this disaster, you will probably try to make a muscle by flexing a bicep, only to have what little muscle is left fall below the arm like a wrinkled limp grocery bag. In spite of this dismal scene, all is not lost.

Perk up!

You have just become a member of an elite club, a social order that demands respect and admiration, one that says “I have arrived!” You are now officially a GEEZER!

Along with the title comes a number of freedoms and kudos not normally accepted in other levels of society. You’ve fought through the battles of the teenage years, struggled to get a good education, endured the boredom of a dull profession while helping to raise a family, tried to stay more or less out of debt, finally kicked your 35-year-old kid out of the house, and after a long, grueling struggle against the rest of the world, retired.

But now, the mirror on the wall shows that the war has taken its toll and it’s time to take drastic action. You’re finally free to do those things you could only dream about, to step up to the plate and start swinging.

It’s time to get into your bucket list. Here are a few suggestions:

Use a hammer on that mirror and replace it with one about the size of those the ladies carry in their purse. You should be able to see only your nose in the morning to avoid sinking back into depression. You no longer care what you look like. You are now free of being fashionably correct.

Buy a motorcycle. Not one of those dinky little scooters that sound like a big mosquito, but a real hairy chested, fire breathing, road scorching MANLY bike.

Of course, to go along with the bike is a list of accessories that are necessary to complete the image.

First is a sleeveless Levi vest emblazoned with an evil looking Death’s Head on the back under which is embroidered “Hecks Angels” (no need to press your luck by wearing profanity). Next is a tattoo. Two of the most popular are, “Squeeze Me, You’ll Love It” and “Like Me Or I’ll Lump You,” one on either arm. Stop getting haircuts and grow a pony tail. Drop your safety razor in the trash can and grow plenty of facial hair, the style that, when you’re on the bike, splits down the middle in the wind and blows back on either side of your face. You will then fit the image of the complete biker. Stay out of jail.

Next, join the early morning geezer coffee group.

Six days a week, set the alarm for 5 a.m. and show up at the local fast food joint at 6 for a couple of hours of lying and consuming lots of artery clogging food.

Drink enough coffee to keep you in the bathroom for the rest of the day and be sure to make quarterly appointments with your cardiologist.

Depending on how long since retirement, boredom could set in on occasion. To fill those idle days, select a hobby that is both fulfilling and relaxing.

For instance, learning to fly a paraplane (a parachute with an engine and you attached) would release you from the cares of living on the surface of this planet.

Visualize yourself puttering around at an altitude of 500 feet on a calm summer evening, leaving all your worries on the ground, mingling with the hawks and buzzards as they drift calmly on the wind.

Of course, there would be a little risk factor involved, especially if your spouse has any objections like mine, who carries a small shotgun and threatens to shoot me down if I decide to try it.

Remember that trees and power lines pose an even greater risk than a spouse armed with a shotgun.

There are endless other opportunities such as portrait painting in oils, travel, returning to school to learn a foreign language (Try deep south or upper east coast dialects to be understood when ordering grits or conversing with New York cabbies), skydiving, and the all time favorite, classes on how to work the remote on your TV.

While your choices are limited only by your imagination, most retirees finally relent and apply for part time jobs as door greeters at the local Mega Mart or hamburger jockeys at the aforementioned fast food joint.

So what if you were an astrophysicist for 40 years? You have now moved ahead into the revered realm of the GEEZER.

Take pride in whatever you do, and don’t forget the tattoos.