by Roger White
I understand about growing old, and I don’t mind it, really. No, really, there are a few perks that tag along with decrepitude. Like being able to take a nap any time of the day without having to explain yourself. Or the well-practiced art of feigning random episodes of deafness when the wife has her chore list out. Oh, another biggie is the ability to dodge helping the neighbors with any heavy lifting. That’s a personal favorite.
“Oh, look, hon,” says the wife one glorious Saturday afternoon. “That new couple across the street bought a new hutch. Go over and see what you can do. They need help getting that big ol’ thing out of their truck.”
The glorious day turns dark. “Yes, dear.”
I toddle over.
“Hey, there, young fellah,” I rasp, sounding in the terminal throes of emphysema. “Need a hand?”
“Well. If you think you can, sure!”
“Okay, now,” I wheeze. “I’ll hop up in the truck bed and push her your way.” I go to climb up in the truck and freeze, back bent double. “Uh, oh.”
“You all right?” the wary young couple inquires simultaneously.
“Darn it. Ol’ war wound.”
“War wound? Vietnam?”
“Yep. Battle of Inchon.”
“That was Korea.”
“Oh, yeah. Korea.”
“Well, look, mister. You go on home and rest your back. We can get this. But thank you, anyway!”
I toddle away as the gloriousness of Saturday brightly returns.
Alas, some very real maladies have visited themselves upon me with the piling up of the years, and these are the things that make me ponder my mortality. My weekly stab at playing tennis, for example, has been indefinitely curtailed because of some vague pain in my lower neck that feels like I have an angry lobster attached to my spine. I went to the doc about it; he felt around for a while, wrote me a scrip for steroids, and sent me on my way. Well, I have a big mat of chest hair now and I’m prone to wild fits of road rage, but I’ve yet to feel any relief from the spine lobster. Doc thinks I’ve torn my trapezoid or something. Sounds like a circus injury, I know.
Another aging ailment (AA for short) that has come to squat upon my person is flab. Funny word, isn’t it? Flab. Flab is something I never suffered from as a kid, as a teen, or as a young man. If anything, I could have used a little extra body acreage. I was always skinny as a pipe cleaner—and about as shy. Yes, that is correct. Pipe cleaners are notoriously shy. Anyway, as the seasons have passed and I’m now in the autumn of my years, I’ve noticed my leaves turning brown and…wait, wrong metaphor. I’ve noticed a bit of girth round my midships. The wife insists my beer intake and stubborn sedentarianism are the culprit, but I cling to advancing age as the true cause. By the way, that’s a new religion I’m starting—Sedentarianism—but that’s for another column.
The upshot of this is: I’ve a bit of a muffin top, you see. Well don’t stare.
The thing of it is, it’s not just our outer bods that fall victim to flab. Noticing that I’ve been having trouble staying asleep for any considerable stretch lately, I’ve set myself up for one of those sleep studies. Wifey seems to think I have a flabby uvula. Sounds naughty, I know, but no, we all have uvulas, fellahs. It’s that dangly thing in the back of your throat. Mine is apparently sagging into my breathing passage and clogging me up at night. Yes, even my innards have grown old and tired. My uvula has a beer belly.
Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.