A Youthful Home
“I don’t care how old I get as long as I don’t act like an old fart,” said a relative of mine. He said it many times, in fact.
I always knew what he meant, but I finished reading a book recently that reminded me of his statement and it hit home in a very big way. Numbers are, after all, numbers, and not really representative of the more ethereal and esoteric bits of our natures. Numbers are finite (well, except for Pi, I suppose, but let’s not go there) and representative of either value, time, or count. They do not speak of the type of value, the value of time, or the time that counts.
Does that make sense?
Let me put it to you in other words. I recently, after the passing of author Terry Pratchett decided that, while I was aware of his work and enjoyed it I should read the author whose works are infinitely quote-able. So I picked a random novel and finished it last night.
Yeah, I know, it sounds a bit ridiculous to choose, as your foray into the world of Terry Pratchett, a story about the Grim Reaper. The thing is, though, he is so funny, so clever, and just so ridiculously perfect in his writing it’s actually the best start. It’s also very poignant.
In it, toward the end, one character remarks that she always thought of herself as a certain age. “Do you ever think people are born a certain age” is what sticks in my head. (This may not be a direct quote, don’t kill me!) “I always thought of myself as more or less eighteen or so,” said the character. “Some are born middle-aged . . . ”
I related to this. I take my kids to the Jelly-Belly factory. We wear crazy costumes in photo booths. I look at my son and we do bad impressions of James Brown dancing in the aisles of the grocery store when I Feel Good comes on the speakers. People stare and we smile.
I think about going on the road, leaving it all behind when the kids all graduate. I play music, I want to go into the studio, I write, I talk.
Hell . . . I talk like Bullwinkle the Moose to the kids still and quote Monty Python and even re-watch This is Spinal Tap for the millionth time because . . . I’m like that character in the book. Part of me feels more like that 18-year-old than the 18-year-old ever did.
I never feel my age until I look in the mirror.
I may have some snow on the roof, that’s true. I may have aches in the back and my right leg goes numb from the slipped disc I have. I have to run and exercise and bike and that damn bulge in my stomach, no matter what I do, won’t go away.
Yet . . . when Ten Cent Pistol comes on the stereo by The Black Keys I’m singing as loud as the kids.
Which brings me full-circle to that first quote.
Wednesday I turn 45. I’m not ashamed to say that. It has, I know, made some women my own age look to someone who looks younger and may have that “athletic and trim” view.
But my kids . . . they are never afraid of being silly or acting crazy or having fun.
I may see time ticking by, my years weighing a little heavier on my shoulders, but I’m not worried.
I’m certainly getting older, that’s for sure.
But I can guarantee you . . . I’ll never be an old fart.