Almost 30 years ago my grandfather passed away at 82 years old. At the time, I was a college student around 20 years old. After his passing, I took ownership of 3 items that belonged to him: a windbreaker jacket that he had just purchased only a couple of months before, a religious item that I still cherish to this day and a type-written list which I found morbidly depressing. For some reason, I had held onto this list – possibly because he kept it in his wallet.
Unfortunately, I misplaced this paper which was a list on why it sucked getting old. It mostly talked about aches and pains and I found some sort of solace by holding onto the list and that he was no longer suffering from anything on the list.
Now I’m in my late 40’s fearing – not the aches and pains aspect of aging. It’s too soon for that. Nor am I worrying about the chronic hospital & doctor visits that seem to occur with the elderly.
No. I’m more superficial than that – especially since I’m not yet eligible for AARP, though I will be before Obama’s first term is up.
Here is my list of things I fear about when it comes to aging – in no particular order:
Andy Rooney eye brows:
This seems to be a frightening condition that afflicts the old. Somewhere along the line, old men stop trimming their eyebrows, have super-fast growing eyebrows or have scissor-resistant eyebrows. In any case, old people have repulsively thick and long eyebrows which can be used to re-grow lost hair on their heads or used to trim lawns.
I really don’t need to clarify this, do I? I am definitely not referring to obese men who have breasts along with their huge stomachs. No, I’m referring to relatively thin men who have put on a couple of pounds – in the pectoral muscle area. I used to think the Seinfeld gag of the Manzier or the Bro was hilarious but unrealistic. Now I find it terrifying.
Lack of color coordination
I recall laughing at the style of clothes my grandparents wore. Lime green or lemon yellow pants, orange shirt with some pattern on it, knee high socks with a white belt and matching white shoes.
Then men my dad’s age started dressing in the same style.
How did this happen? Unless I can move in with one of my kids who will buy my clothing for me as well as dress me each day, I seem destined to become a fashion horror story. Worse yet is the realization that I won’t even be aware that this has happened.
I am petrified of the day I wander into a Rack Room Shoes and stop at the white Dr Shoal’s thinking if they have it in a size 12.
Belt line to my man boobs
As a kid, we used to laugh that Fred Mertz had a belt line above his stomach and that Ricky Ricardo’s wasn’t much below that. As an adult, I found out that Desi Arnaz was in his 30’s during the run of I Love Lucy which was quite comforting since this indicated that the freakishly high belt-line was a fashion trend of the times. As a result, I wasn’t really bothered when I saw the elderly with their belts so high.
Of course, that ended when the next generation’s beltline began rising.
Initially, as we gain weight, it seems like the belt line sinks since we don’t want to admit that we need a larger belt size. It works in conjunction with the deep breath we take when we close the pants 2 sizes too small.
Then somewhere along the line we opt for the above the gut belt. I wonder how much of it is because we repeatedly tell the kids to raise their pants above their crotch.
Whatever the cause, I think I’ll have to accept that with each passing year – as a senior citizen – our belt line increases annually. I just pray I can keep my belt below my elbows.
This one scares me the most. One day your neck looks fine, the next day there is a huge flap of skin dangling. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with weight gain or loss. I see it on so many men and there is no way to hide it. With every other affliction, there is something you can kind of do to cover it up but with turkey neck, all I can do is gobble. I think surgery is the only hope and I’ve never heard of a turkey-necktomy.
I assume they can cut the flab, but then there is the scar running down the center of my neck. I knew someone who had a face lift and because the way they pulled his face, he had to shave behind his ears.
Ear hair / nose hair
I’m not talking about hair on the rims of the ears. That is very common and people under 80 usually remove that. I’m taking about the thick dark hair that grows from within the ears. Why does the hair grow so dark when the hair on the hair, chest and back are gray or white? If left untreated it becomes a train wreck. I CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF THE EAR HAIR!
Worse yet, the ears and nose continue to grow as we age. Either that or our faces shrink.
I still have many years until I will encounter many of the above conditions. My dad has reached a couple and he has me by a few decades – so I definitely still have time. But that doesn’t prevent me from dwelling on the inevitable.