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Carnett: Age is all it's cracked up to be

November 26, 2012|By Jim Carnett

I'm a codger and I know it.

As my sainted father used to advise, when it comes to age-related stuff, you can't fool Mother Nature. And Mama Naturale has me pegged.

I'm absolutely primeval by the standards I employed when I reached the age of majority in 1966. I considered anyone older than 40 "Methuselated" (a term for ancient persons coined by Daisy Mae –- referring to the biblical Methuselah — in "Li'l Abner").

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Today, at 67, I'm glacial flour.

I've already outlived Caligula by 38 years, Errol Flynn by 17, William Shakespeare by 15, and Gen. George S. Patton by seven. Those guys achieved huge notoriety in fewer years than I've been alive, and I couldn't catch them now if I strapped a jetpack to my bum.

I'm now older than my own grandfather was when I was 21 — and, at that time, I considered him a redwood. How could I possibly have become this antediluvian?

Five years ago my 6-year-old granddaughter asked me how old I was.

"Sixty-two," I said.

"Wow, Grandpa," she gasped, "and you're not dead yet?"

I'm old and should be smart — if not smart, at least wise — but therein lies the rub. It turns out I'm neither.

I went to my 50th high school reunion recently and saw friends I hadn't seen in decades. I quickly noted that those people look old too. What's up with us? How could we have not seen this coming?

I was under the delusion that the 1960s were all about permanently fixing the "growing old" thing. What happened? Does anyone remember? And that rot about never trusting anyone older than 30. I haven't been relevant for the combined lifetimes of three German shepherds and a shih tzu.

Recently, I was taking my evening constitutional in our neighborhood. As I walked by the side of the road near the curb, a couple of 11-year-olds approached me from behind on bicycles. One came so close that he nearly brushed me.

"Hey," he yelled at his buddy on the other bike. "You almost ran me into that old man!"

I was ticked.

"Why ya little twerp!" I wheezed as he rode by. "I've got grand kids older than you!"

Crafty rejoinder Jim, but in hindsight it seems you actually made his point.

There was a poster at my high school reunion that contained the photos of 30 or 40 of our classmates who've died since we first enrolled as high school freshmen in 1958.

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