Get Off My Lawn
There is a transformation some people go through, as the decades of life slowly leave their jagged imprints on your soul. By some people, I mean males or more specifically (pacifically on the west coast) older males. These are those slightly older men you currently socialize with but describe as a bit cranky when they leave.
In the 19th century book, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, Robert Louis Stevenson talked about these dramatic mood changes. For those not familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson’s examination of good and evil, the author was trying to suggest that there is a little good and evil in each of us. The key lesson of his novel, was never take a self made secret potion to expose your dark side, because that elixir will usually make your hair look very messy. Now I am not talking about that “getting out of bed” messy hair here. I am speaking of hair so disheveled, that even your industrial strength hair straightener can’t fix it.
If we are to accept that we have equal parts good and bad in our system, I suggest the transformation takes a lot longer than minutes to occur, as Mr. Stevenson’s book advocates.
This slow transformation is noticeable as you see your cool male friends become grumpy old friends. Cool to grumpy is not that great of a leap to take. Thankfully, it is very easy to detect.
It first becomes noticeable during the summer time, when the neighbour’s little boy’s soccer ball accidently lands on your front lawn glistening with that fresh mowed grass look. This is when your newly adopted cantankerous nature is revealed. You used to sarcastically say “ Nice shot kid” but now you just yell, “Get off My Lawn!” (A younger, pimpled faced version of you would have yelled “Get off of my Cloud!). In the 1970’s, you were hip, because you said “Sit on It” during those months, when a character from a long forgotten sitcom named Fonzie, echoed your coolness. The birth of your children slowly extracted any remnants of your cool status, as you somehow went from fashionable to embarrassing. The trip from embarrassing to grumpy is a very short journey.
The label, “Grumpy Old Man”, is a three-part riddle. Each word has unique, important descriptors. It would take thousand of words to address the entire phrase and I do not have that kind of time today, so I will focus on the middle word “Old” here, as the kettle is boiling so I must hurry.
I won’t address “Grumpy”, as that is more of a personal opinion often expressed by other grumpy people. I will not define “Man” here either, as that will only get me in hot water, with feminists, Transgender, Transylvanians, Anti-Darwinists and possibly Men without Hats. I will take a shot at helping those middle aged males who aren’t recognizing their own aging process.
As always, not only do I not clearly not define the problem here, I offer no practical solutions… I should have been a politician (or a customer service rep at Bell). I will attempt to offer signals, clues or more accurately visible evidence to help my brothers see that they are getting old in the wrong way. Everybody is getting old, but grumpy is a choice.
Visible Signs of Male Aging:
You almost refuse to eat a second helping of deep-fried anything.
You long for the days when people argued about the cost of stamps.
You over use of Grecian formula has distorted your memory of your natural hair colour.
You know the natural colour of your hair, you just don’t have any on your head.
You not only forget your passwords, but also forget where you put that piece of paper that reminds you of those passwords you keep forgetting.
Watching Netflix with your spouse is now a romantic evening.
The beer you just ordered is the exact price of the first 24 case you bought with fake ID.
There are fourteen pair of reading glasses strategically place throughout your house.
Having coffee in the morning can sometimes be the highlight of your day.
Sleeping in now means getting up at 5:00 a. m.
Your track pants have never actually been on a track.
Your children’s bedrooms are now storage rooms.
You spend half your day correcting people’s grammar on social media outlets.
The last time you received a hand written Thank You note in the mail, Nixon was president.
You find yourself having very long conversations about wine.
The last time you wore a suit was for a funeral.
Cashiers insist that you get a senior discount when you purchase tooth picks, which you use publicly after every meal.
You no longer know the name of the neighbor two doors down from your house.
You use to be funny, now you are just cute.
You argue that Napoleon Solo is not a description of a lonely French dictator.
You dream about sitting on your front porch in a rocking chair with a blanket or two.
Finding your car keys is now your new morning work out.
You see your pharmacist more often than you see your children.
You accidently use the prefix “tele” before you say the word “phone”.
57.2% of your sentences start with “Well that’s interesting, now let me tell you about the time when I …”
You can always seem to work in your high score on Space Invaders, when discussing video games with your grandchildren.
You have danced to the song YMCA more than 50 times and requested this at the last wedding you attended.
Lottery tickets are an integral part of your retirement plan.
Now I appreciate that this list has strong gender bias. You might wrongly ask, “What about aging and the female population?” Well if you asked that question you have learned nothing about growing old gracefully with the kinder, gentler sex. I will end with one more important lesson about aging, or more importantly surviving, as your female spouse’s birthdays hits obscene numbers that rhyme with the word nifty. It is a quote from poet Robert Frost, who lived in a world without a GPS, which must explain why he took the road less travelled.
A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.
Cue the Blong: Getting old is not for the faint of heart!