Raging Against Old Age
By Bill Franklin
Raging against old age is stupid but I can’t help it. Old age won’t leave me alone so why should I let it alone. Not only do I feel like a corpse (and am mad about it) I have mirror issues. When I look in the mirror I’m not there. Some old guy is standing in for me, some white haired guy I don’t recognize. This can’t be me. But if it is, what have I done to myself?
What did I do to my inner child? Some impostor has dressed him up in old man clothes. I have disappeared. I am nowhere to be found. I’m like that TV show “Topper.” Except Topper is alive and these young, handsome ghosts are bugging him. You can’t find me in a mirror but there are still plenty of young people around.
Lousy young people are bopping about having the time of their lives. And they get to look like they think they do. And They can walk fast. And They can laugh out loud and They do it just about all the time. And They seem to be in a perpetual state of giddy. If I didn’t know any better I would assume the natural state of man is giddy. So let me define life according to how I see it. There are young people who are giddy, and then there are old people who think mirrors aren’t doing their job.
This is not a fine state of affairs. Don’t young people know that giddy is just rubbing it in. And walking fast is rubbing it in. And any bouts of joy, that’s rubbing it in too. I find myself secretly glad that we are leaving them this huge deficit. So what if we screw with the earth a little and toss some oil in gulfs. Let young giddy people giddy up and fix it. I’m busy having issues with my mirror.
And I don’t think my generation is getting enough credit for the sexual revolution. We upped and flaunted it all and came up with sexual liberation. We got our hands on The Pill and we have had the wind at our backs (sometimes literally) ever since. But do you think young people care we blazed a trail so they can act like rabbits? Do young people come up to me and say, Hey we got it on last night big time, Thanks. No, not once. Not once has some beautiful couple who spent the night mating come up to anybody from my generation and tipped their hat.
When I was a kid they taught us about Ponce de Leon. We laughed at him for thinking Florida water could help. Nothing helps. Priests and ministers die at the same age as their sinful flocks. Nothing, not purity, not ignorance of the law, nothing works. Defining being sixty-one as middle age doesn’t help–61 plus 61 is 122. I’m doomed. It doesn’t help to know that the universe is going to get old someday too. The outlook for our Sun is bleak. It’s going to fizzle out. Darkness at the break of noon, a shadow evens a silver spoon… it’s bleak.
So I joined a gym. I have money taken out of my account every month so I can spin on a bike going nowhere. Which is how I slow down time. I can’t stop time but 20 minutes on the bike to nowhere feels like a small lifetime.