“Old rockin’ chair’s got me/ Cane by my side/ Fetch me that gin, son/ ‘Fore I tan your hide.”*
Old age my friends. If I wore pants, the bottoms would be rolled.
Old age–your hearing goes, your lift off goes, getting up and down the stairs becomes enough of a burden that you take advantage of “the box” that’s suddenly appeared again in the bathroom after many years even though you made a promise to yourself that once you had freedom, you’d never deposit on faux soil again.
Another King of Cool
With my dotage staring me in the face, I finally asked the most important question: do I model myself after Frank Sinatra and go there with dignity, transforming myself from roguish boulevardier to Lion in Winter, or do I go down, fist shaking like Steve McQueen?
Given that I’m the King of Cool, anti-hero who’s always done my own stunts, last Caturday morning, I decided to declare war on age.
I went over the fence.
Then old age declared war on me—I couldn’t get back.
It took my Can Opener, the Chief of Staff at the compound, several other itinerant Can Openers, a twenty-five foot ladder, and some serious agility on the part of my Can Opener to get me back home. Once there, I ate breakfast, then composed a note of thanks to Pete Guinosso for the excellent yoga instruction my Can Opener has received this past year. As an aside, any practice that has you posing like a dog is not for me (Note to Buddha: grouping cat with cow don’t cut it, then again, no cat would ever face down…). Someone in the family needs to stretch, though, and it makes sense that it be the one at my beck and call. Believe me, if I’d declared war and gone over the fence a year ago, the Can Opener would have been getting to know our neighbors instead of doing the splits and hoisting herself up a six foot wall of wood.
So there you have it: Old age 1, Howard 0.
The casualties of the day were the Can Openers PJs and my pride… for a split second.
Then I put on The September of My Years and sang it loud enough for me and everyone within a ten block radius to hear.
I am the Lion in Winter now. Take that old age. There will be no fooling this Cool Cat twice.
* Thanks to American music legend Hoagy Carmichael
PS: I hope I don’t need to tell you where the title comes from….If I do, learn your literature my friends.