It was around this time last year that I wrote a column about getting old. I reluctantly listed the almost daily signs that proved the aging process was well underway.
So it occurred to me Saturday (having procrastinated for so long that it was beginning to look like I would not have a column this week) that the "Fifty shades of aging" piece that I wrote last summer, could become an annual column, with yearly updates and new developments that are connected to the joyful journey to golden agers club membership.
Well here are a few more signs that time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me.
I can't keep the dollar stores straight
"Where did you get that cool, pump-action squirt gun?" someone, it probably was The Boy, asked me the other day.
"I got it at that place, on that street we always go to, you know?" I said.
Actually, I couldn't remember if the gun was purchased from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Bill Bradley, Omar Bradley, Bradley Cooper or the old G.C. Murphy's store in North Tonawanda. I know where the dollar stores are located, just don't ask me to remember their names.
Further note: I can't for the life of me remember why I bought a fancy squirt gun.
Reading small print is impossible
For many years, big brother Naysim has removed his glasses to read tiny print. Now I have begun to do the same thing. My glasses and contact lenses are no longer sufficient for making out the small, but crucial, print information on product ingredients, recipes, scratch-off tickets, traffic tickets, the Hornell police blotter, and letters from divorce attorneys. I take my glasses off to read, and that feels so good, that I lean back in my recliner, thinking I'll just relax for five minutes, and I fall asleep for three hours. Is excessive napping a symptom of old age?
I have less patience than I used too
As I get older, I seem to be getting grouchier (all newspaper editors, no matter their age, are somewhat grouchy), and everyone knows that grouchy people don't like to be kept waiting. Nothing seems to happen fast enough. Doesn't the world realize that at my age, I only have a limited amount of time remaining for good "stuff" to happen, and that time is running short, and eventually, before long, there will be no more time and no more stuff.
Things that test my patience include:
- Long waits at the bottle redemption center. (Not the one in Wellsville, the one in Hornell)
- Waiting for a web page to load.
- Eighth inning pitching changes.
- The last 5 minutes of most NBA playoff games.
- Trying to fall asleep, but tossing and turning for hours instead. (I have tried counting sheep, but that gives me a craving for kibehh nayyeh, a traditional Lebanese dish of raw lamb mixed with bulger wheat and spices.)
Finally, I am frightened more easily
- I'm afraid that The Boy won't chew his food throughly. I don't remember worrying about choking when I was younger.
- I'm nervous when the kids go on long motor vehicle trips.
- I'm worried that a phony like Ted Cruz is going to finally disprove the old adage that "You can't fool all of the people, all of the time."
And two more:
I'm terrified that I will run out of things to write about in my Sunday column (some critics would contend that happened a long time ago), or print journalism will finally be declared officially extinct, and our mornings together on page A4 of The Sunday Spectator will come to an end.
At this point, I'm much too old for a career change.
Neal Simon is the city editor of The Evening Tribune.