This is one of those essays I occasionally write that get no hits. Usually I don’t even publish them to the blog. It’s a Sunday night and I’m tired. I write this trying to capture how I feel, which is old, but how does one put that into words? When I was young and met old people trying to recapture their youth I thought they were pathetic. I knew they wanted young bodies and youthful vitality, but I didn’t know how it felt to have an old body or what it meant to be old. I heartlessly felt no empathy for them, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
My two days of freedom from work are about over, and I feel depressed that I have only three hours to accomplished something but I’m too tired to do anything other than to write this. I saw two tragic romantic movies this weekend, Anna Karenina and The Royal Affair – so I think I’ve overdosed on watching beautiful people leading passionate young lives, which makes me feel even older and more worn out than I actually am.
But you know what the weird thing is? My mind is just as ambitious as ever. The pain in my back and legs grows as I stand or walk, and I’m only good for about ten minutes of activity, but I daydream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. My dick has reached those hilarious ED years but it still has an ambitious role in my idle thoughts, sort of like daydreaming what you’d do if you won the $500 million dollar lottery. In other words, why should I think critically of people looking for the fountain of youth at the end of a plastic surgeon’s scalpel. Nor should I think “dinosaur rock” when I see that The Rolling Stones and The Who touring again.
Like George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young,” because you REALLY don’t know what the hell he meant until you get old.
That’s the vexing thing about life, we all keep trying to be young way beyond our youth. None of us want to just give up and die. I’m reminded of a Vaughn Bode underground comic I read back in the 1970s, about a little cartoon creature that had been captured by an enemy who cut off his arms and legs, poked out his eyes, and left him in a dungeon. In the final panel the little disfigured cartoon creature whispered to his fellow prisoner, “I’m going to escape when they go to sleep.” In other words, we don’t give up no matter how pathetic and wrinkled we get. Just pass the Viagra, Botox and amphetamines – we’re all Joe Gideon from All That Jazz until our hearts blow a gasket.
Now, is that pathetic or heroic?
You know what though? I’m pretty sure I’ve written this all before, maybe even using the same words, quotes and similes, but my old fucking mind thinks its new. Ha-ha. Maybe we lose our memories so won’t just give up in frustration!
I still can’t capture in words what it means to feel old but think young, other than to say, “Tomorrow I’m going to buy an electric guitar and become another 1965 Bob Dylan,” or maybe I’ll join NASA and convince them geezers belong on Mars. Or maybe I’ll just write a book about a 61-year-old ex-astronaut who buys an electric guitar to become a rock star.
I never did like that crazy witch Scarlett O’Hara, but she did have it right, “Tomorrow is another day.”
[Wow, I still have 90 minutes of weekend freedom to do something still.]
JWH – 12/9/12