Suggested Audio Candy:
 Bobby Darin “Beyond The Sea”
 Dean Martin “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”
It recently occurred to me that I’m not growing any younger. It was, without doubt, the most sobering thought I can recall having since somebody informed me that Justin Bieber was returning to the studio in 2015 to shit out a new album. We’re talking clenched sphincter accompanied by a vague shudder and mild nausea in turn. It wasn’t what I would call breaking news and, instead, was a burden I had carried around for a number of years already, but it hit home in style and left me feeling somewhat vulnerable. I was born on September 21st, 1974 at around the time the jaybirds had begun to congregate for their morning hymn. By my estimations, I make that just over forty years ago. Suddenly the clouds rolled in as I pondered all of the things I have to look forward to from this point forward. Sure, it would be great to ride for free on public transport and ginger nut biscuits ain’t so bad. But it wasn’t all empty bed pans and unsoiled bed linen.
I considered my options further and the results thrown back were far less than encouraging. My eyebrows, which have become remarkably erratic of late, will never again be so streamlined and purty. In addition, my nostrils shall have to accommodate a fresh intake of stragglers, pure white and more robust than the whiskers of a walrus. It’s down, down, down for the testicles and they will no longer resemble two perfectly oval pulsating xenomorph oviums; instead adopting the appearance of a pair of perished misshapen walnuts. Acid reflux will continue to plague me daily, although that does mean I can enjoy every meal twice at least. For the most part, it’s bad news all the way. More aches, more pains, less erections, increased elasticity, the usual laundry list of reasons to dread middle-age and beyond. If my bladder doesn’t spring a leak then invariably my shot kneecaps will decide they no longer wish to shoulder my weight and I’ll finally be forced to break my overnight hospital stay duck which I’m fiercely proud of.
The words of Danny Glover will reverberate through my mind with startling frequency. “I’m too old for this shit” will remind me that I have every right to grow bitter and hateful towards younger generations and a dash of dementia will put paid to any attempts not to share this intelligence with anybody I meet on the street. “When I was a lad, there were no iPhones or Kindles. All we had was a hoop and a stick, maybe a pocketful of rusted jacks if we were fortunate” will become my gripe with the world and the saddest fact is that fewer people will take what I say as gospel. I’ll just be that old guy, vaguely smelling of urine, clad in a muddy cardigan and fraying carpet slippers, with the rancid breath of a Pterodactyl with an iron deficiency. You can see why the smelling salts were particularly potent.
Growing old has never been something I have looked forward to with outstretched arms but I guess I thought it might skip a generation and leave me to my own devices. My diet is appalling and my list of vices more comprehensive than Schindler’s List, thus my arrival at this junction is with immense trepidation. The body apparently regenerates up until forty and any damage inflicted unto oneself after that beacon has been passed is carried around like airport luggage until we finally take our ultimate chairlift to heaven (either that or our knees buckle and send us straight down South.) It just so happens that I still habitually punish my shell on a daily basis and I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t noticed a couple of ominous cries from my weary bones as they prepare to leave Las Vegas. I’m receiving the Intel loud and clear and it may well be time now to look at halting the slide before I become cursed with ill-health. The problem is, I’m only ever stubborn with myself, and seeing the woods for the trees is far more troublesome when the only person capable of hitting this point home is too busy gleefully living up the existence of a twenty year-old.
Good devil…bad devil. One on each shoulder; that’s how it works right? Well, the fellow to the left is one helluva smooth operator and knows all of my weaknesses whereas his opposite number once said boo to a goose and lost a digit for his efforts in a one-way exhibition that beak beats cheek. If only I was aware of how to take my own medicine then maybe I’d be out there right now basking in the rays while riding to town aboard my Penny Farthing. Instead, I can barely run up the stairs without a coronary ensuing. Five years ago I inquired as to the age of my lungs when attempting to kick one of my many habits and was taken aback to learn that they were sixty-seven years old and not getting any more spritely. Either I would learn the mystery of how Benjamin Button grew young so gracefully or stop filling my lungs with noxious carbon monoxide. Of course, this isn’t a decision one should enter into light-footed so, half a decade on, with said lungs now likely pushing eighty-five, I’m still keeping my options open.
Maybe I can be the one to buck the trend. I pride myself on my powers of perception and know of the pitfalls associated so maybe I can sidestep pratfall. Should monobrow come a knocking then I will simply bleach it with peroxide and excess nasal hair just means a little longer pruning each morning. As for any excess skin around the ear lobes or elbows, that need not concern me, at least not effective immediately. I’ve still got time on my side although my aged lungs may have something to splutter about that. When I turned forty, I considered myself blessed and I still uphold that six months later. There’s something to be said for still feeling like a teenager, while possessing the knowledge that only life experience can provide. My body may be starting to betray me but my mind is in the prime of its life and that’s the last thing to go right? Actually, technically it isn’t. It may send the final correspondence outside of the excavation on one’s bowel but it is significantly less effective without the encouragement of a pulse.
I want to live, really I do. Because of my ongoing battle with depression, I do attempt to reassure myself that death is the way forward at least once in every calendar day but, by scribing like clockwork, I keep the wolves from the door so to speak. Ultimately it all boils down to locating your equilibrium, finding your own balance, and mastering your own destiny. Whether we’re feeling chipper or strapping ourselves into the big dipper is not always our choice to make and it can be more troublesome taking the rough than it is the smooth. I accept my body won’t endure its punishment forever, eventually I shall succumb and, when I do, there won’t be a damn thing I can do about it. However, there are plenty of things in life that I can have a bearing on, as long as I keep on trucking. I know that you will all still love me when my eyebrows engage with one another, a little sagging skin and yellow eyeballs won’t make my words any less concise. Okay, so I may become the old great-uncle that everyone attempts to avoid like the plague at social gatherings but them’s the brakes. At least my prose will remain youthful. You rowdy rabble make me feel younger every day, I’m sure you’ll all grow up to be wonderful young men and women. For now, I shall see you behind the bicycle shed. I’ll be the one with the droopy udders.