Nope, this isn’t about Cormac McCarthy’s novel. This is more along the lines of the aging process. I have listed some of the aggravations concerning this topic in the past. Namely stuff like the lessening of hand-eye coordination, lack of stamina, having to take numerous pills, and the inability to keep up with young boys on the basketball court to name a few. This issue reared its ugly head again recently battering me in a most merciless manner.
The week started off in an innocuous way. I got my monthly AARP bulletin reminding me that the years are piling up pretty quickly but I’m kind of used to that by now. I’ve been getting those letters for ten years and I can shake it off pretty easily.
Unfortunately things went downhill from that point and I never saw it coming.
It started when my youngest daughter called. She had two extra tickets to see the red hot Atlanta Hawks play a game and that we would be sitting on the third row front and center. I immediately called my fishing and golfing buddy Steve Cisson to go and he eagerly accepted. I like taking him with me whenever I can so I won’t be the oldest person in the group. We decided to take the MARTA train to Phillips Arena and arrived at the station about the time it was getting dark. I hastily grabbed my coat from the back seat and we headed to get on the train.
That’s when things started to go badly for me.
I took my zip-up, pullover jacket and in my rush to get going accidentally put it on backwards. We then lit out for a public appearance on national TV on the third row of Phillips Arena sitting right behind Evander Holyfield and I’m dressed fit to kill.
It should be noted here that the highly observant Coach Cisson never noticed my wardrobe malfunction. I should have known something was amiss when two college students sitting behind me inquired if I had been to Alaska (the jacket was one I’d bought on a trip there and had an Alaskan logo). I completely whiffed on that cue. I was sitting facing away from them and the Alaskan logo was on the front of my jacket. There was no way they could have seen it had I had the jacket on as it was designed to be.
I continued blissfully and ignorantly on my way to the big game in my ill-fitting attire. We got off the train and met my daughter outside the arena. The first thing she said was, “Daddy, you’ve got your coat on backwards.” Sherlock Cisson finally got in on the act and had a good laugh but admitted that he hadn’t noticed it on our way to the ball game.
That should have been the end of my senior moment but it wasn’t and here’s how that sequence of events transpired.
First off I should tell you that I take my binoculars to every sporting event I attend. I like to look in the huddle and get a close-up of the players and coaches. That seems strange to some but I’ve always done it. Following the game (Hawks win again) my daughter wanted a picture of all of us and we had a nice lady to take one for us inside Phillips Arena. That was cool by me but it led to another set of unfortunate circumstances. The next day my wife said something about Instagram. I thought she wanted me to add coffee to the grocery list but it was actually a reference to our picture being on the Internet. My daughter had posted it and several hundred people had looked at it. One particular smart-#$% had made a comment about why I needed binoculars when we were sitting on the third row of the arena. If I had known how I’d have posted a comment that would have made a sailor blush to let Mr. Smarty Pants know I can actually see quite well.
In retrospect I’m just glad that my jacket wasn’t still on backwards in the photo. It would probably have got a million hits and wound up on You Tube. I’d have then been invited to be the foil of a cruel joke on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.
All in all it had been a tough day but I was moving on until I went to the mailbox the following afternoon. In the post I found two letters from separate cremation services wanting me to buy a pre-paid cremation so as to get that little detail out of the way. They must have seen my picture on Instagram and assumed I was on the downhill run of life. One of the companies was called Blowing in the Wind Cremation Services and the other was known as Too Hot to Trot Cremations Inc. At present I have no burning desire to deal with either of those firms even though their ad said that if you act now they would send your choice of a set of false teeth, a custom-made cane, or a decorative deluxe ash can. I’d rather have a coat that fits either way you put it on but my dentist told me I’m gonna need the false teeth pretty soon.
And the years just keep plugging along.
Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.