Friday, May 17, 2019

Ridden hard and put away wet

The unmistakeable collateral of old age is more often than not somewhat depressing. I'm not saying we should look 18 years of age forever; but the reality is frequently a far cry from that pleasantry. Recently I rekindled acquaintance with two old friends.  In keeping with the oft-repeated adage, we picked up where we left off.  At least, that is, with the exception of our minds and bodies.  In that respect things have changed rather astonishingly. And not in a good way.

The transformation in my friends is oddly more perceptible than in myself - unless of course they have the indignity to share with me the same candidness. It is laughable that I am so blind to my own deterioration. I routinely dismiss the most obvious inadequacies - especially those which attend my early morning recovery from the lair. Not a pretty sight to be sure!  As I once heard a dear friend bitterly remark, better to avoid reflective surfaces!

What preserves our toleration of the inevitable declension is sharing our experiences and laughing at ourselves, not exactly a youthful ambition but one which succeeds to elevate the most egregious descent. There is besides something intrinsically relieving about ignoring reality. We hardly require any demonstrable evidence as proof of the condition. I haven't yet taken to adopting a career of mendacity to alter the facts, but the occcasional bit of salt never hurts.

Though I would prefer to report an awakening maturity with the trudging lapse of time, the hard truth is that I have instead become increasingly restive and critical. To state otherwise is an outright deceit! I have melded into everything distasteful about old fogeys generally. Lately I have confessed what is probably nothing short of text-book racism, misogyny, elitism, snobbery, a dislike of people who drive BMWs and a contempt for young people - whatever that is called.  Naturally I am being deliberately sarcastic but there is nonetheless more than an element of narrowness in my evolution.  I have become so arrogant about my righteousness that I have successfully dismissed the prejudice of others against the likes of me. Haughtiness is the redeeming strength of old age. None of that old-lady sweetness and light for me! At the same time I willingly accept the incontrovertible shallowness of my own being. Archie Bunker was merely an exaggeration for effect, the equivalent of a rhetorical device or literary licence!  But ultimately we're not far removed from the smug sense of propriety which appears to be the only thing that grows with any vigour within us after seventy.

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