Managing The Number

I remember when I was first accused of “feebleness”.  It was every week when my golfing friends would say, “OK, we’ve got Ed now, his legs are just about gone”. 

It would always be on the second nine holes, when they felt the need to joyfully verbalize their observation. As for me, I had no idea that I was running out of gas until they would faithfully remind me every week.  At first, I thought it was just our usual friendly competitive harassment, but eventually, I came to realize that it was TRUE!, my legs were going fast! Me-O-MY, what am I going to do??  I remembered some words from a song 🎵 “They say that I am feeble with age, Maggie, . . my steps aren’t as spritely as then.”🎵   I needed to correct this fast, so do I need to see a doctor?  

Well, the solution to this health problem turned out to be simple and quick — I began to rent an electric golf cart for the second nine holes.  Leg problem?, what leg problem?

Then there was the time when I first noticed that people were starting to call me “sir”.  This was not a bunch of young people addressing me as sir because of good manners. No Sir!, these were people of all ages calling me Sir!!  Now, I understand military “sir”, and southern manners “sir”, but WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME HERE?  

Then one day, about ten years ago, I finally got it; I was 70, and was fishing on a dock, and talking some fishing to a guy that I had just met. When we were finished talking, he whirled around, and said, “Well, I’ll see you around, old timer”.   Huh??  As he walked away, I looked back over my shoulders, and sure enough, I was the only guy there — he was actually talking to me!, . . calling ME an old-timer!  I felt like saying, “Hey, dude, You talkin’ to me?”  

When I was about 40, my optometrist said, “Yep, you’ve got 40 year-old eyes alright”.  We’ll, yeah,. . but, I really would have been ok with just, “Everything looks great, Ed”.  When I received my heart stent, the blood and oxygen began to flow normally again, but my mind was already healthy, filled with good memories, and my mostly always present rock n‘ roll mental vitality. 

So yeah, being called an “old timer” for the first time in my life was rather shocking; I can’t believe this is actually happening to me!  And it’s happening just when I oftentimes enjoy self-identifying as a teenager!  These people need to get a clue; they should know that when I get up in the morning, a little after my first Aleve tablet kicks in, I can still break into a painless arthritic happy-dance!

Maybe it was my walk; did I suddenly adopt the “old man walk”?, duck waddling from side-to-side?  Nope, I checked it, my gait was straight, albeit slightly stooped at times.  I don’t know exactly what is happening, but all my doctors stubbornly insist on measuring my height at 5’ 7”, when my driver’s license has always plainly shown the truth to be 5’ 8”.  They all must be talking to one another to get their stories straight.

Now, in these times, everyone is saying that “Age is just a number”, well of course that’s true, it is just a number, but the whole truth is that sometimes the “number” can turn out to be a not-so-good one, so I’m just trying to manage the number the best I can, and as we age, that’s about all we can do.  

My wife, Joanne, always managed her number well, and when she was struggling with late stage Parkinson’s, I used to sing her the words of a song, in my out-of-tune voice;

🎵 To me you’re as fair, as you were Maggie, . . when you, and I, were young. 🎵 

(Another guest blog from my brother Ed.)

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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