Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.
The chiropractor instructed me to lie on my back, and pull my knees up as close to my chest as possible.
“You have wonderful flexibility,” he commented.
“I do?” I questioned, knowing he was nuts. “Why do you say that?”
“You’re can bring your knees right up to your chest.”
“That isn’t difficult for me,” I laughed.” My chest has been touching my knees for several years now; even when I stand.”
Then I visited my lawyer to revise my Will.
“I haven’t seen you in awhile,” he said. “You still going with that guy….what’s his name…….Bob?”
“No. We broke up,” I answered.
He cocked his head. “Oh? That’s good to know. You’re very marketable, you know.”
What a strange way to express a compliment, I thought.
Then he added, “You do still drive at night, don’t you? I know a number of men I’m certain would be interested in you, but none of them drive after dark.”
My future passed before me; walking through malls, holding hands. Candle lit lunches in the Food Court. Racing to our respective cars before sunset.
My next rude awakening came when I sat in the Social Security office knowing I didn’t belong there because only old people collect social security. But my failing memory was a dead give away that I, indeed, did belong there.
“What year were you married?” asked my interrogator.
“I think……. maybe…… 1958?
“When were you divorced?” she probed.
“Physically, or emotionally?”
She rolled her eyes. “The year.”
“I don’t really remember. Some time in the early ‘80’s.
She was losing patience. “What’s your ex-husband’s date of birth?”
I stared at her blankly. “February 11, 1934, 35 or 36……….I think.”
She searched her computer for answers I didn’t have.
“Okay,” she said. “I found his birth date.”
“Really? What’s the year?”
“I’m not permitted to disclose that information,” she glowered.
She printed out the bits and pieces I’d given her along with the data she’d culled from her secret files and instructed me to read and sign it.
“Uh-oh,” I observed. “It says my ex was born in 1935. Will you get in trouble for revealing that to me?”
How about prescription drugs? My medicine cabinet is a junkie’s fantasy. On my last visit to the drug store I received a personal handshake from my pharmacist thanking me for single handedly paying his weekly salary.
Not long ago I had floor to ceiling mirrors installed on the wall next to my bed, to make the room look larger. Talk about dumb. Each morning as I roll out of bed the first thing I see is me. Let me assure you, that no matter how well rested I am, my linen creased face, electronically charged hair, and unsupported body could easily qualify me as Martha Stewart’s most challenging antique refinishing project.
When I was married my husband looked at me one morning, with deep furrowed brows.
“Who are you?” he asked. “You’re not the woman I went to bed with last night.”
“Make fun of me if you like,” I said, as I headed towards my makeup kit. “In fifteen minutes I will be beautiful. But you, on the other hand, will be stuck looking as you do now, for the remainder of the day.”
Today it takes bifocals and a high powered magnifying mirror to do what I use to zip through in fifteen minutes. Then I step out into the daylight and discover that my failing eyes have caused me to look like a cross between a hooker and a clown.
Growing older is not what I thought it would be. I knew it might involve glasses, white hair, false teeth and wrinkles, but I wasn’t prepared to lose an inch and a half in height and have my skirts and slacks drag on the floor.
I know I’m being sullen, and I imagine this feeling will eventually pass. But it won’t happen soon. My first Social Security check just arrived and it’s too damn small for me to be social or feel secure.
Other posts by this author: