"old dirty bastard" Waters
1 , 2004
I could jog and slim down and work out and get my body in better shape. I could also win an Academy Award, get a Nobel Prize for being an asshole, or film a documentary about midget go-cart races...
There are a lot of misconceptions about getting older. I thought that
the world would make sense in one blinding flash of light some time in my 20s.
I'm still waiting on that moment. I thought that I'd get my shit together,
get married, get a house, and have kids by 30. It's not looking that way. I
thought that pimples, blemishes and other dermatological hazards would go the
way of the dodo after my teen years. That's three strikes. Youth is wasted on
the wrong people, and getting older only means that you have less free time
to listen to music that pisses other people off and more time to slave away
under The Man's employ. Let me share a few secrets with you whipper snappers and
maybe you'll learn something.
My body is falling apart one joint, one bone, and one day at a time. I
bounced my right knee off of a playground pole when I was 12, and that knee has
never forgiven me. Five years of bouncing around in a projection booth
didn't help, either. Now it pops horrifically, making me wince in anguish and
swear in truly inspired ways at least once a day. Sometimes I crack my back and
it sounds like an encore for the Blue Man Group. After an eight hour shift at
work, I need to be wheeled out to my car. Your body can't hold up like it
used to. I could jog and slim down and work out and get my body in better shape.
I could also win an Academy Award, get a Nobel Prize for being an asshole,
or film a documentary about midget go-cart races, but that's not going to
happen either. I'll wait until my first heart attack or stroke when the doctor
tells me to clean up my act or else, and then I'll get in better shape.
Your metabolism disappears and you can't handle hangovers like you used
to. Once upon a time, I could party like a rock star, pounding beers, shots,
and small funnels of potato moonshine until five in the morning and bounce into
work a hundred percent better. A few years later, I partied like an adult
contemporary soft rock star. I could drink a twelve pack with friends until one
in the morning, get eight hours of sleep, and, provided that I drank a lot of
water before and after bed and gobbled down a few aspirin, I'd be all right.
Those days are over. There is no more bouncing back. There is crashing,
burning, recovering, and rehydrating. A hangover is a day long progression. And
don't get me started on diet and exercise. When I was eighteen, I could
pound ten dollars worth of tacos and keep a washboard ab. These days I eat two
meals a day (mostly healthy), drink tons of water, and I'm still fighting
uphill. I used to walk everywhere when I was younger, though. Now I walk to bed,
the fridge, and the car. Habits change.
One thing I've really turned into an art form is napping. I come from a
long line of passionate nappers. On a day off, I'll typically nap from one to
three hours. It's good to get a good running start into a nap. You've got
to set up a separate area, find the perfect pillow, throw a drink and a phone
next to you, and go to it. Or listen to a cd with the volume barely audible
and drift off. Or turn on the tv, roll over, and conk out. Napping is like
poetry; it's a forgotten art. You really can't appreciate a good one until you
get older. After a full rest, I'm almost at a hundred percent. You can pull
off the partying like a rock star thing if you go into a small coma during
The average attention span becomes extinct. I can focus on a tv or radio
commercial from start to finish. Anything else takes superhuman
concentration. My junior year of high school, I used to chew through three books a day,
no lie. One biography, one short story collection, one science fiction novel.
Books take months now if they don't have pictures. This might explain my
renewed love for comic books. You don't have to read a comic book for long
before an explosion, nudity, or violence of some sort snaps you back into the
storyline. With books, you have to trudge through character development,
background, mood, etc. It's a big commitment. Unless someone pokes me with a fork
every five minutes during a conversation, I'll drift off. If I'm taking
driving directions from people, I'll zone out during the most crucial part of the
navigation. Names, places, and memories that were really important to me five
or ten years ago often take minutes and sometimes days to drudge up out of the
toxic muck that resembles my brain. People I knew from high school, old
girlfriends, and distant relatives will come up and start talking to me and I'll
float the conversation while I try to figure out who in the hell they are. You
laugh now, but you'll see. Your day will come, grasshopper.
The world speeds up and your mind, body, and soul come to a grinding
halt. There are a lot of pros to aging (moderate aging, mind you), but there's no
need to go into that. You have a lot more money for your toys but less time to enjoy them. You can drink and smoke and huff all the airplane glue you
want but you just can't handle it anymore. Your brain is full of years of useful
and trivial information alike but it's a maximum effort trying to access it
and adding new information is problematic. The average male stops developing
all of his new brain cells by the age of 23. That was a good thing at the time
because I flash fried brain cells by the millions and needed a few for a
rainy day. There's no escaping age, but I can still complain about it. Old
people like to complain. What the hell was I talking about? Where are my glasses?
Who the hell are you? The nurses are stealing my money! Anyways, I'm going
to throw on a sweater vest to ward off the cold and put on some tea. The
weather channel is coming on soon and I don't want to miss it.
Getting old really sucks.