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A HALF CENTURY OF LEARNING THINGS THE HARD WAY AND OTHER TALES

A HALF CENTURY OF LEARNING THINGS THE HARD WAY AND OTHER TALES

By on Jul 20, 2010 in ROUTE 66 | 0 comments

In reviewing the posts of the last few weeks, number 600 through 617, there seems to be a recurrent theme of odd ball titles. This cursory exploration left me with the impression that I am well on the road to becoming one of those eccentric old folks with a right of center, southwest of left world view that derives a great deal of pleasure from sharing their version of reality whether anyone is interested in hearing it or not. 

Today’s title was derived from this photo taken last year in the Hualapai Mountains, yesterday’s return visit to the dentist, an inability to find reasonable health care coverage due to my advanced age, the realization that fifty is fast fading from view in the mirror, the awakening that if something doesn’t change soon I will be paying off the mortgage about the time social security checks start rolling in, and a face to face encounter with a cold, hard fact of life – I really can’t afford to die. Nor do I have time for that. Simply put, in recent weeks an uncomfortable feeling that I am suspended somewhere between youth and that magical point in time where we become the aged wise man which in turn sparks equal waves of depression and euphoria has developed. Its a very odd place to be.

On Saturday evening we were at Chillin’ on Beale Street when a realization of age belied the fact that in my mind I am still twenty, plus a year or two. It was sparked by the adoration being lavished on a light blue Ford identical to the one my dad purchased as a year end close out new car, the first car I ever drove on the streets. This cold dash of reality gave me a clarity of vision that was almost startling in nature. In an instant I noticed how youthful the face of the police officers were and with a jolt realized these men were young enough to be my son!This journey into reality continued on Monday, first at the dentist office and then when working on the Route 66 encyclopedia. It would seem age, a misspent youth that included a bit of pugilistic activity, and a skipped appointment or two with the dentist, coupled to a recent accident involving a chain and my face has culminated in the need for dental surgery with a price tag that should consume my Model A Ford truck fund and then some. Then, later that afternoon, I was working on the encyclopedia when it came me – I was writing about an event now considered historical and was only marginally referring to notes. I was writing from memory as a witness to that event!With giddiness it hit me, my physical age has almost caught up with my philosophical age. Even as a kid it was often said I was the youngest little old man in the neighborhood. My ma used to tell me it was as though I was born ninety and never got any older. The advantage here should be obvious. There is no mid life crisis. There are no senior years. I can get the senior discounts that in all honesty should have been given to me on my 19th birthday. There is simply business as usual with only the body to pay the price. So, the euphoria comes with the realization the golden years will be just like my young adult years. The waves of depression come with the realization the body is not always going to go along. Well, there is no cure for life so it is best to earn those laugh lines rather than worry lines.

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