"When I get older losing my hair, many years from now. Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings bottle of wine?" This line from the pen of the Beatles was in the extreme far distance when I first heard it in 1967. I was 15 and the idea that I would someday be 64 was inconceivable (did I even know what that word meant?).
I remember what 64 year old people looked like in the 60's and they looked - well, they looked old. Old as in men wore baggy khaki pants and brown brogans and shuffled around on a cane coughing all the time like they had tuberculosis. Their shirts had stains on them and they yelled at kids and were generally useless for anything except taking up space on the front porch or giving kids Dutch rubs.
64 year old women were gray-headed, fat and wore baggy old flowery moo-moo's and had those thick nylons that went up to the knee and black clog-dancing shoes they stomped around in and yelled "Ehhh?" every time you tried to talk to them. "Ehh? Whadja say there sonny?"
This is how I remembered them, me being full of wisdom and 15. Now that may not have been the case, but youth has a way of ageing people prematurely and yes, unfairly. When you are 15, dating a girl 17 would put you squarely in the stud category (not that I would know anything about that!). A 24 year old is, like, way advanced in age and if a person is 30, well, can someone say "one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave?"
Remember hearing that some 12th grade cheerleader was dating ... (gasp) a college student? Yea, she was probably 17 and the guy 18.
"Old man look at my life, 24 and there's so much more. Live alone in a paradise, that makes me think of two." I was 20 when Neil Young published this iconic song and 24 seemed a long way off. Come today, I was 24 - 40 years ago. In simple terms when I first heard this song, I would triple my age to arrive where I am today.
Back in 1968, the ever-morphing and imaginative Beatles also wrote: "They say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah They say it's your birthday. We're gonna have a good time. I'm glad it's your birthday. Happy birthday to you." This was written when they couldn't imagine being 64 and were still excited about actually having another birthday party. The good thing about having a birthday at my age is you get to reflect that you are still alive. The bad side is yea, you are one year older and like Pink Floyd wrote, "One day closer to death".
My dad (rest in peace) once remarked about exercise that "all it does is postpone the inevitable.
Alice Cooper released "I'm eighteen" in 1970. I was eighteen at the time and I still love this song today because it really summed up how I felt at that time. I was a man in that I could go to war for my country, but I was a boy because I couldn't buy a beer. Vincent Furnier, the lead singer for the band was coincidentally - 24 years old when they released this song.
"Lines form on my face and hands. Lines form from the ups and downs. I'm in the middle without any plans. I'm a boy and I'm a man. I got a baby's brain and an old man's heart. Took eighteen years to get this far. Don't always know what I'm talkin' about. Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt." Here I am 40 some odd years later and like Vincent, I often time think I still have a baby's brain and an old man's heart. "I get confused every day and I don't know what to say" and folks older than me tell me it gets harder every day to sort things out. I hope not. I pretty much live day to day off my notes on my calendar as it is.
"What? Rely on my memory ehh, sonny? What memory? Now where did I leave my brogans again? On second thought, where can I take my brogans and get the laces replaced with Velcro? Do you think my khaki pants are too wrinkled to wear to Wal-mart? The older I get young fella, the better I used to be! Hand me my sack of meds while your up! What are those kids doing on my lawn?"