I received a birthday card awhile back. It said on the front, “It’s a Great Life…”, and then inside, “If You Don’t Weaken.”
For some reason I thought of Superman. He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. By my next birthday I hoped to be just as un-weak. So I walked into the kitchen to get something with protein in it from the refrigerator. But by the time I opened the refrigerator door, I’d forgotten why I’d gone into the kitchen.
I did find my application to be a contestant on the Jeopardy Tournament of Oldies But Goldies. It was in the meat drawer – Moldies rather than Goldies. Mistakes do happen. Seemed like it took forever for me to fill in the remaining blanks, seal the envelope, put a stamp on it, and walk it out to the street-side mailbox. Maybe that’s why they call it snail mail. But I’ll show Alex Trebek faster than a speeding bullet when I mash my buzzer quicker than anyone else and give him an answer ASAP!
After I mailed my application in to the people at Jeopardy, I decided to take a walk. It was a nice day and I was already outside. I walked half way around the park when I ran into my friend Albert. Albert has COPD – Chronic Old Person’s Disease of some sort – and he huffs and puffs a bit when he walks. I told him about receiving the birthday card, how it reminded me of Superman’s strength, and how I was going to get less weak this year.
He smiled and said, “Then I’m getting stronger too. I don’t just sound like a locomotive when I walk, I’m more powerful than a locomotive.” We both laughed.
Before we finished a walk around the park, we came upon a kid whose kite had landed in a tree. It wasn’t a large tree, but it was the kind he couldn’t climb. Since Albert and I were both much taller than he was, he asked if we could reach it. Almost but not quite.
He said, “If you’d jump, you could pull it down.” That’s when I realized that even though I was going to be much less weak by my next birthday, not only would I not be able to leap tall building in a single bound, I wouldn’t be able to leap, period. It’s just one of those things that I don’t do any more. I tore my ACL – Ability to Casionally Leap.
There are a few amazing athletes in the Senior Olympics upper age divisions – and we hate them, don’t we? – but the rest of us could spray ourselves with a can of Perma-Flex and we still wouldn’t have a physique. “It’s a Great Life If You Don’t Weaken”? What does Hallmark think happens as we approach the over-our-speed-limit numbers on the mortality table?
We’ve gone from acid rock to acid reflux; from our senior year to…what do you call ‘em? Oh yeah, senior moments. (“It’s Senile Man. Brain like a stainless steel colander!”) We men have gone from talking about women to talking about the weather, which no matter how hot isn’t the same. We’ve gone from leg pressing hundreds of pounds to, “Will my knees get me up and out of this chair?” It seems like the Hallmark wits could come up with a better greeting card.
And I’m not picky. It could say on the outside, “So…” and then on the inside, “You Made It Another Year!” and I’d feel like I’d achieved something. It would give me a more realistic goal for next year than not weakening.