There are caterpillars in my ears.
I have a five-year- old and a two-year old so it's not entirely out of the question that I should wake up one day and learn that my ears have become low-income housing units for fuzzy bugs. But I don’t mean that there are actual real caterpillars in there, it just looks like it.
Though not perpetrated by kids, I've witnessed this kind of mischief before on others, and it's a handiwork that men everywhere are regrettably familiar with. (Weemen experience it too, but in different ways.)
It's from that relentless old codger of curmudgeony -a close cousin of Time - which we all know as Old Age. And from all the wrinkle cream ads, Viagra posters and glossy magazine sports car pages out there to mitigate his influence, it is quite apparent nobody wants that old coot around.
For me, lately, weird, new stuff has been happening. You’re-flirting-with-old-age kinda stuff.
Like, how riding a merry-go-round with my kids will cause me to forget my name for three days…
I now get constantly worked up over political idiocies as if my suggestions actually mattered and could be heard backwards through the radio to the looney toons in parliament...
My inner thighs collide together like unshaven tectonic plates when I walk, creating enough friction and heat to have me banned from fire-sensitive areas…
A single robust, grey hair sprouted by my right nipple and it's tougher than steel wool; damn near broke the wife's garden shears, it did…
Sometime over the last couple decades hiccups transformed from a laughable interruption to a brass-knuckled death punch to the esophagus…
People keep talking about all these great new indie movies and music artists coming up, and I’m trying to figure out how come India is suddenly the world’s largest exporter of worldwide entertainment.
I listen to CBC talk radio, on purpose.
And, and, there's Ovaltine in my pantry. I wish I were joking.
It all points to getting older.
But really, I don't feel old.
Physically, I'm growing weird hair, my abs haven't come out of hibernation in years, and I get winded chasing the kids around the playground (I’ll concede that most of that is because I'm just out of shape, really. There are plenty of seniors out there who could put me to shame without even having to take their dentures out. My grandmother, for one. But still, getting older here.)
Physically, I’m starting to feel it. But mentally? I still feel like a kid most days (except that I listen to CBC, no kid does that), and when I think about how responsible my parents were at my age, I can't help but wonder-
What the fishsticks am I talking about? They weren't any more adult-like than I am!
Shoot, I remember Dad goofing around pretty much all the time, setting a fine example for his impressionable son. Even recently we shared a fine learning experience together where we wanted to see if we could ride a mountain bike on mum’s treadmill (my kid was there too to witness the moment, three generations of incorrigible fools.) Or the time he tried salamandering up a snow covered hill after midnight on New Years’, hollering for the hill to come down to his level and fight like a man… I could go on for days with stories from that guy.
Okay, so maybe Mum was the more level- headed of the two, so calling them immature might not be fair. And nor can I just call Dad immature, that's not right either. He was an incredibly responsible and caring father figure, he was just young at heart through it all. And he still is.
I dunno. I guess it's all relative. Just because Old Age seems to be visiting more and more these days like an uninvited second cousin doesn't mean I have to hang out with the old gaffer all the time. If he doesn't feel up to going on a hike or bouncing like an idiot at a trampoline park designed for kids, well, nuts to him, Old Age can just stay home. I don’t need to bring him with me everywhere I go.
I suppose the fuzzy ears and ab-less mid-section will have to come with me regardless, but at least that Donnie Downer of getting older won't be around to constantly remind me of them, so I can have some un-adult-erated fun anyway.
I just gotta remember to tell Old Age to piss off a little more often and to suck a lime when I don't want him around. Which is pretty much all the time.
I'll just block his number.