(02/11/2019)
By Jack Cawthon
I am old. I know, to be politically correct I should call myself a "senior citizen." But as for most of my life I voted Republican, it's a little late in the wallow to remove the scent from an old dog.

Ah yes, I am in my Golden Years. Gold, that precious commodity that calls forth the reward of wealth and achievement, if not on earth, then in heaven where the streets are paved with it, far better than the roads here on earth that depend on the Department of Highways.

But who came up with the theme "Golden Years"? In my view it was someone in his or her early forties, at the most, and who never had a thought at the time of the real meaning. Maybe he or she saw parents or aunts and uncles, or the old guy down the street engaging with it, but never personally. No, not until somewhere, say around the big 5 oh, did the reality strike home. Then, perhaps with back turned, IT struck.

Unlike the poet's fog that comes on little cat feet, age pounces like a big jungle cat, not with little cat feet, but with huge claws out extended, digging deeply into the back, or other vital regions, and one suddenly realizes I am AGING!

With men it sometimes results in a hurry up call, maybe a new car, say a sports job, and maybe even a, you know, sporty companion to go with it. With women it can result it its own affliction, which I call mental pause.

Well, another reminder, perhaps. A letter will arrive from AARP, announcing the fact that you are (gasp) 50. How the organization knew years ago without computer technology, I have no idea (maybe from Russians agents who know everything) but I got mine on time. At the prime age of 50, I was told of all the benefits of joining, such as cheap motels, dining out, and, I may have been mistaken, but I think low-cost burial rates. That may not have been in the bargain, but at an advancing age it does enter the picture.

AARP prefers that you call it by its initials, which stand for, I think, American Association of Retired People or Persons, whatever. But I pronounce it "aarrpph," much as I clear my throat of sinus drainage. ( I also pronounce "ob-gyn," as ob-gyn, much to the annoyance of the medical profession, I'm sure.) If they make words of it, call it such!

If I send my dues, money accepted, then the organization will go to the Congress and, boy, will they stand up for us old folks (seniors, if you must). For a while, I bit. I never checked into cheap motels--not a great deal for old folks who may be past checking into cheap motels, if only by the hour-- but I did receive some interesting literature. It dealt with all that advantage of growing old, although I don't think achieving "golden" streets of heaven were mentioned, unless it was covered under "burials."

I finally dropped my membership, not because cheap motels weren't of interest. One can still have an interest, even after certain age strikes, but because I felt the government was already looking after me, especially with my old folks' voting rights right.

I would have Medicare, Social Security, and at one time, a Golden Mountaineer card, which I was never sure how to use, except it came from Jay Rockefeller, as I recall, and Jay had lots of money. I assumed he was giving some away!

Oh, did I mention another factor of aging? I so wanted to look distinguished so that at the first sign--I kept looking--of silver hair I felt so proud. There were only two or three strands at first, and I wanted to make sure the women at the office took notice--but none did. (This was back when men and women could mingle and speak openly about sexual differences, but which is now endangered by lawsuits, although as of this writing, the law still recognizes that there are physical differences, except, perhaps, for restroom privileges.)

To be clear, the only groping I ever did was for words as I have always tended to blush easily, especially after overhearing some of the conversations of the women!

But as I aged I did notice something amazing dealing with, pardon the word (blush) sex. I seemed to become more desirable to the missing rib product. At the supermarket and other establishments, I became "honey," "dear," "sweetie," and on one memorable occasion "babe." (If only I could remember where that happened I would be a regular shopper, but with age, comes some memory loss!)

For a brief moment the thought struck me: Was I undergoing sexual harassment? Which thought was replaced with, Oh, Lord, I hope so!

For someone like me who answered all his life to "Hey you," or the sharply spoken "Sir," as in "SIR the line forms over there," or "SIR do you have an ID?" ('bout what I was tempted to answer), but always fearful of falling afoul of the other, you know, I readily complied.

But now, in late life, for a time I thought I was becoming more desirable to the other (blush) sex and wondered why it couldn't have happened when it could have been more meaningful. But then, my fantasy is generally shattered, when I am so alluringly asked, "Will you need help getting that stuff to your car honey, dear, sweetie, or best, babe?" And although I have a bad back and arthritic knees I smile and say ,"No, thanks mam," as I bravely grab the shopping cart.

Is it politically correct nowadays to address a woman as " mam", as that stands for "madam," a word of respect in Victorian times, but now madam implies, well, you know (blush) , a business venture. Is it any wonder that a man can become confused, and I blame it all on Adam. If he had just been content.....

I know then the words are pretty much similar as those spoken to a father, or horrors, grandfather, and it only means, drat, respect for age. UGH!

But with at first only a few silver hairs, there was a whole head of it and I quickly learned that although the two words sound so much alike there is a world of difference in distinguished and extinguished.

So, as I look around me, I see that most people seem to get older each year. And I can only assume that it applies to me also. Maybe I should rejoin arraarwp, at least for company, and I do keep getting mail informing that if only I come back I can get cheaper reentry.

There is one way that I might rejoin: if only arrarwp would entwine with the NRA. And with every Medicare card there was issued a certificate for a firearm of choice--real senior power! I have an old 22 rifle that I shot squirrels with in my youth. However, I still feel guilty about that.

But what would I do with a gun, as I am so shaky I might shoot myself, and, worse, it might cause me to vote Republican again! I don't need to make a second amendment in my old age!


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