I'm on the other side of fifty, barely. And I hate to think of myself as old because I'm not. For the most part, I think I'm a fairly happening guy. I go to concerts, stand in General Admission, and rock out as often as I can. I still enjoy walking, biking, swimming; basically I try to do something active every day. I love to dance to cheesy cover bands. Last weekend, I partied to LeFreak, a disco cover band, well into the night. I enjoy reading and dining. I even attend a play or musical a couple times a year. In short, I like to do stuff.
However, there are a few things that I've decided I'm just too old to do. Mind you, these are things I used to enjoy doing when I was younger, and there are plenty of people my age that still do these things, but not me. I'm out. Done. No interest. These activities have migrated to the category of "you can't pay me to do them."
Number One: I'm too old to go to a water park and/or public pools.
At one time, I totally dug flying around water slides, tubes, fake waves or whatever those water parks had to offer. No more. Why the change of heart? Mostly pee.
First and foremost, nobody gets out of the water to urinate. No one. You think a dude in an inner tube chilling on the Lazy River is going to extract himself from his comfortable spot and drag his ass out of the water to find a pisser, all while still holding his inner tube? Heck no. And if a grown up isn't going to do it, you know no kid would. Think about all the warm pee being deposited in that water. A couple thousand people times a quart of piss a day equals a lot of urine. Yes, the urine molecules are dispersed evenly throughout the water in theory, but that means you are guaranteed to have a certain number of pee molecules in your eyes and mouth area. I just can't handle it.
But my urine aversion is just the beginning of my problem with water parks and public pools. Humans are inherently biologically disgusting animals. If you think people sporting rashes, pimples, and open wounds are disgusting, then athlete's foot and pink eye should send you reeling. But the one skin anomaly that I can't handle at all is the festering boil. Now you may think the boil is rare, but there's got to be at least a boil or two in that water somewhere. And it could be on the dude next to me! Add snot and kids that aren't proficient at wiping their butts into the mix and I rest my case. Oh, and scabs. I'm only too old to go to these places because I became too wise.
Number Two: I'm too old to go camping.
Camping sucks. Years ago, as a kid, I was a camping fool. I remember getting tents and sleeping bags as Christmas and birthday presents. My buddies and I would fish on the river and enjoy the freedom, building our campsite out in nature. It was liberating and I loved it. Today, there is no way I'd sleep in a tent.
Last month, my version of camping was visiting my sister in Florida and sleeping on a twin bed. My body hurt for a week, not kidding. I have a memory foam mattress at home. My bedroom is the perfect temperature. My bedroom is also mostly insect-free.
There is just no way on earth I'm sleeping on the ground. There is no mat or pad that is going to cushion my body enough to prevent me from heading to the chiropractor later. Most likely for multiple visits. It's hot outside and I hate trying to sleep when I'm hot. There are mosquitoes and biting flies and scorpions and spiders outdoors and one or two just might find their way into my tent.
Every time I watch a Western and see the cowboys out on the open range spreading out their little bedrolls on the rocky ground, my neck starts to ache. I can't imagine doing this? No way could I have lived this lifestyle. The cowboy way all looks great, till this happens. If the ground was my bed, and all I had for a pillow was a stone or saddlebag or whatever, I would need a bottle of Advil just to move the next day. No wonder John Wayne walked crooked. His whole body was crooked because of camping. You know those old timers in every Western? The guys that are literally named "Old Timer" in the script? Their average age is 36. Why do they look so bad? Camping.
Number Three: I'm too old to help you move. I think I've owned five trucks over the last 30 years. I've moved or helped friends move dozens of times. Oddly, as crappy and stressful as moving can be, I never really minded it so much. When I was young, and since I usually drove a truck, I helped friends move and all I really cared to get out of it was a case of beer. Those days are long over.
A few moves back, I hired a moving company to move my household because I just did not have the time to do it all myself. I saw one of the movers flip a La-Z-Boy onto his back and carry it out the door and into the truck. Holy Smokes! I realized right then and there that using your body to move furniture is a young man's game and I was not that young. My back is in pretty good shape and I want to keep it that way. My knees are a different story. Although I'm sure there must be at least a little cartilage cushioning the bones in my knee, when they move they make noise like a rock polisher (remember those?). My brother calls my knees Mr. Chalky Chalk and swears that he sees puffs of powder puff out of my skin on occasion. What's left of the bones in my knees are grinding away into a powder.
But here's the upside. Now, when people ask me to help them move, I just flat out tell them I'm too old for that shizzle. I remember the first time I said that out loud. It was liberating! A while back, a young woman I worked with was moving and asked if I could lend a hand, along with a few other guys she'd lined up. I asked her if she'd pay the ER bill if I went down while carrying her microsuede sofa. End of conversation and she didn't even hold it against me.
Hey man, age is just a number, right? That's what I've heard. But let's face it, I don't see sixty year old guys playing pickup basketball. They are just too old for that. They play golf. Good for them. I'm sure my list will get longer as time goes on, but I'll fight the good fight as long as I can. Until then, if you want me to go camping, find me an air-conditioned cabin with a good bed and I'll meet you at the river.
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