Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Theory of Growing Old

I'm starting to get old. *pause for laughter*

A couple months ago I slammed the car trunk on my finger. It hurt, it bled, it freaked out a few shoppers at the nearby store where they searched for gauze, it still shows up as a little bit of black on the tip of my finger. I drove us home through the snow for an hour with a large finger held awkwardly for all of New York to see and mistake for its neighboring finger being waved at them. Ouch.

One day last week I watched as Joy closed the trunk to the car. I thought it looked like her hand was a little too close to the trunk ... yes, the hand she was using to close the trunk, that one was a little close to the trunk. I panicked. I very nearly ran out to her to grab her hand away, or at least yell out a cautionary "Don't close the car trunk on your hand!"

It's like I forgot my wife was an intelligent person. It's like I forgot that, if she does have a fault, lack of a self-preservation instinct is not it.

And I suddenly understood why "old" people were always unnecessarily warning me not to be the biggest idiot who ever walked the earth. They got hurt. They knew a guy who got hurt. Suddenly they're looking out for everybody else out of instinct because it could happen to anybody, anytime, anywhere. When you get to "our" age, after all, things don't heal like they used to.

I would like to imagine that by noticing this unfortunate trend early on, I can apply enough mental Rogaine to stave off, or at least hide, this tendency. I know enough people, however, to believe that while my struggle may be worthwhile, it will likely turn out to be futile as well. Hyrum, Lavinia ... I'm sorry. I know you're (will be) smarter than this,

But don't put your hand in the blender and turn it on.
Please don't run into light sockets with liquid scissors.
Stop trying to stick your elbow in your ear. Stop trying to lick your elbow too.
And whatever you do, DON'T push that big red button, okay?
And get off my lawn.

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