And slowing

Remember that one debate where President Barack Obama seemed so disgusted to be stuck in the same room with Mitt Romney that the likeliest explanation for his poor performance is that he was throwing up in his mouth every time Romney looked at him, and that he had to spend the evening trying to get past that vomit taste?

Well, fellers, that wasn't the worst thing to happen in Cope's world that week. Within hours of that disastrous debate, I passed any prime that may have ever been mine, and I turned 65. Yes sir, it's official. I am old. Now excuse me, but I have to go chase some goddamn kids off my lawn.

That took longer than I expected. By the time I got outside, I'd forgotten what I went there for. But then I figured as long as I was there, I might as well stand at the roadside for a spell and yell at drivers to slow down. That was fun. It pooped me out, though, so I took a nap. That was fun, too. After I woke up, I headed into the kitchen for a bowl of Raisin Bran but on the way, I noticed the computer was still on. I was getting ready to growl, "Who left the goddamn computer on?" but I remembered it was me. So I'm back. Let's see now ... where was I?

Oh, that's right. I was telling you about how I'm 65. I didn't say anything about it when it happened because there was so much going on. That election, remember that? Whooee, that was some election. They don't make 'em like that anymore, let me tell you. Goddamn kids, they think they know a thing or two about elections, but they don't know diddly-squat, not compared to the kind of elections we had to go through. Like that one between Obama and, uh ... what's-'is-name. You know who I mean ... that guy who smiled like a hungry lizard? Shoot, it'll come to me.

Well, anyway, so I wasn't too keen on turning 65. You'll know what I mean when you get there, Sonny Jim. That Social Security and Medicare stuff are fine and dandy, but there's plenty of downside that comes with it. Like, the very day I turned 65, I start carrying a pocketful of coins in my trousers and a big wad of ones so that no matter what I bought, I could pay with exact change. I didn't even realize I was doing it until I was in a convenience store counting out nickels and pennies. When I looked up, there were like eight or nine smart alecks standing in a line behind me. That got me flustered, thinking about how I was holding things up, and I lost count and had to start over. It's probably a good thing my hearing is going to crap because I think there was some grumbling going on, so that it's probably best I couldn't hear.

Oh, and I'm walking bowlegged now. I imagine I look like an orangutan trying not to tip over sideways. I don't know exactly how it started, but I'm guessing that somewhere just over the horizon there's a hip replacement with my name on it.

It's a shame. I used to have what you'd call a broad range of interests. I could piddle away a whole evening talking about how Ravel could out-compose Debussy with one hand tied behind his back, or how Willy Faulkner could write rings around Ernie Hemingway, or how that greasy weasel Nixon should have spent a decade or two in prison, or how ... well, you know what I'm getting at. I had a lot on my mind, is what I'm getting at.

But now? Shoot, all I can think about is either taking some grandkids fishing, or going for a slow walk in a park somewhere with my wife. I haven't fished enough in my lifetime to even mention and I never did like walks no matter who I was with. But ever since I turned 65 all I have on my mind is how to show some squirmy snotnose how to put a worm on a hook or letting my wife shove some goddamn flower she wants me to sniff up my nose.

Maybe I'm watching too much TV. That's where it comes from, you know that don't you? Watch enough goddamn TV commercials like I do anymore because I keep losing that goddam channel changer gizmo so I can't switch to another station real quick like I used to do back when I was 64, and you'd think that's all old fellers like me had to think about anymore. About whether this drug would fix my gizzard better than that drug. Whether this supplemental insurance policy covers more than that supplemental insurance policy. Whether this laxative works quicker than that laxative. All so's you can stay kicking long enough to teach some goddam kid how to worm up his hook or sniff some goddam pansy.

That TV gets in your head, no fooling. Watch enough of it, and you get to thinking, "Why would all those old people be doing it if it weren't a good idea?" It's not the same as watching commercials for those fancy picture phones all the kids have anymore, or those sugared-up cereals they sell to parents too stupid to know that chocolate and marshmallows ain't proper breakfast food. No, these are all old folks in those commercials I'm talking about. You know ... like me. So from the looks of 'em, you'd think they ought to have sense enough to be doing something maybe I should be doing, too. Like checking with my doc to see if the old ticker's up to a little whoopee. Or dabbing some goop on my age spots. Or wearing diapers.

Whoa there, Speedy Gonzales. We don't have to get this all done right now, do we? And anyway, I just got a powerful thirst for a cold can of Ensure. Maybe I'll be back ... and maybe I won't.

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