I had an aunt who became very forgetful when she reached a certain age. It wasn’t an illness – her mind was fit and well, but she simply became absent-minded and lost things. As a child, her antics made me laugh. I remember when I was staying with her, one morning I found her standing on a six large books balanced precariously on a chair in the bedroom to search the top of a wardrobe for a fish slice. I have no idea why she should have put such an object on top of a wardrobe, nor did she didn’t explain when she found the missing object in the wash basket. I didn’t ask because that was my aunt – unpredictable and eccentric.
I love eccentric people. I plan to become one myself, so that would explain why I love them so much… Jenny Joseph‘s Poem I Will Wear Purple I hope will describe me when I reach that certain age. Getting old should give you carte blanche to be a little strange, after all those pressures to conform are no longer so strong.
Like my baby grand daughter, when she starts losing teeth, so will I… The very young and the very old have a lot in common. One thing that does worry me however: will I still be funny when I get very old? By funny I don’t mean eccentric, smelly or mad, I mean will I be able to crack jokes? Will I get the point of a joke? Will I laugh at jokes? Many older people I know seem to have lost that ability to some extent. They appear grumpy and sour, complaining and moaning about everything. Will I become like that? Maybe my kids think I am already there?
The other day, standing at the supermarket checkout, I watched a handsome, well spoken elderly man arguing with the cashier because he could not understand something printed on his receipt. He joked about himself, saying he was sure he wasn’t totally ga-ga but he was certain there was a mistake. The cashier, a young woman, seemed to think he was severely deaf. She started to announciate her words with the sort of dedicated perfection an actor might use when asked to play the lead in a stately home saga. She gave the other people in the queue beseeching looks, she rolled her eyes and not once did she treat the old chap like a sentient being. In the end, the man didn’t lose his temper, he just patted her on the hand and said in resigned voice: Sorry miss, but I’m older and wiser than you and you’ve got it wrong… Then he walked out. The cashier response was a shrug. The people in the queue, all younger than the man, grumbled and looked sulky.
I tend to ague forcefully in such situations. And I certainly won’t back down. I would rather be dragged out of the shop by my ears than to let some podgy faced juvenile win an argument if I think I am right. I will stand my ground now and when I am very old, I hope. Of course, it might be that I will get worn down by all the negative images I see every day about old people. (Some things have improved; we now have fashion models with grey hair. Yipee!) But why do we have to accept images that make old people look as if they have two brain cells between the lot of them. Why are they ridiculed and patronised? After all, they seem to be the only section of the society that still have any disposable income! Most of them own their houses. But not all. I heard someone on radio say that debt amongst the over 60’s is escalating as are sexually transmitted diseases. Apparently some of our senior citizens are throwing caution to the winds and spending their kid’s inheritance while having copious affairs! Interesting…
I think that the secret of staying young must be in what you eat. My secret weapon is garlic. I would have it on my corn flakes. Genetics plays a part too, but a good intake of that wonderful herb with all its amazing chemical constituents can keep your insides working, can make your skin look great, can protect your tummy from bugs and can make your breath smell which will put off any Lotharios after your money! Another magic food is water cress. Eaten raw every day in the summer will set you up nicely for a healthy winter. I’m not a doctor, but I know it works for me!
So how will I preserve my youth? If I knew that I’d be a billionaire. The magic elixir might be a mixture of water cress and garlic, mashed up and packed in a smart box with promises to make you live forever and sold to a gullible public via an internet site. There are similar scams out there. No, I will go down a safer route. I’ll keep laughing to preserve my sense of humour; I’ll keep eating the magic foods to protect my plumbing and I’ll love a lot – to make me happy. The perfect recipe for longevity!