April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I’m getting older, and nobody cares.

I’ve been getting older for a while now, but I haven’t said anything, because I was kind of hoping it would go away. But it hasn’t, so I might as well accept it.

Nobody really thinks of themselves as old. Even people who are clearly old. It’s kind of like driving, where everyone going slower than you is an idiot, and everyone going faster than you is a meshugeneh. But you’re neither. Even if you’re the fastest person on the road, you’re not thinking, “Okay, I guess I’m fast.” You’re thinking, “Everyone is an idiot.”

Also, age doesn’t really hit you all at once. Age creeps up on you slowly (the same way age drives) and suddenly you look around one day and say, “Wow! I guess I’m old!”

Today is that day.

Okay, so I’m not that old. I’m definitely past the age where fans meet me and go, “Oh, I thought you’d be older.” But I’m not old enough to go on a diatribe about you youngsters and your emojis and your internets and how in my day, we didn’t have Pesachdikke streimel cookies.

Actually, I do do that last thing. I did it like three months ago.

But I did notice that I’ve been slowly collecting a lot of the traits that I’ve always associated with old people.

Some things you already know about. For example, my metabolism has slowed down tremendously since I was a kid. Frequent readers already know that, because every couple of weeks I write about my futile attempts to lose weight, because the thing about dieting is that it’s all you talk about. And yes, the people around you get annoyed, but what else are you going to talk about? You’re starving!

Another thing that frequent readers already know about is my back issues. I have a herniated disc, which, even though it’s not currently as bad as it was, it’s never totally out of my mind. But apparently, it’s age-related, at least somewhat. I thought it was about the fact that I have a job that requires me to sit in one place, leaning forward and staring in the same direction for several hours a day. Mankind wasn’t really built to do that. For thousands of years, nobody had a job where they had to stare at a screen all day, except maybe beekeepers. And even beekeepers had occasional exercise in the form of running.

But then I read that 80-something percent of the population has back problems, and every single one of these people keeps talking to me about them. They’re all like, “Yeah, when I was 36, I had back problems, so what I did was I learned how to bend in half backwards.” And 36 is not a number I’m making up as an example here. That’s the number they all use—36. And all I could think is, “Wait. I’m 36.” So apparently it’s an age thing. No one told me this when I first turned 36.

“Yeah, 36th year. That’s back problems. Good luck with that.”

I’ve also been going to the doctor more often. I started out going just once, but now the doctor is obsessed with me. He keeps telling me to come back.

My entire 20s, I barely went to the doctor, and I did fine. But when I finally started going for my back, the doctor who saw me asked, “Who’s your PCP?” And I said, “I don’t know. You, I guess.” And he said, “Wait. You haven’t been to a doctor?” So his practice assigned me a doctor, who has, ever since then, been making me come back about once a month. Like there’s a certain number of times in your life you have to go to a doctor, and he’s trying to catch me up.

Another age thing that I’ve noticed is that I’ve been making more and more dad jokes around the house. Just ask my kids—Hungry, Starving, Bored and Serious. And my wife, Not Amused.

And then there are smaller things that I do differently. For example, I find that lately I’ve been making the words on my computer screen bigger. My other option, I guess, is to lean farther forward, which is not good for my back.

I’ve also suddenly noticed that I’ve been drinking a lot of hot tea and carrying hard candies.

Sure, I have reasons. At the moment, I have a cough, and to the little kid still living somewhere inside me, a cough is a medical excuse to eat candy. And the tea started as a throat thing too, but now I drink it because it’s a way to get caffeine after pareve suppers when you’re trying to cut down on soda.

See, everything we old people do is not for just one reason, but for a bunch of reasons that accumulate over the years, because we’ve had a lot of years, and when you tell us it’s just because we’re old, we don’t want to get into a whole long explanation, because we don’t have the time for it. Because we’re old. By the time we finish explaining this to you, we’ll both be old, and then you’ll understand it on your own. So why bother?

Another thing I noticed is that, as I get older, my stories get longer.

How so? Find out in Part 2.

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has six books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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