The following post is not only approved by my wife, but was actually suggested by her. Women, don’t get mad at me. It’s all her doing.
As a young lad, I remember learning about life expectancy. I was horrified. As a male, I was doomed to depart this life long before my female peers. It was terrifying. I knew that someday I would marry one of these female peers. I didn’t want to spend my life with a person, only to have them outlive me.
That’s when I decided that I would marry an older woman.
It was the perfect plan. If I married someone who was farther along in years than me, we would, theoretically, die at the same time. No one would be left alone and, more importantly, I would not have lost the “who can live the longest” game to my spouse. As a second grader, this seemed very important.
Years later, I followed through with this plan. I would meet a delightful young lady who was a full two and half years older than me. While the life expectancy between the two genders is around four years, I figured I could make up some distance by stressing her out a bit, taking years off of her life. (Note: My wife has read this and confirms that I have, indeed, shaved that life expectancy gap a bit shorter.)
The plan has backfired. All along, I thought I was married to a twenty-something, close to my own age.
As it turns out, I married an old dame.
Sure, she looks like she is young. In fact, she acts very young at times. She likes indie rock that no one over the age of thirty would even attempt to enjoy. She reads People magazine and knows which Kardashian is which. That is clearly a sign of youth.
This does not fool me, though. She has to be a 75-year-old.
I began to realize her real age one day as I sat in my living room. There, on the coffee table in front of me, was a candy dish full of hard candies. Not just any hard candy, mind you, but Werthers’ Originals, the official hard candy of the elderly.
Nothing is wrong with having a candy dish. Some of my favorite people have candy dishes. A person of her age, though, should want to fill this dish with Lifesavers or other colorful, fruity candies. Instead, it looked like she was about to invite Wilford Brimley over for a “Murder She Wrote” marathon followed by a session of talking about the good old days.
Then, I began to pay more attention. She was constantly knitting. In the morning, she walks like her knees are having an arthritic attack. She frequently said things like “dagnabbit” and could be heard letting out an “Oh, honey…” in response to stories that did not, in anyway, involve her honey. She buys a great deal of clothing at antique stores, often times giving her that odd scent of mothballs and perfume that old ladies frequently have. She absolutely adores Betty White. I assume that’s because she can relate to her.
The final proof came when I got into her car a few days ago. Replacing the youthful angst of Bright Eyes or the whimsical infancy of Kimya Dawson was the “Mamas and the Papas Greatest Hits.” When asked why, she said it brought back memories of her childhood. Knowing she did not grow up in 1965, this did not add up.
Don’t get me wrong. I, myself, am prone to acting like an old man. I complain about TV and music, saying it just isn’t as good as it used to be. My inner-curmudgeon will cause me to, frequently, talk about the stupidity of today’s kids. I once almost bought a tweed jacket.
My companion, though, seems to have contracted the disease from Robin Williams’ “Jack,” aging at rapid speed. By the end of the year, she may be celebrating her centennial with a cup of lukewarm decaf coffee and whatever show is on the Hallmark channel.
Maybe it’s my fault. I haven’t done much to encourage her inner-child to come out. Maybe I should buy her a trampoline or force her to have ice cream, and ice cream alone, for dinner. These things would surely bring back childlike behavior that seems to be missing.
The only other option is to age quicker myself. I’ll give up my episodes of “Community” and replace them with reruns of “Bonanza.” I’ll vote Republican without a second thought.
The aging plan must continue. With just a bit of work, I can make it happen. The old lady and I will kick the bucket at the exact same time.
I’ve got a lot of work to do, though. I still think Werthers’ are super-yucky.
That’s not what an old person like the new me should think.