Monday, June 4, 2007

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons"

As if the way my back hurts lately, and the fact that I not only can't but don't want to stay up past 10pm, and the sounds I make when I get up out of my chair ("uuuhh!" and "ohuuuhmmm!" and "aaahhhrrrrrmmm!") are not enough evidence that I am getting really rather old, then there is the simple fact that my 30 year high school reunion is coming up this summer. A 20-year reunion is one thing - kind of a nice milepost, and people are still on the near side of 40 - but there's no faking it at high-school-plus-30 years. We're all just really damn old in the larger sense, and there's no denying.

Oh sure, people want to say "50 is the new 40!" Sounds swell, but tell it to my arthritic thumb, my spare tire, and my blood pressure meds. I don't care if you call it 50, or 90, or 7 in dog years, it sucks.

Oh sure, I know I'm still young by many standards. In other words, there are a lot of people older than me who will say, "Well, I'd give anything to be your age again! When I was your age, I was still...uh...what was that thing I used to do?" But that is not the point. In real terms, people my age are way past their physical prime - in fact, nearly useless for the primary function of reproduction - and are only good for mental exercises. Think about it - even if you are some kind of super athlete, your best performance approaching 50 is probably just a shadow of what you could do ten years ago. Ten short years, the interval between the 20 year reunion and the 30 year reunion. To paraphrase that great standard, "what a difference 3,650 days makes - 87,600 little hours. "

So as I ponder whether or not it's a good idea to attend my 30-year reunion, with the hopes that there are people more pathetic than me that will make me feel good about myself in some sick way, I feel I have fully "grown into" my appreciation for the poem that I have considered my favorite for just about all of these last 30 years, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which tells us:

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

3 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Barry Martin said...

What our friend Rodrigo has contributed in Portuguese is "Oi, I found yours blog for google tá well interesting I liked this post. When to give gives passed for mine blog, is on personalized t-shirts, shows step by step as to create a well personalized t-shirt way. Until more. So I think he wants to sell me T-shirts, I think to promote my blog. Ye Gods, imagine the market for that product! I could sell these by the tens!

Scott said...

God my 30th is coming up next summer...and yes, I do feel old. When you come to SoCal, you will not be allowed to wear white flannel trousers on the beach.