08:30:57 pm on
Wednesday 21 Oct 2020

16 Reasons to Feel Old
David Simmonds

The signs are accumulating. I’m aging, fast, which is true for everyone, every day, whatever their age. What I mean is old in the absolute sense.


Sixteen reasons to feel old.

Number 1. My hair has morphed. I once thought that I had chestnut brown hair. My wife marched me to a mirror, ten years ago, and forced me to admit that it was gray. The gray has since turned to white, but that’s not the end of it. The gravy is starting to show oily golden streaks, a sure sign of old age.

Number 2. What my bladder will hold. I’ve discovered one of the iron laws of nature. The time during which the over-65 male bladder can comfortably be held is always less than the length of time for which the person requires sleep.

 Number. 3. Antiques and collectables have changed. The stuff with which I grew up, such as gas station glassware, Tupperware, Monkees memorabilia and such, is sold not just as collectable, but as antique, with prices to match. That makes me an antique, too.

Number 4. Technology is life, re-defined. Decades after the introduction of the home computer, I still think of computers as improvised explosive devices sent by a tag team of Russian and Chinese provocateurs to strike fear into the hearts of innocent people. If you can’t fix it with a hammer, screwdriver or wrench there’s something inherently wrong with it. 

Number 5. Music related to technology of its time. I listen to my music on technology that is right for the era when I bought it. I play my albums (LPs) on a gramophone, my cassettes on a cassette player and my CDs on a CD player. No wonder my tastes are retro in nature. I never expose myself to the contemporary stuff.

Number 6. Celebrities, I don’t know who they are or how they rose to fame. At the same time, I wonder why no-one is making any more movies featuring Julie Andrews, as governess with a penchant for lonely goatherds. Then I look it up and discover Julie Andrews is 84 years old, which offers me a clue as to the answer.

Number 7. Recreation is next. When someone says, “What shall be do tonight,” my first instinct is to reach for the Scrabble box. 

Number 8. Information is what I keep in printed and bound dictionaries and encyclopedias. Holding the information in an open reference book supplies a special experience.

 Number 9. Medical appointments are the structure of daily life. Excitement comes from deciding which of two conflicting appointments should be given priority.

Number 10. Maps, I like a paper map, the bigger the map and the more folds the better. Not for me the point-to-point routes given by a smartphone or directions by an anonymous automobile voice to turn left 100 metres ahead.

Number 11. Pills, I have so many pills to take at different times of the day that I resort to my slide rule and graph paper to prepare a flow chart that keeps my supplies in order and reminds to take my pills when I am supposed to. This passes for intellectual stimulation.

Number 12. Memory, recall doesn’t always easy, anymore; words and ideas don’t come to mind as quickly as they once did. I want to order a pizza with a kind of ham topping, but my mind is blank as to its name. Ten minutes too late, the word “prosciutto” pops into my head. 

Number 13. Respect, when people start calling me “sir” and giving me a wide berth, while not so remarkable today, but this began before Covid-19.

Number 14. Funeral, in idle moments, I rehearse my funeral. Not that I have an active part to play in it.

Number 15. Clothes, I can’t be bothered to dress fashionably. Anything I pick out of the closet at random at bedtime will match whatever else I’m going to wear the next day, whether it, in fact, does.

 Number 16. Hearing, my wife is saying either I have fleas or that I should pass the cheese. I make an educated deduction that it is the latter and sometimes I am right.

This combination of complaints tells me loudly and clearly how I have entered old age. Considering the alternatives, such as being youthful, again, I guess I’m along for the ride.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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