Like fine wine...

... turned into vinegar

Well, yes, if couldn't have figured it out from the title and it's snide conterpart comment, we're (well, I'm) talking about ageing today. No point beating about the bush, it happens to everybody, so, might as well deal with it.

Well, yes, if you couldn't figure it out from the tone of the previous paragraph, this isn't going to be a list of "you know you're getting old when..." (starting with "1. You write two identical paragraphs consecutively, because you forget you wrote the first one as soon as you did").

So you might think I'm just going to spew a bunch of cliché platitudes regarding growing up, and then growing mature, and getting to the hill, and then worry that your time is running out until it becomes an obcession you overcome just in time to enjoy the "golden years" of elderdom. News flash, all that (what some of us would call "ageing") and it's older sister, Death, happen (/will happen) to each and every one of us, so, again, a bit useless to dwell on that. Better do something a bit new with the time I have left (I don't think it's so shot I should worry, but, then again, depending on the scale you measure it, it can't be very long).

Sorry, before I move on to my next paragraph, which was supposed to come in lieu of this paragraph, I'd just like to comment on the last parenthesis, specifically the phrase "I should worry". And thus I fall down the gaping maw of the very cliché I had sought to banish. Why would I worry? there really isn't/hasn't been/wouldn't be/insert another tense of your liking for the verb to be anything I (or anyone esle, for that matter) could do to prevent the rather definitive finale Mr. Grim Reaper has in stock for each of us. Postpone it perhaps, but worry about that someday, somehow, under some conditions I will die is flat out silly. I have enough concerns without that, as well as any of us. I'd just like to point out that I don't believe in Fate either. Because she's a lying bitch.

Let's instead ponder the social implications of growing old. The reduced muscle strength comes with a rather comfortable side of "what I say goes". Of course any literal interpretation of my little hyperbole would soon drive to the question "Then why is Obama president instead of his grandmother?" The obvious answer is "Because Americans don't want a woman president", as Mrs. Clinton would tell you, whilst the serious answer is "You're being silly". What I mean, lest you ask it, is that it seems sociably unaccpetable, or at least impolite, not to gobble up every last word coming out of a senior citizen (forget senior, anyone over the age of 50, it seems). Now, while a great many 50+ year olds should, indeed, have that kind of respect and admiration lavished upon them (I know a few myself) and could indeed be said to be at their prime (again, I know more than a couple of those), this sort of status should, by no means, be granted by age alone. I mean, a Private, or whatever the entry rank is in any given military force, won't become a Marshal, or, again, whatever the highest ranking is in any given military force (you must realise by now, military rankings don't concern me half as much as the correct way to pronounce "Lieutenent" does. I advocate that it should be "lef-TEN-unt", as they say in the UK, not "loo-TEN-unt", as they say where what Obama says goes) just by not leaving the military. An altar boy doesn't just become pope in time by polishing the saints on the shrine (or whatever it is that altar boys, bless their gullible hearts, do). Likewise, the way I see it, just because you managed to make it to 65 - or 75, for that matter - you shouldn't get an automatic "I know best badge".

Right about now I might look like a bit of elderly basher. Allow me to address that (lest I bash you as well): I have nothing against the elderly, and I have no shame in admitting that ever member of my family of the generation prior to my parents' who's still alive is an elder person to prove it. In their defense, someone with 50 years worth of living under their belt ought to have quite a bit of experience, and thus insight, younder fellows might lack (for the time being). I respect that, sure. However (there must always be a "however". It's in the books. And some old guy told me), even the oldest among us should understand that this world we live in and which many would have you believe to be about 6000 years old and made by some improbable and unprovable omnipotent entity is ever-changing. If I, in under 30 meagre years of existence can appreciate it, how can someone with three times as much not?

Sure, somethings would seem no to change, and what better example to illustrate this point than something straight out to TV? About seven years abou, give or take, I was watching an episode of "Freaks and Geeks" on (an old, CRT, bowled-screen) TV. It seemed alright, as it dealt cheifly with the everyday lives of several high-school students, spread across several cliques, I could identify with in some way or another. It seemed just like any other teen show, nut unlike "Popular" or "Clueless", for which I never really cared, but somehow better. I liked it, in spite of some eerie sense of "something is a bit off here". Was it the clothes? The decoration? The cultural references (i.e., "Dallas", "Ker Plunk", "Mousetrap")? It didn't become clear until a makeshift grave for a pet came on screen, setting the storyline-wise recent date of death in the 80's. There it was, I had been assuming the show was set in actuality, because the idle chatter and the common quarrels and boggles of the characters seem current enough, in spite of the odd setting. So, there, some things appear no to change (much), but at age 40, the latest, you should know that not all that glimmers is gold (plenty of pyrite to 'round).

My point seems to have become a bit lost, I'll get straight back on it. Fortunately (though you can't read it), I just took some 15 minutes out to reminesce about "Freaks and Geeks" (I really liked that show), and it's mellowed me out a bit. My point is that no amount of age ever gives you the right to claim to know better and merely dismiss other, younger people's opinions with as little as a condescending head shake and a "No..". And if you ever do, that should automatically invalidate your right to ask that person for an opinion, help or a favour you can't do yourself because you don't know how, as your overinflated experience can't help you there, let alone accuse said person of ill-intent upon failure to comply, despit one's best efforts (too specific? Go figure...). And no amount of age ever ever ever puts you beyond reproach on any matter whatsoever. Get that through your senior skull!

So, in short... I used to be good at the "in short" bit, but these days... In short, know your bloody place. And I don't suppose that only applies to the elderly, but it just seemed to me the elderly needed a refresher course on that. So there...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark would like to remind you all that Epicurism isn't just some decrepit doctrine, but actually makes sense. And, if, for some reason, you're dying any faster than the rest of us or due any sooner than most, for the sake of all that you hold dear, don't just sit in a corner dying and bringing us all down over it, bloody get out there (metaphorically, of course, you might as well stay indoors, if you'd like) and bloody LIVE!!!

If you can read this, then you're reading past the end of the entry. You can stop now. Really, there's nothing more to read here. Oi, I mean it! Go away!!!

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