From the cradle to the grave… challenges for the aging male 


At our age we are faced with new decisions every day. A number of years ago a news headline caught my eye and it was true.  “A 67-year old British lady gave birth to twins this week, the oldest lady to give birth.” 

It seems the older we get the more we forget.  Medical news last week announced drinking alcohol shrinks your brain. Rock n’ Roll didn’t help either. Today’s news added that if you’ve had COVID the same thing happens. We need a break.
As we age we reach certain milestones in our lives.  I recall some of the labels placed on me through my growth stages. I was known as a: bouncing baby boy; little squirt, for obvious reasons; kid; pre-adolescent; teenager; good-for-nothing; young man; college boy; draftee;  husband; daddy; mature responsible man; middle aged; grandfather and now am getting closer and closer to that revered stage of “crazy old coot.”
Growing up male is a transition fraught with pain and suffering. From our earliest memories we were told, “You’re not old enough to do that. Wait till you get older.” Now it’s, “You’re too old to do that. You’ll kill yourself.”  What happened to all the good stuff in between?
I suppose I’m maturing at the correct rate. I try to wear clothes around the house now. I keep my nose and ear hair trimmed mostly. But I do have one problem that probably plagues most males in America. I forget to zip my fly on occasion. It’s not on purpose mind you. But it does happen.
Males have had the zipper challenge all their lives. And I bet there’s not one of us who has gotten up in front of the class to recite a poem or give a report that has not left his fly unzipped. Usually a girly giggle or your best buddy pointing south to warn you helped correct this malfeasance.
Leaving the barn door open is scary since it’s now known as one of the first signs of senility. That will scare a bunch of you.
How do you tell someone their zipper is open? What is socially acceptable? A soft whisper from the wife always works….”Hey honey, you left your fly open again.”

Other notifications might be….”XYZ –Examine Your Zipper”; “You’ve got Windows in Your Laptop” (a modern variation); “You’re Flying Low”; “Elvis Is Leaving the Building,” and many more too numerous or embarrassing to mention here. A quick fix is for the wife to sew the pants fly shut.
Once on a business trip to Chicago I stayed in an old hotel with human elevator operators. I left for dinner going down to the restaurant. The elevator attendant looked at me and said,   “Sir, it’s three o’clock.”
“No, it’s not. It’s 7 o’clock,” I replied. 
“Sir, your fly is open,” he answered.
Oh well, I’ll live with it and try to do better.

We are challenged every day.  It started in August of 1946. I got born. That means I’ve reached 75 years of age along with a whole bunch more of us. We’re the cutting edge of the “baby boomer” age group born between 1946 and 1964.
The medical community licked their chops waiting for us to arrive. They prepared with hip and knee joint replacement centers, heart and plumbing repair and more. Pharmacy companies scare the heck out of us with fancy cures but with horrendous side effects. 

“This med could cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, temporary impotence or insomnia but other than that it’s great.” We have created a statistical bulge. We’re a vanguard of sorts. Sociologists, retailers, insurance companies along with the medical community have been studying us for years. 
Last August I insisted on a low key family acknowledgement of my birthday event. I tried calling a friend near Columbia, South Carolina to wish him a happy birthday. We were born on the same day. I called his old telephone number. Somehow the lines were switched in the system and I kept getting an elderly lady.

I kept calling trying to make the number connect. She kept telling me her number was not the number I was calling. Go figure. After the fifth call we became telephone friends. Finally I promised her I would not call again and apologized. She closed our conversation by saying, “Have a blessed day.”  She removed my telephone frustration with those four comforting words.  Bless her heart. She knew I was having an age challenge. 
I learned later my friend was not accepting birthday wishes. He must have been having trouble “coming to terms” with his age.
I’m not whining about being 75. I’m lucky and blessed. Many my age lost their youth in Vietnam, premature death or in accidents, more recently, from COVID. Our current world situation seems to be desperately slipping into the same political morass. We veterans don’t say much about it but we think it. 
Our age group ushered in Monday Night Football. Dandy Don and Howard Cosell verbally dueled. More football was always welcome but it put many wives early to bed. Games lasted way past midnight. Today, I’m lucky to keep my eyes open long enough to finish watching the so called 7 p.m. opinion news. 
Larry Csonka turned 75 this year too. He played for the Miami Dolphins.  I loved watching him mow down linebackers. He just fishes now. Cher along with her navel or maybe her new navel is 75. Other birthday folks include cuties Lonnie Anderson, Candice Bergen, Naomi Judd, Linda Ronstadt, Connie Chung, Sally Field and Laura Bush.
Some of the guys include Reggie Jackson, Danny Glover, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Buffett, Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump, Bob Vila, Deepak Chopra, Bill Clinton, and George Bush.
For better or worse, we’re in a pretty good group. We’re not middle age any more. If so we would be living till 120 years old. I like to think of our age now as the “Sunrise Years,” we’re lucky to wake up every morning to see the sun rise. 
I’ve come to terms with turning 75. Every time I start thinking about my age I pick up my guitar and start singing, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”


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