Biff America: Wishes, fishes and aging (column)
‘Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow.’ I never bought into that old adage of the ’50s; I have huge respect for gals who sweat. Case in point, the three young ladies I passed on the trail yesterday, looked fast, were sweating like stallions and one of them smelled like salmon.
I have found, since reaching middle age that I have become invisible to young people. I used to be the cool old dude in our neighborhood. Kids would come over to watch me work on bikes and ask me to fix theirs. Now they lean their bikes against my garage and leave a note. Later on their mothers will drop off cookies.
Actually I consider myself at the sweet spot of years — old enough to get good deals, yet young enough to enjoy them. That’s not to say I’m resolved to age gracefully. Yes sun, injuries and a lifestyle of attempting to keep my mate in sight have taken a toll. But to fight the aging process I’ve availed myself to many of the health and anti-aging fads that, according to an ‘Anchorman’ quote, “60 percent of the time it works every time.” My personal acupuncturist and holistic health consultant Hop-Sing King, has me on a hat trick of health products. For over a month now I’ve been taking a daily dose of bee-pollen, fish oil and newt semen. I’ve never felt better in my life — especially now that I’m losing my memory.
There is no group more prone to ignore me than 20-30 year old young gals. I can understand that. I probably remind them of a creepy uncle.
I was out for a ride on one of the few hot days we get in the summer. Living at over nine thousand feet above sea level you have to be prepared for changing weather. On this particular day that wasn’t the case. In fact I had to talk myself out of carrying any clothing other than what I was wearing. Truth is if I didn’t look like a sun-damaged shaved monkey without my shirt on I might have ridden topless.
The hill was a perfect storm of pain — long, loose and not steep enough to justify walking. And to make matters worse, standing on top were three, fast-looking ladies waiting for me to crest so they could head down the hill I just climbed.
They were the same age as an expensive bottle of Scotch and, respectfully, ignored my grunting as I approached. It is funny how men seldom grow up. Here I was, a married man old enough to be their grandparent, yet I still cared enough to pretend that I wasn’t suffering on that hill.
Much to my delight, I got to the top without having a stroke. I was sweating like a dyslexic playing scrabble. One of the three asked for directions as the other two got ready to descend. It was tight at the top of that hill and we all had to squeeze around each other. I was feeling old, tired and invisible but I had an olfactory Deja-vu of a muggy day on a Cape Cod beach at low tide.
I didn’t know if it was shampoo, deodorant or laundry detergent but one of those gals smelled like a crab trawler. I should also point out that, due to lifestyle choices in the ’80s, I have a diminished sense of smell. In other words if I can smell you, your odor is strong enough to peel paint.
Now granted there should be no joy taken in another’s misfortune but I have to say the first thing I thought of after those gals departed was I might not be as young, strong or attractive as I once was, but at least I don’t smell like Moby Dick.
It was downhill all the way home. It felt good to have the breeze dry the sweat on my overheated body. It was while hanging my bike in the garage that I once again got a whiff of the seafood odor. It dawned on me that it wasn’t those young ladies that smelled like a flounder, it was me.
I went directly to the refrigerator and looked at the dosage on the fish oil bottle. My problem was in the fact that I did not put on my glasses before reading the directions for the first time. Recommended dosage of fish oil is two ‘CAPfuls’ a day … not two CUPful’s…………
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/p
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