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Three score and ten or more

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I have been struggli

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE THREE SCORE AND TEN

I have been struggling with what, of the many things on my mind, would be an appropriate post.  I then realized that, considering  the name of my blog, I have ignored the obvious.  

What is it like to be “three score and ten”? (seventy ).  Of course I can’t give a universal.  There are as many different reactions to seventy years old as there are people who have reached that age.  I sing in a community choir with another bass who is seventy and who runs two or three half marathons every year.  His wife, he says, runs marathons.  Have faith, I am not going to discuss my marathon career.  I used to have a twenty minute jogging career, but that was terminated by a combination of : 1. a quadruple bypass, 2. an ankle broken in a car accident (which ankle had to be rebuilt with screws and plates, 3. an infection in the leg which turned into cellulitis (a rotten infection that makes the leg swell up to twice its size, turn red, and drain yucky stuff into a bandage.  I would enclose a picture, but why upset that many stomachs?)  which spread into the hardware in my leg so that I have just come home from having nine screws and a mending plate removed from my ankle..  Now that is not necessarily part of being seventy, but it affects your seventy year old morale (and makes you fat from lack of excercize.)

For me, all infirmities aside (and there are more –sigh) being seventy essentially means that waitresses (servers, I forgot to be politically correct) talk to me as if I were about seven, or younger.  “WEEELLL Now, how would oo like thumb gooey sweet dessert, honey??” .   Your grandchildren who seemed to admire you and have fun with you become—the word isn’t really condescending, but it means that now they don’t want to stress you so they automatically pick up the remote and ask what program you want to watch because they assume that you can’t make the da…. thing work.  Most irritating is the loss of short term memory.   I took a Psycometrist’s  test about fifteen years ago and when he finished he brought me in for evaluation.  “Have you ever had and I Q test?” says he.  

“I think so,” I replied.

“Do you remember your score?”

“Nope. But I think it was pretty high”

“Well I have good news and bad news.  Your tested I Q is high enough that you would  probably qualify for MENSA (an organization of smart folks), but your short term memory is so bad that the next day you would be struggling to remember what you joined.”

I was bad then, but it is worse now.  I still remember the names of my wife and all six kids, and I even remember my grandkids although I occasionally call one by the name of another—I think, from now on, I will just call all of the FRED, and when I say FRED, the one that answers will get a treat.  Nothing is more frustrating than to try to write a note to an old friend and have to go in to your wife and ask  “What’s the name of my friend who is tall and blonde and is the Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts)  Fortunately I have retired and remembering his name is not really crucial.

Other than those minor inconveniences the most beneficial part of being seventy is that you have enough experience to know that no matter what miserable thing happened  today, you can’t change it, it is set in concrete, but if you think about it, you don’t have to do the same dumb thing today.  (Another dumb thing will do just as well.)

More about this later when I have thought about it . . . . . . Or not, if I have forgotten about it.

Don’t let the crap that happens get you down.  You can’t ever control the actions of other people, but you CAN control your reactions—and when you do, you’ll feel better.    

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