At our recent meeting a member remarked that he had read somewhere (probably Billy’s Weekly Liar) that research has shown that people who grumble and complain the most, live the longest. This seemed like good news until the resident clever clogs pointed out that it could be that due to the ageing process we have many more things to complain about.
Our constitution clearly states that we are not allowed to ask any other member “How are you?” because it would take too long as they competed for the title of most pills, most operations and most areas of deterioration. Something like an organ recital.
But this restriction was circumvented when someone asked if we could answer the question posed by Shakespeare in Henry IV Part II.
“Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about blasted with antiquity?”
“All of that and more” was the unanimous cry, although a member did say (we all knew it anyway) that he was never short of wind.
Then we got some examples regarding the single wit bit, and how our lives have changed due to our physical decline.
“My back goes out more than I do.”
“A night on the tiles means I’ve been doing a lot of grouting.”
“I need help to get the rocking chair started.”
“I go on a trip down memory lane and find a ‘road closed’ sign.”
“I stop to think and then can’t get started again.”
“I’m starting to disengage with gravity.” We all knew what he meant. He falls over a lot. Then someone remarked that the problem with getting old these days was that we had to learn how to use those blessed computers. One member said that he had changed his password to “incorrect” and it saved him a lot of time. Then there are the mobile phones and credit cards and we were told a story by a member who said “his friend” (we knew who he meant) got into trouble when he used his credit card for the first time. He had been told that everyone was security conscious these days and his best plan was to do as instructed. Not knowing what to do at the checkout he showed his card and the girl said: “ Strip facing me”. Taking the advice too literally he was quickly apprehend by security to the astonishment and probably disappointment of the people behind him in the queue.
The question was then asked that surely there were some advantages of getting old. There was a long silence which was eventually broken when somebody said:
“I don’t need to get drunk anymore because I can get the same effect by standing up quickly.”
“Well my wife doesn’t get headaches any more at bedtime and she believes my excuses when I get home late.” Despite the statement being greeted with nods of approval, the chairman warned that we were in danger of appearing sexist if we went down that route.
“We always have the excuse of it being a ‘senior moment’ for any of our misdemeanours but have to be careful not to use it too often” was accepted as very sound advice. Then someone said: “The older I get the better I was” and we were then reminded of the three stages in our life that are;
1. When we are young we blame our parents for everything.
2. When we are middle aged we blame our children for everything.
3. When we get old we blame everybody for everything.
At this point the chairman remarked that he thought the day’s topic was supposed to be about the hypocrisy of some football managers, of some lawyers, of some politicians, of some NHS executives and of President Putin, and that unfortunately we had almost run out of time.
How apt was the concluding remark made by a member. “All that hypocrisy will still be there at the next meeting. Today we’ve had a good chat and a few laughs about the problems of getting old. Perhaps we should remember that some people are denied that opportunity.”