I recently attained the age of 75. I say attained because turning implies some semblance of control. Not that I have totally lost control of the muscles required for turning, yet there is most certainly a reason I no longer attempt skate-boarding.
Some might say I have reached 75. Considering the inference that reaching includes mentally grasping , my ability to grasp anything as fleeting as age,…well…let’s just say I celebrated my seventy-fifth completed year of life.
Often during such annual celebrations, I am asked to recall memorable moments from years gone by. Not so this year. No one actually asked me to reminisce about my maturating process over the past 75 years. Most likely because no one actually considers that I have done all that much maturing. As a boy, I couldn’t wait to “grow up.” My dad had that same sentiment, but I think he had a totally different context to his all too frequent question; “Son, will you ever grow up?”
I have a very sneaky alter ego which often lures me to severe regressions in age. Boys desire to become men. Men realize there is always a boy tempting them to think and act much younger. At 75, thinking young is diametrically opposed to attempting to accomplish youthful acts. It’s not just my alter ego which is frequently bruised.
With regard to bruising, I believe the major difference between boys and men is that boys consider such skin discoloration as some sort of machismo validation. Men, on the other hand, are only embarrassed to tell how they unwittingly collided with some solid object. For me, that object is often the earth while playing a boys game. At 65 I began stumbling over first base. At 70 my feet could not keep up with my nose about half way to first base. If I was still playing, I’d bet I’d never get out of the batters box.
Another aspect of the variance between boys and men is sex. Research suggests that boys reach their peak of sexual interest between 10 and 20—men hit their peak about 10:20 in the evening. As a boy, I never contemplated my parents in a sexual situation. However, I suspect my parents did wonder if they should have contemplated that aspect of life more thoroughly before one particular sexual situation. Don’t misunderstand me. I never heard either of my parents disparage my birth. Of course, they did often mitigate my actions with consideration that I was in fact born on Halloween.
One last thought that passed through my mind during the day of my birth celebration: I distinctly remember wearing “hand-me-down” clothing from my cousin. Frankie lived in Texas. As far as clothing styles go, Texans were far ahead of Michiganders. Frankie’s growth spurts were ahead of mine so his outgrown clothing became my avant-garde supply chain.
Oh, boy, when he sent me khakis with a buckle in the back, I was instantly in the totally hip group. Unfortunately, regardless of what pants I wore, being a nerdy pip-squeak soon exiled me from hip-cat clique. Ah, but I did get to wear clothing that fit my desired personality.
Contrary to my youthful desires to wear clothing that fit my personality, as a man I just hope the clothes in my closet today will fit next year. No longer do I have pants with a stylish buckle in the back. Lately, about the only belt I can still buckle is in the car. I don’t know what brand of soap Sue uses, but my pants are tightening up faster than shrink-wrap in the desert.
Aging from boy to man is a gradual process and one which often provides benchmarks to revisit,