I find that my most favorite part of going to the gym is running on the treadmill. Not because I enjoy running. Far from it. In fact, if it were acceptable, I would bring rollerblades or a bike to the gym so the time on the death wheel would be easier.
No, I enjoy the treadmill because it gives me at least a solid 10 minutes to watch people. The past time of people watching never wears thin with me, and dependant upon the context of the situation, I can expect a wide array of interesting and intriguing individuals. While there were much fewer people at the gym this morning than during the afternoon hours, I was still able to have a few subjects to study. Including one, Mr. Really Old Athletic Man.
I have to say, I admire those individuals who don’t let the ravages of time [including high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, failing organs, loss of eyesight, hearing, and hair, as well as a multitude of other undesirable tolls] take hold of them so easily. Here was a man, obviously well into his 60’s who was probably in better shape than I, moving from one machine to another and lifting weight after weight. And I thought He is in as good a shape as someone more than half his age!
But then it hit me. He’s still old. Wicked wicked old. His mind thinks differently than mine does. He has totally different experiences, likes, dislikes, preferences, and beliefs than I do. Now, I know I could find an equally opposite person from myself within my own peer group. But the thing that makes me noticably different from that of the old man is just that; he’s old.
I began to think about age and such, and thought to myself something that actually made me laugh while running [thereby almost causing me to fall and smash my face open on the handles that register my heart rate, only to be immediately flung off the treadmill and onto the floor]. What will our generation be like 30, 40 or even 50 years from now? Can you picture it?
Let me help you, then.
Imagine, if you will, a group of elderly men and women, sitting around a living room in a retirement home, TV muted on the other side of the room. They are enjoying a game of cards [large print version] while taking sips out of a coffee mug or cup. Music is playing lightly in the background, and an old man and woman croon along softly with the lyrics.
Doesn’t that seem sweet?
But remember, this is us, decades from now. So let me reset the scene for you.
A group of elderly men and women are sitting around a living room in their retirement home, with the 57th season of Real World on [this season, a girl gives birth to her roommates baby]. They are finishing up a game of asshole, soon to be followed by fuck the dealer, while drinking Long Islands and Captain and Cokes. Two of them start singing along with the stereo…
I’ll let you lick the lollypop
Go ‘head girl, don’t you stop
Keep going till you hit the spot
I’ll take you to the candy shop
Boy one taste of what I got
I’ll have you spending all you got
Keep going till you hit the spot
Seems a little different now, huh?
It makes you think, though. Once our generation reaches the ripe old age of social security worthiness, we won’t just stop enjoying the things we do. We’ll be nostalgic for music like Missy Elliott, Coldplay, The Killers and [my favorite, anyways] Rilo Kiley. When we’re bored, we’ll pop in some of our favorite movies, ranging from Requiem for a Dream to Old School to Kill Bill. And when we tell a joke that the younger generation will just roll their eyes at, it will be something along the lines of Just the way your mother likes it, Trebek!
Everything we listen to, everything we watch, everything we say and everything we do. It will all be considered old. We could be walking down the hall, accidentaly stub a toe or break a hip, and yelp Fuck! That shit hurt! and no one will question the langauge we use, yet we will be criticized for trying to rockaway or thunderclap at our delicate and frail age.
It seems that age is always to be accompanied with ridicule, regardless of how in the know you feel yourself to be. No longer are the old considered wise and someone to revere. They are but a financial burden, viewed as feeble and senile [personally, the only thing I believe the old and young to have in common is that they think they are always right…which is impossible, because I’m always right]. And while it is true that age does not always come with wisdom [sometimes it just comes with wrinkles], it always arrives with the sudden realization that things are changing. This realization more than likely comes through many different catalysts; not understanding what a younger person is saying, critiquing and comparing their music and yours, and finally…the dreaded words…
I remember, when I was your age…
Even at the tender age of 21, I can tell I’m beginning to show some signs. Too many times have I said reminisced about how things were when I was a child, and looked at the current children of today with a feeling of disgust.
For example, remember when you could play for hours with toys that didn’t light up, shoot things, explode, or use batteries? My favorite toy as a kid was the Ghostbuster’s Firehouse, which is nothing compared to some of the toys found in the stores today.
Or McDonald’s. Remember when you would get a Happy Meal, which was the best put together meal ever?! A fun box with puzzles and games, an amazing toy. Not like today, where you get a paper bag, food just dropped in like it were trash [well…], and a choking hazard. Thrilling.
And finally, does anyone ever remember swearing or being as much of a piece a shit as kids are nowadays? Because when I was in 3rd grade, I didn’t know half of the stuff these degenerates know. If you agree with this, then you have indeed started to get old.
The one thing I must always keep in mind to stave off the feelings of decrepidness and growing wrinkles is Mr. Really Old Athletic Man. It seems that, in his pure denial of aging and sagging, he has faught off the negative repercussions of gaining more birthday candles and still lives life. In still managing to stay in shape, it gives me hope that he has found other ways to remain happy in his age and lifestyle.
I probably hate his music, movie, television and recreation preferences, though. But that can’t be helped. I’m going to be a cool old man.