‘I’m Really Damn Old’

By John Addyman

Happy BirthdayI was sitting alone, wondering what had just happened.

I had a birthday.

My sister-in-law, Jean, and brother-in-law, Al, called me from Pennsylvania to sing Happy Birthday to me and Al reminded me, at the end, that I had a quickly declining number of years left before I hit 100.

He said that to me with all the enthusiasm of someone who thinks I can really do that.

I’m not so sure.

A couple of years ago when I hit my birthday and sat alone at the end of the night thinking about things, I came to a realization and said to myself, “I’m damn old.”

The next year, same situation, and I caught myself saying, “I’m really old.”

But this year, I found myself saying, “I’m really damn old. “

I haven’t figured out what next year is going to be, but new parts of speech will be added, I’m sure.

The birthday cards I got this year have also changed. In years prior, there was a bit of a hint of my advanced age.

But this time around, nobody was hinting.

Sitting around the dining room table, I got the idea that everyone was surprised I had the strength to open the cards and blow out my candles.

One card I got showed two pictures of a very comfortable dog in a reclining chair. One was labeled “napping.” The other was labeled “resting my eyes.”

They were both the same picture.

What was different about my birthday cards this year was that two mentioned boogers. I didn’t know there was a direct correlation between advanced age and boogers, so I went into the bathroom and looked at my nose very carefully: No boogers were evident. I looked on the floor, just to make sure I wasn’t leaving a trail of boogers wherever I went, but the floor was clean. Whew!

So I went back in and re-read the cards.

The first one told me that boogers are like years — the more you have, the harder it is to breathe.

The second one confided that this particular birthday card was made of recycled boogers.

You’d think that both of those cards would have come from my grandkids.

No, they were from my youngest and oldest daughters, one of whom wrote a little post script at the bottom: “Dad, you’re old as dirt.”

I am not making this up.

My wife, too, gave me a card, asking what Mozart is doing on my birthday.

“Decomposing,” that’s what.

On that note, my grandson Jaden made me a birthday card. Actually, it was a “Happy Birth Day” card, which rhymes with “Happy Earth Day,” which got me to thinking about decomposing again.

I know I’m not decomposing. I might be unknowingly turning into boogers, but I’m not decomposing. I get up every morning and walk to the bathroom and say, “Ouch, my knee hurts” and “Ooch, my ribs ache,” and “What is that mark on my leg?” and “Why does that thing on the back of my hand itch?” and “Were my eyes that color yesterday?”

I figure that decomposing probably doesn’t hurt, so because I hurt, therefore I am. Once upon a time I could have written that phrase in Latin, but I can’t do it anymore. Too many boogers in my brain.

My other grandkids, Jeremy and Lucie, got me a card that said they didn’t know whether to get me Cadillac or a BMW or a Thunderbird or a Jaguar or a Corvette, so they settled on a “Lincoln,” and inside the card was a penny. That was cute. No mention of my advanced age. Not a whisper about decomposition. And no references to boogers.

I’m glad I had another birthday. I’m glad I could share it with you. I got some great presents — long-sleeved shirts, record sleeves for my record collection, floor mats for my car (it’s not a Lincoln), a car cover, and Jaden’s present was the most coordinated — on his Birth Day card was an Eagle, a Philadelphia Eagle. And his gift was an Eagles sweatshirt.

What color was the Eagle logo on the shirt?

Booger green.

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