I looked at a picture of myself the other day. Really looked for a change, not my typical glance where I see what I want to see, not what really is. “Where did that nose come from,” I asked myself. It didn’t look right, not how I thought it should look. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I do the same thing when I look in the mirror. I look more with my memory than with my eye; the image reflected back to me is decades younger than the guy looking in. Apparently, I do the same thing with pictures. The big lie (and the big nose) was exposed. I was a little shocked.
Then, I noticed the ears. They weren’t mine! I never had saucers sticking out of the side of my head like that. This must be some cruel trick. But, it wasn’t. Something was going on here that I must have skipped when I read my copy of the Old Coot Manual (a journey through old age). Big nose? Big ears? Is this for real? I went to Mister Google. It’s for real. Your bones stop growing after puberty; muscle and fat cells stop dividing. But, cartilage, that plastic like substance that forms the structure of your nose and ears, that continues to grow until the day you die. Not only does it grow, but also the earlobes elongate from gravity as does the flat outer sides of your nose. A new you enters the mirror. And in pictures as well.
Just great! If this keeps up, I’ll eventually have to braid my earlobes and tie them behind my neck and buy glasses with wider and wider nosepieces. So, here I am, big nose, big ears, arm muscles that are powered by rubber bands. Waiting in dread (and in tears) in a seat in the middle of the row at a movie theater for a leg cramp to subside so I don’t have to swim over my seatmates to the aisle to kick it out. Yet, it’s the best time of my life! A period of low expectations. Nobody expects much of you when you’re an old coot. “Look at the old guy; he just climbed up on the roof and cleaned the gutters. Amazing!” Equivalent to climbing to the top of Mount Everest. We take advantage of it, us old guys. None of that, “Failure is not an option,” macho stuff for us. Failure is our best friend. It evokes pity, which is way underrated. It’s as good as, if not better than, praise. No need to look with apprehension to getting old. It truly is the golden age of your life. Enjoy it when it comes. Big nose and all.
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