The Old Coot adjusts to change

I bring my own napkins! I have to! Too many restaurants only give you a single, paper napkin these days. It’s just not enough, especially when you are having soup and your nose threatens to embarrass you, and say, “Gotcha!” My problem is, the paper napkin I’ve been issued is quickly overloaded with ketchup, mustard, mayo, gravy or whatever substance was on my plate that I had to remove from my shirt, pants or places on my face nowhere near my pie hole. 

“How did you get ketchup on your ear,” my wife will ask? “I have no idea,” I respond, desperately looking around for a waiter or waitress, to secure a new napkin, something that is apparently too costly to let customers have more than one at a time. So, I bring my own. That bulge in my back pocket isn’t a wallet; it’s an emergency paper napkin supply.

It’s my fault, along with the rest of my crowd, “People of Age.” We’re the ones who lined our pockets (and pocket books) with packets of mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, sugar and whatever else wasn’t nailed down, for years on end, forcing restaurants to control the supply of condiments (and paper napkins) in order to stay in business. I know more than a few people of my vintage who haven’t bought ketchup, mustard, and the like in decades. So, now I’m saddled with carting around a supply of paper napkins in my back pocket.

It’s even worse in a nice, upscale restaurant where they entrust, even old coots like me, with expensive cloth napkins. I skip the soup in those places, but my nose isn’t prevented from causing me trouble; it acts as though I was slurping a steaming hot bowl of soup. And, the nose I’m sporting these days, has grown as I’ve aged. Just like my ears. Just like all old guys noses and ears. We get shorter as our bones settle, but our facial protuberances get longer. It’s the truth! I don’t want to scare readers in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, but it’s in your future too.

I probably should have issued a “spoiler alert” at the beginning of this article, so you wouldn’t have to discover yet another reason to hang on to the falsehood that you will never get old and look like us. I remember thinking that when I walked around in an intact human mechanism. I still spend too many moments in denial of the aging process to this day. So, here I am, big nose, big ears and a wad of napkins in my back pocket.    

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