I was reading a news item when, suddenly, I started seeing ads for other articles that began with the words, “Try not to gasp…” Above each statement was a picture of a young celebrity whose popularity had come and gone. The hook lines were attempting to draw me in (as all hook lines do). They were doing so by showing a young and beautiful (or handsome) star and saying, “Try not to gasp when you see ________ as she (he) is now.
Basically, they were trying to get me to a different website to show me what people look like when they get older. Frankly, that might work on young folks, but it won’t work on me. All I have to do is look in the mirror. Give me a break. People grow old and they get wrinkled (or whatever). Gawking at pix of them in their more mature state isn’t my thing. I hope it’s not yours either. If it is, I’ll send you some before and after photos of me (for a very minimal fee).
Of course, we in this country (as well as the western world in general) tend to obsess on old age. I suppose it’s not old age as much as elderly appearances, but the two generally go hand in hand. While aging well is a desirable progression for most of us, there seems to be at least a small segment of the population that rejects the idea of aging at all.
I’m always amazed by the folks who either don’t want to talk about it or, when they do, want to talk about ways to stay young. I don’t know a lot, but I’m pretty sure remaining in a nubile state is not an option. The idea of staying young is appealing, but fighting physical maturity tends to be a losing battle—at least from my perspective.
I remember when the great baseball slugger, Ted Williams, passed away. His family had his head removed and cryogenically preserved. The idea behind doing so was the hope that someday his head could be attached to a healthy body and he could live on. I’m not sure, but that might be a bridge too far in the quest for the fountain of youth. I love science fiction, but to my way of thinking, that effort is a tad beyond the pale. When I die, just bury me—please.
Besides all that, I kind of like growing old. Of course, I could do without all the aches and pains. However, having white hair and wrinkles definitely has its perks. There are still a lot of people left in this world who give old geezers like me preferential treatment. There are senior citizen discounts and early-bird specials (and we’re always early these days). Best of all, being “too old” is a great excuse for almost anything I don’t want to do.
So, if you ever see a photo of me in my younger days, try not to gasp.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]