Progression toward dotage | Mark’s Remarks


It’s funny to look back on past columns. When I started writing this, I had a preschooler and two boys in elementary school. I wrote about little league and picking up random socks and escaping to the bathroom to catch up on my reading.

Those kids are all grown up now – besides the one we had a little later who is approaching her teenage years at a far-too-rapid pace. 

But I’ve been writing this column long enough to realize how often I resort to the same common themes.  I have written about how aggravating people (including myself) are and how they bother me; far, far too many times. I’ve written about the trials teachers face on a regular basis. I’ve written way too often about being in awe of the human condition; parenting, the passing of time, how things used to be, and so on.  

Sometimes, I bore myself. So, I can imagine how you must feel.

So here I go again.  I feel I must address aging once more.

It started a few months ago. I began to notice that every so often, a random hair appears in various areas around my upper torso, neck and head. It seems to always be the same length too, which baffles me. It is white and silver, if that is even a color. 

The first time I noticed it, I think it had had a dose of Miracle Gro and sprouted from my nose seemingly overnight. However, it struck fear in my heart that I may have been walking around with that long nose hair hanging out of my nose, going unnoticed, for maybe even days.

If that is true, no one said a thing. Maybe they didn’t say anything because it was something they could point at and laugh at.  

I can’t blame them. I would have done the same thing.

So, I plucked that sucker out. It made my eyes water and I thought I’d seen the last of it. However, I’m convinced that same demonic hair grew back a few days later. This time, it was curled luxuriously off my left ear in a bit of a flip; it was mocking me. 

I followed the same procedure again, only to eventually see the exact same hair on my shoulder, in the other nostril, and at least one more time in one of my ears. It must have retreated to under skin tunnels and popped back up, much like an annoying yard mole.

I’m telling you, it’s the same hair. I keep watch for it each day. Let me know if you see it.

So in addition to talking about weird hairs growing here and there, I also am a little amazed and appalled about how suddenly my memory seems to come and go. It’s isn’t like an alarming thing, but I am forgetting things I thought I’d never forget.  

I’m forgetting the last names of people. I’m forgetting incidents that at one time were fond memories.   I’m “filing” thoughts as I used to and then completely forgetting what I was just thinking about.  

The “where was I?” that we interject into sentences is becoming more frequent.   The time I spend trying to pull up the thought in my recall channel is maddening.  

Is there some vitamin I should be taking?

I look at people my age and feel most of us look pretty good, are vibrant, lively people with youthful qualities and hip-n-happenin’ ideas. When I picture myself walking around, I still picture myself as a somewhat skinny person in his 30s. 

I now understand why some of my older relatives, back in the day, never wanted their picture taken.

But, I kid you not, three of us youthful and vibrant people were standing in the hallway the other day talking about how our feet hurt. I interjected how my shoulder and neck were out of whack, and how moving and running up and down stairs unloading boxes had messed up my hip and leg.  We talked about medication, about preferred chiropractors, and about rugs with spongy cushions on the bottom which may be good to stand on while we teach. 

 I said, “Man, if your feet feel good, the rest of you feels good.”  

All of us agreed with a longing sigh. 

Then, we spent some time recommending exercises and lamenting the beauty of getting a massage.  

The funny thing is, this was not the first time I had stood around and talked about aches and pains. In fact, if teachers were honest, we would admit our feet, legs and backs hurt when we were in our 30s.  Even those of us who think we are fit as fiddles. This profession and sore feet go hand in hand.

My vibrant, youthful coworkers finished our discussion talking about online links we could share for various old age coping mechanisms. You know, like massage chairs and foot baths and ointments.  Heat treatments, cortisone injections, multi-vitamins.  I could go on and on.

 I walked away thinking, “Are we really at the point where socializing involves talking about our ailments and medication?”

And then, as is my usual response these days, I busted out laughing. 

Might as well get as much comedy out of situations as long as possible.

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