Nov. 26, 2007: Reflections On Growing Another Year Older


I have survived another birthday and am happy to report that I am still on the right side of the grass. Don’t scoff. At my age, that is becoming a big deal. Getting old is not for sissies. Today, I have body parts that ache constantly that I wasn’t even aware I possessed a few years ago.

There are some definite advantages to old age. Political correctness is about as important to me as warts on a boar hog. I don’t and won’t hyphenate any class of people who are American citizens. You are either an American or you are not. And there is no place in my lexicon for the term “undocumented workers.” The reason these workers are “undocumented” is that they are “illegal” (as in “prohibited by law”). As a matter of principle, I refuse to learn to speak Spanish in order to do business in my country, even though truth in advertising compels me to admit that I once made an “A” in high school Spanish. The same truth requires me to tell you that I got that grade because the future Woman Who Shares My Name did my homework for me. I don’t think I ever got around to telling her “gracias” for her unselfish act on my behalf. What a gilipollas I was!

Old age gives one a better perspective on life. Today, it is less about wealth and status and more about enjoying the simple things in life. I get goose bumps every time I see the sunrise at St. Simons Island. Chocolate tastes better. So does sweet tea. I get weepy-eyed every time I hear the late great Ray Charles sing “Georgia on My Mind`” and wonder what streak of good fortune put me here in the Great State of Georgia and not in some dippy place like Vermont, where everybody talks funny — if they talk at all.

Alas, old age tends to make one less tolerant. I don’t like broccoli and will only eat it under the direst of circumstances — like the threat of having it shoved up my nose by my esposa amorosa. I don’t like dogs that bark and people who yell. I don’t like scumbags who burn the American flag just because it is not against the law nor the media that glorify them. I don’t like self-important actors who assume we plebeians give a rat’s fanny about their left-leaning political views, and I am beginning to have a hard time liking lawyers who try with a straight face to convince us that the Brian Nichols case is all about the fairness of the American justice system. Both groups need to join the real world.

My major complaint about growing older is that marketing people in this country don’t care a jot or tittle about older Americans. They seem to cater to those simpletons with nose studs and belly rings who can’t utter a simple sentence without “you know” in it. Marketers haven’t figured out yet that a lot of we old folks have a fair amount of expendable income and a lot of time in which to decide how and where to spend it. And I sure won’t spend mine in any store where the overhead music is louder than a Boeing 747 during takeoff.

Despite my assorted aches and pains and gripes, I am grateful to have been granted one more year on this earth. When I am gone — which I hope isn’t anytime soon — I want my obituary to highlight the fact that I was president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association and was named the university’s outstanding alumnus one year. That might get me a leg up on qualifying for heaven since it is a theological fact that God is a Georgia Bulldog. After all, what other school can you name that has been blessed with two Rhodes scholars — the same number as Harvard and Princeton — and the state football championship all in the same year?

You knew I was going to sneak that in, didn’t you? Some things never change. Even in old age. Woof! Woof!