I’m madder than the 2,000-year-old man when he realized that his jokes wouldn’t fly with today’s jet-set over the fact that another year has passed and all I’ve gotten is an extra candle on my birthday cake.
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher is no spring chicken, and sometimes, while I’m riding my trusty steed Tornado down 86th Street instead of walking, you’ll hear me complain to myself about the so-called Golden Years aren’t so “golden.” In fact, they may be the opposite (but I don’t know exactly what that is).
Thankfully, whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, I’ve got old pals that cheer me up faster than my lovely wife Sharon can say “Carmine, your old pal Ed from Seattle is on the phone.”
Now, I don’t need to tell you that me and Ed were on the same swim team back when we were strapping young men going to Brooklyn Tech High School. So it’s no surprise he knows how to pull on ol’Carmy’s heart strings.
So you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that when I read his latest dispatch from Seattle, it brought a tear to my eye.
It’s about getting older, and how we should worry less about our age, and just be happy we’re able to complain about the price of milk.
Now’s the point in the column where I cut and paste from an e-mail to make word count, but this time I think it’s worth it:
“As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
“Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 am or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60s and 70s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
“I will walk the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet-set.
“They, too, will get old.
“I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
“Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car?
“But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
“I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.
“As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. You don’t question yourself anymore.
“I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become.
I understand I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
“May our friendship never come apart especially when it’s straight from the heart and travels across the country to remind me!”
Thanks Ed, in these turbulent and unbelievable times, I really needed these words of comforting wisdom.
To and yours, dear reader, I wish you a healthy, prosperous and a peaceful new year.
Screech at you next year!