Monthly Archives: January 2013

On The Joys of Growing Older

Have you noticed that stairs are getting steeper?  Groceries are heavier.  And everything is farther away.  Yesterday I walked to the corner and I was dumbfounded to discover how long our street had become!

And, you know, people are less considerate now, especially the young ones.  They speak in whispers all the time!  If you ask them to speak up they just keep repeating themselves, endlessly mouthing the same silent message until they’re red in the face!  What do they think I am – a lip reader?

I also think they are much younger than I was at the same age.  On the other hand, people my own age are so much older than I am.  I ran into an old friend the other day and she has aged so much that she didn’t even recognize me.

I got to thinking about the poor dear while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so, I glanced at my own reflection…well, really now – even mirrors are not made the way they used to be!

Another thing, everyone drives so fast these days!  You’re risking life and limb if you happen to pull onto the freeway in front of them.  All I can say is, their brakes must wear out awfully fast, the way I see them screech and swerve in my rear view mirror.

Clothing manufacturers are less civilized these days.  Why else would they suddenly start labeling a size 10 or 12 dress as 18 or 20?  Do they think no one notices? The people who make bathroom scales are pulling the same prank.  Do they think I actually believe the number I see on that dial?  Ha!  I would never let myself weigh that much!  Just who do these people think they’re fooling?

I’d like to call up someone in authority to report what’s going on — but the telephone company is in on the conspiracy too: they’ve printed the phone books in such small type that no one could ever find a number in there!


“I’m Fine Thank You!”

There is nothing the matter with me

I’m as healthy as I can be

I have arthritis in both my knees

And when I talk I talk with a wheeze.

My pulse is weak, and my blood is thin

But I’m awfully well for the shape that I’m in


Arch supports I have for my feet

or I wouldn’t be able to be on the street.

Sleep is denied me night after night

But every morning I find I’ m alright

My memory is failing, my head is in a spin.

But I’m awfully well for the shape I am in.


Old age is golden- I’ve heard it said

But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed

With my ears in the drawer, my teeth in a cup

My eyes on the table until I wake up

E’re sleep overtakes me I say to myself

Is there anything else I can lay on the shelf?


How do I know that my youth is all spent?

Well my “Get up and go” has got up and went

But I really don’t mind when I think with a grin

Of all the grand places my “Get up” has bin.


The moral of this as my tale unfold

That for you and me who are growing old

It’s better to say “I’m fine” with a grin

Than to let folks know the shape we are in.

Hey Pop, Got Any New Apps?

Does the question stop you in your tracks or do you calmly look down you nose and reply, “Sure do! Downloaded another 6 yesterday!” Do your grandchildren and great- grandchildren look at you as though you’ve just dropped in from another planet that’s been drifting around in outer-space for the past millennium? Are you using a smart-phone and are you online 24 hours a day? Note: a smart-phone means a mobile telephone such as an iPhone, a Galaxy, a Blackberry or one of the many others with the tiny little buttons. Does your have an Android operating system? Back in the 50’s an Android was a robot designed to resemble a human. He grew up to be a phone…

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night, sweating from a recurring nightmare. I am running down a street that is just about 80 years long. On one side technology is passing me, jeering and howling as they go. On the other side are grandchildren, shrieking with laughter at the old man trying to keep up and falling further and further behind with each step.

It doesn’t help that you went to college or university in the 50s, or that you ran a successful business or practice in your profession for 40 years. You are now hopelessly out of date and unable to hold an intelligent conversation with your 8 year old grandson who can re-program your old steam-operated phone in seconds.

“My phone doesn’t seem to be working!”
“Pass it here, Pop, I’ll fix it.”

A split second later the phone is back in your hands and working perfectly. “You really should upgrade, Pop. You will even be able to text grandma!”

Who’s going to show her where the GPS is so she can look for the message?

Retirement Homes In Danger of Flooding

This evening I watched an ‘episode’ of “60 Minutes”, the BBC program that covers many fascinating subjects. This one was about the rapid development of mechanical Robots and the anticipated effects on the world at large and labor markets in particular.

Robots have been in the minds of men for years, most of them incorporated into scary or comical movies, but according to 60 Minutes there has been a recent upsurge in robot-use. Robots are being designed to fulfill many tasks which up to now have been handled exclusively by men. Tasks of fetching, carrying and sorting are ideal for card-reading robots who handle the jobs smoothly, effortlessly and, of course cheaply. Even operating a vacuum-cleaner is now listed as a robot job – well, it didn’t require a rocket scientist in the first place, but some of the maids were nice to look at…

So you will not be surprised one of these days when you receive a pink slip – sent by a robot, of course, informing you that your job in the warehouse just went down the tubes. And when your neighbor’s pill-sorting job disappears the next week, you will understand what’s happening and soon you will be right at home with all the guys who have lost their jobs to robots and to the fact that there are no more jobs anywhere.

The next step, not covered by 60 Minutes, shows the crowds knocking at the gates of the retirement homes.

“We are retirees, let us in!” they shout. And the gate swings open and they pour in.

After the third week the retirement home management will lock the gates and shout back “Go away! We are full! There’s no more space in here!”

Nah, this just a funny story I dreamed up here on the couch.

Isn’t it?

Let’s See How Much You Learned On the Way to the Retirement Home

Senior’s qualifying Exam; you only need correct answers to 4 out of 10 questions to be allowed into the retirement home as a resident.

1) How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI’s first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?


Remember, you need only 4 correct answers to pass.

Check your answers below…



1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs

7) What was King George VI’s first name?Albert

8 ) What color is a purple finch? Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange

You didn’t make it, right?

But don’t give up on spending your golden years on your own. You could still qualify.

You now have to pass other tests to see if you are suitable and compatible.

The social compatibility test.

The financial stability test.

The age test. Yes we can see that you are old. But we don’t want you in here if you’re too old or if you’re not old enough.

Hi-Tech In the Retirement Home? Yeah Right!

After 11 months of residence in the retirement and fielding hundreds of complaints from my wife, I agreed to try and put a message on our phone. I have tried it many times and I cannot understand the instructions. Now I tried it once to make sure it was still impossible to understand and came to the same conclusion; it cannot be done – by me anyway. There is an instruction on the phone. All the words are stuck together with no breaks or slow-downs. It’s one long screed of instructions. I’m sure it starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. Finally I admitted it. “I’m licked! We need a grandchild in here, someone who has the same education as this voice on the phone.”

I went through the list quickly: one at university, one free for another couple of hours, one in the army and three in school. They of course would be delighted to come and help. I called Number 2. She arrived smiling half an hour later and I briefed her. 30 seconds later we had a clear concise message telling the caller where he or she was. “What was the problem, Pop?”

Remember how simple all these pesky little things were? You had something to do; you read the instructions and in no time at all the job was done. I think we older citizens should begin a campaign: if we can’t understand the instructions by the second reading, we won’t buy the product. Furthermore, if the instructions are not in the local language we are not buying.

Something else is happening too – have you noticed this: when you call your middle-aged son or daughter – all golden agers have middle aged children – to help you with something their immediate response is: I’ll get back to you I have to ask my son/daughter. The hi-tech revolution seems to have skipped an entire generation. All those in favor of a lo-tech retirement home, raise their hands.


Roger Federer Is Joining the Retirement Home Tennis Team

Roger Federer is an amazing tennis player. The man is unbeatable. He zips around the court like an 18 year old, sending back impossible shots, fielding balls way out of his reach. We need him on our team and we are going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. It’s time our tennis court was upgraded to the next level.

Come here for your retirement, Rog. We have unlimited tennis facilities and there are other sports being played here if you’ve if you’ve had enough with the little yellow ball. Your forehand shot will work smoothly here in the coffee lounge and I daresay your backhand will work overtime settling many arguments about chairs, coffee and such important matters. Retirement homes are not for retired old people who totter around aimlessly all day in search of things they cannot remember. We have decided to take in retired people of all ages. If you are a 33 year old and retired, this place is for you.thCAO1TMO2

Another thing, Roger, bring the kids with you. We are awash in grand-children and great grand-children, but we are pitifully short on regular children. We’ll get your kids out on the tennis court teaching some of the more athletic retirees how to smash the ball back over the net.

In addition, Roger, the accommodation is good and the food is great. Perhaps you will be able to convince the management to build a small bar in the lounge once you have converted this place to a genuine sporting retirement facility. It is you that will be introducing the sports end of this the retirement home. Oh yes, bring your Rolex with you, Roger.

Election Fever Hits the Retirement Home

Today is an election day which the government has turned into a sort of unofficial public holiday. In the retirement home we are rejoicing – we really need an extra holiday. All the residents need a direction and telling them that today is a holiday is a clear indication of what is expected. The coffee lady is not present and the coffee machine in the lounge is silent, no members of the cleaning staff are in sight although the front reception desk remains manned. There is a constant stream of residents heading out of the door and making their way across the street to the school which is our appointed polling station.

Inside the school they will add to the long line of would-be walkers, caregivers and wheelchair drivers waiting to do their civic duty. Once they have cast their vote they will stroll back home to the retirement home and hang out in the lounge or in any place where there are chairs and company. This will be different hanging out to that of a working day. On working days we hang out any place where there are chairs and company.

The same applies to the afternoon nap. On all afternoons we take a nap after lunch. On a holiday like today we also take a nap after lunch. But somehow it’s a different nap. There is no feeling of guilt at napping in the middle of the day. So all in all we are enjoying the extra holiday. The election results? Hell, we don’t care about those – it’s the holiday that counts…

The Retirement Home No-Cholesterol Payback Diet

Oh how we used to eat, to gorge ourselves on all those wonderful tasting foods in fancy restaurants. Remember the huge steaks and fries that followed an order of goose liver savories and the chicken liver patés? Remember the pure chocolate mousses that we finished with followed by the Irish coffee with pure cream? Do you ever think back to those cholesterol packed days?

Well, I have news for you. Your retirement home days are also known as the “pay-back days”. If your digestive system is still operating after the high cholesterol meals, the fiery hot curries, the fat filled sea foods this is where you dine on the opposites. It’s a world of salt-less, spice-less, fat-less, butter-less and taste-less fare. You are now smacking your lips at the thought of yet another early bird dinner of Omega 3 loaded fish followed by a steaming cup of Green Tea to brighten your evening.

Of course you are allowed to eat the occasional orange for the vitamin C and spice up the diet with a little garlic to keep other bugs away. Garlic will also keep unwanted relatives, neighbors and pests away. The Omega 3 will keep your brain cells well lubricated and nimble and the Green Tea, a powerful antioxidant, will stop rust from attacking the metal parts of your memory cells. There are some new discoveries that we have on our diet: one is chocolate which I have been shouting about for years and another is red wine, another personal favorite. In addition we are all getting a bunch of vitamins and when no one is watching we sneak odd shots of single malt whiskey, one of the world’s great lubricants, to keep our joints in shape.


Mozart, You Would Have Lived To 100 In A Retirement Home!

Every morning I drop into the chair in front of the computer and with a click of the mouse I turn on Radio Mozart, a radio station that I found on the internet. It plays Mozart’s music 24 hours a day interrupted only by very short announcements.

Can you imagine how different our world would be if Mozart had been born in the last 50 years, in our time, the years of medicine and healthcare, years of recognizing and understanding and fostering genius? Instead, he lived his short 35 year life, from 1756 to 1791, in days where he had little chance of reaching old age. Of his 5 siblings only 2 made it past the first year, an indication of how fragile life was in those days.thCAPAFG3I

But it’s what he achieved in those few years that really count. He composed over 600 works, an incredible output of work, considering that it includes operas and symphonies, long complicated works that he couldn’t have completed in a day. In between he struggled on a daily basis with family matters, health issues and making a living. In today’s world he been fawned upon from every angle by well-wishers and perhaps have produced many more great masterpieces on a finely-tuned grand piano in a retirement home.

With today’s medicines and healthcare he could easily have attained a great age, continuing his genius to the very end, surrounded by admiring fans and music lovers. Of course he would have had to fight off all the suggestions and corrections that the residents would have offered. You can almost hear them:

“But Dear Maestro Mozart, if you reverse the last three bars it will sound much better!”

“No, No! Not the violin here! The cello is much more suitable for this!”

Perhaps he was spared after all…