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"The Old Man (updated version)"
I woke up old this morning.
I don't mean that metaphorically, figuratively, or any of that.
It's just a fact: I went to bed young and woke up old.
This is Thursday, the 12th.
Yesterday, on Wednesday the 11th,
I was a strong young man with big dreams and ambitions.
It all went by in a day!
The day before yesterday was Tuesday the 10th,
and I was a child.
I looked at the powdery stuff on flowers,
the veins in a leaf,
paint blisters and bent nails in a fence.
I could follow a particular ant all around the yard.
By Wednesday when I was grown up,
the sounds and smells, and the touch of things, seemed less important.
Wet sidewalks, the outdoor faucet where the hose connects,
crumbly earth, tools in the garage,
still had their distinctive aromas, but I didn't notice.
I was too busy to listen to distant traffic.
I had even stopped lying on my back
and looking for faces in the clouds.
Wednesday was all adult "reality":
Money, status, success, entertainment. The important stuff.
I had to learn fast, having only three days,
and no warnings,
or time to prepare for the big changes.
Today I feel like getting up out of this chair
and running right out across that field!
But here it is Thursday, I'm old, and can barely get around.
I don't like being called a Senior Citizen. It's a euphemism.
It's condescending, like calling a black person "colored".
Don't cushion it, my friend. I'm OLD.
And I leave my turn signal on because I can't hear it,
not because I'm senile.
And at this age, I eat my dessert first. You never know.
I'll tell you what.
Today I'm going to sit here on my ancient tailbone
and listen to squirrel talk. If you listen a while to their sounds
you'll see they have a language of nuances.
I'm going to enjoy the warmth of this old wool sweater,
and pay attention to that leaf blowing across the lot.
I don't know when, or if, I'll get to do it again.
Time is on Fast Forward,
so I offer this advice to all who pass this way:
PAY ATTENTION! LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS.
And, tomorrow is Friday, the 13th.
Copyright © June 26, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. Updated version © January 31, 2002.
All rights reserved.