Wednesday, January 14, 2004

If Everything Old is New Again, Where Can I Get My Hip Replaced?

Working through the WWdN archives I ran across one of my favorite subjects - aging - in his post 'ain't this the life?'. Hmmm, maybe 'favorite' subjects is pushing it, but it is definitely something that is often on my mind. Why?

  • My favorite music is older than I was when I first heard it.

  • My favorite movies, tv shows, and games are 'ancient history' to teenagers.

  • When my mother was my age she had two tween boys and a squalling infant. I'm lucky I finally got around to getting married and buying a house last year.

  • My husband is as old as my step-father was when I met him. (Which at the time I assumed was a real adult, but turns out to only be 35.)

  • My peeps are starting to get 'conditions'. And, MAN, are they getting crotchety.

  • I was starting to key into this whole aging issue when I was around 27. I had always been keenly aware of my own mortality (at 14 I was already wondering what I could do to make my legacy - what I would leave behind to mark my passing), but I was also always the youngest of any group I was in. Part of my identity, I guess, was 'youngest'. By 27 I had covered enough road to have plenty of people behind me calling the 'youngest' spot no matter where I went.

    This mild fascination with the passage of time has mostly manifested at times like the following:

    Waiting in line for Star Wars tickets at the re-release. Friend says, "I totally remember seeing this in the theater back in 1977. It was SO cool. I think I saw it a hundred times!" Sue says, "Yeah, it seems like yesterday. But, you know, that was twenty years ago. Twenty years before that it was 1957. That seems mind boggling to me. When our parents took us to Star Wars they were our age, so they were standing in line thinking 1957 wasn't all that long ago... How can that be?" Friend, "That hurts my brain."

    Since I've been making those comments for about six years now you can imagine how my popularity has soared. My husband, however, refused to be shocked and awed by the passage of time. But he teaches college biology and got a first hand taste of how times change. While talking about animals in one lab he was really getting into his discussion and tossed off the comment, "So can you imagine wresting an animal like Jim from Wild Kingdom?!" Dead silence. "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom?.... Marlin Perkins?...." Blank looks. The sound of a lonely cricket in the distance. "Or.... the Crocodile Hunter?" Wild enthusiasm from the crowd.

    But for all that I think that the rubber really met the road last month when I was talking to a young teen Lord of the Rings enthusiast and mentioned that Sean Astin had been in town back in 1991 and I had always regretted not getting his autograph. (Even more so his DAD's autograph - the uber cool John Astin had dinner at the table next to mine on my 21st birthday but I couldn't get up the guts to bug him.) I was about to try to commisserate with the girl that if only she had been here she could've gotten Sean's autograph. But shortly after 1991 left my lips I realized SHE HADN'T BEEN BORN YET. Shocking. Simply shocking.

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