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2014-01-16

Aging gracefully

Mikie Baker

Being born on Halloween, I've always loved birthdays. It's hard not to when everyone dresses up, runs around town and eats too much candy. What's not to love? And being an only child was an added bonus as my dad and mom made certain I had an extra special day. I've demanded the same from my minions ever since.
So, when it comes to the big day, I think everyone's birthday should be special - whether they think so or not. Not so with Stroke of Genius. His birthday attitude? "Man, I can't believe I'm still alive." He's always reminded me of Eeyore in his Gloomy Place.
Yesterday was Stroke's birthday. It not only comes with his attitude but also arrives a few days after Christmas when I am on a diet, totally broke and pretty grumpy. Still, I tried to rise to the occasion.
As fate would have it, it was a beautiful sunny and warm January weekend. We had an outdoor fire, a T-bone on the grill and plenty of laughter. I almost had Stroke out of his doldrums until I mentioned that next year he would qualify for Medicare. I think it pushed him over the edge.
SOG: "Medicare? That means I'm incredibly old!"
ME: "No, that means you get free health insurance."
SOG: "Who needs that? I'm just about dead anyway!"
ME: Well, maybe a new doctor could get rid of your GOMS."
SOG: "What disease is that?"
ME: "Grumpy Old Man Syndrome."
Even homemade banana nut bread with a candle stuck in it didn't soothe him. He just complained about being so old. I countered with, "Hey, aging is a great thing! Just ask all those hip, rich stars on the monthly covers of AARP magazine. They're all over 50 and happy."
He grumbled and replied, "That's because they've got plenty of money."
Frankly, he had a point, but I kept pressing. "No, really. You get senior discounts, the kids are all out of the house and you can burp loudly in public because everyone knows that people of a certain age always make funny noises and create weird smells. Kinda evens the playing field, you know?"
Stroke snapped back, "Oh you mean like all women of a certain age have the same flabby arms in their bathing suits no matter how much they exercise?"
I hit him with the flyswatter while my upper arms flapped in the breeze and decided right then and there that he was simply suffering from GOMS. He wasn't going to ruin my birthday spirit.
Sure, maybe I've lived my life a bit on the edge, but I am a risk taker. I'd rather go down in flames than shrivel away on the couch clutching the remote. I'm more of a glass half full girl - you know seeking out the Senior 20 Percent Off Discount Day at my favorite stores in the mall. Now if I could just get an extra 20 percent off my hips.
No, I say live it up on your birthday and enjoy the fact that you've survived another year - aches, pains and all. Pretty soon you'll be forgetting birthdays all together or lying to the very end about your age just like Dearly Demented Mom always did.
When she turned 90, I was so pleased and exclaimed, "Mom! Aren't you excited? You are 90 today!"
To which she replied, "Oh, good Lord no, honey. I'm only 76. If I was 90 I'd be dead!"