“How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?”
— Baseball legend Satchel Paige
I was working for the Clark County Sheriff's office in the book-in one morning when I answered the phone. It was a very nice lady who was calling the jail regarding her son. Seems he had been arrested and was going to be spending some time with us.
Lady Caller — “My son is in jail and today is his birthday. I was wondering if I could bake a cake and bring it down to him.”
Officer Dodd — “No ma'am. Nobody is allowed to bring any baked goods to the jail to give to inmates.”
Lady Caller — “Well, do you all do anything special for them on their birthday?”
There are times in one's life where sarcasm, smart-aleck-ness, and ridicule seem so appropriate a response. However, since I had already determined she was a very sweet person who just probably genuinely loved her son, I stayed civil in my response.
I was also reminded this past week of a very lovely and wonderful young lady I worked with in my old corporate world many years ago. She was probably in her mid-20s. She hung up from a customer phone call that had obviously been frustrating. “That Lady said she was 84 years old! I hope I never live to be 84 years old!”
I simply turned my attention to her and smiled while saying, “Call me when you are 83.”
This has been just a prelude to the fact that this past week I survived another year. Having lunch with a female friend who is more than a few years younger than me this past Wednesday, I told her this was kind of a big one. I then started to sing, “Will you still need me; will you still feed me; when I'm ...?”
She had the most blank expression on her face as my attempt at a lighthearted cultural reference fell as flat as a Hillary campaign joke. Remember the classic one-liner from her campaign. “The kids are all playing the game Pokemon Go. So, to all young people, 'Pokemon, go to the polls!'” Yep — that one still gets me every time.
Birthdays are a different thing as we progress in life. I have said for years that I now survive rather than celebrate them. Then I remind myself of how many of my contemporaries from over my lifetime didn't have the privilege to turn my age.
Dec. 7, 1941, was called the day that will live in infamy. Apparently, Oct. 17 is a day that will be forever ignored regarding historical legacy. I did my usual Internet search about notable things that happened on Oct. 17. I could note a few of them, but they are so bland and forgettable I will save the computer cartridge ink. I suspect at least I was my mom and dad's October surprise. People were very nice and kind to me all week. Of course, many of them are nice and kind to me pretty much all the time.
I found a site that offered up 100 pieces of advice from 100-year-old folks:
• A 100-year-old doctor who still ran his practice: “The use of vitamins? Forget it. And I don't encourage going to a lot of doctors, either.”
• “I put my health down to whiskey and cigarettes. I only drink when I am out, but my doctor said I wouldn't be alive without them.”
• “You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. I also ate prunes every single day.”
• “Even if you feel hatred, keep it to yourself. Don't hurt other people for any reason.”
• “Keep an open mind and things seem less strange.”
The one line I will always remember from a book where 100-year-old seniors were asked what they would do if they had their lives to live over again. One lady responded simply, “I'd eat more ice cream!”
I guess I am one of the lucky ones. People seem to think I am always younger than I am. I have never felt or acted like my age. I guess it's hard to know how to act at an age you have never been. I honestly always feel younger than the calendar shows me to be.
I guess the quote at the beginning from baseball legend Satchel Paige is kind of a philosophy of how I live my life. For those who do not know, he first pitched in Major League Baseball at the age of 42. His last game pitched he was 59 and was asked about his age. I have to this date never lived according to my age. I hope I never do.
I do wish to thank all my friends and important people in my life. They made the experience of passing another year's milestone a pretty good one. And special thanks to Paul McCartney and my personal birthday song, “Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I'm...”
— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.