not getting older, you're....okay, you're getting older
by Mad Dog
As women mature their
bodies become better suited for childbirth. Men’s bodies change
too, which is why their wives and children get so embarrassed when
Dad wears the same shirts he wore when he was three sizes smaller.
I had a birthday the other day. Exactly which day it was and how old
I turned are none of your business. Let’s just say that I’m
thankful I have an older brother—it makes me feel good to know
I’m not that old.
Birthdays have a way
of making you contemplate your mortality, consider the ravages of
time, and worry about why you’re not as good at doing all those
things your failing memory pretends you used to be good at. But like
death, taxes, and Cher’s appointment with the plastic surgeon,
getting older is a certainty. Of course, it still beats the
alternative. So as long as we’re all getting older—and no matter
whether you’re two or 72 you are—we might as well know what
we’re getting ourselves into.
Why do we age?
It’s the natural order of the
universe. Caterpillars turn into butterflies. Trees start out as
seeds, grow tall, then die, nourishing the forest floor so other
plants can grow. Even stars grow old, turning into novas so PBS can
have a name for their scientific adventure series. Besides, if we
didn’t age we’d all be walking embryos which means Ted
Koppel’s toupee would look even stupider than it does now.
But does our body have to go through all
Many of these changes are biologically important. As we get older we
add body fat and grow more hair, which keeps us warmer during the
winter. As women mature their bodies become better suited for
childbirth. Men’s bodies change too, which is why their wives and
children get so embarrassed when Dad wears the same shirts he wore
when he was three sizes smaller.
So what’s the reason for my eyesight
This is nature’s way of helping people stay married—it keeps
them from seeing each other’s aging, wrinkling, hairier, fatter
body so well.
Before you know it your
brain’s so clogged even Roto-Rooter can’t help. Then one day,
without thinking, you put the chorus of that insipid new ‘N Sync
song in one ear and—voila!— your mother’s name falls out the
||When I was younger I
could have sex all night, but not anymore. Is this normal?
Yes. As we get older our memory gets worse and we fill the gaps with
scenes from Jon Holmes movies.
It’s not my memory. Honest. The older I
get the more I….the more I…..oh I forget.
Don’t worry, everyone forgets things. It’s important to
differentiate between normal forgetfulness, like misplacing your
keys or discovering that you’re wearing the eyeglasses you’ve
just spent an hour searching for, and drawing a blank when asked
your name. Keep in mind that your brain’s only but so big. Over
the years it fills up with things like “I before E except after
C” and the theme from “Laverne and Shirley.” Before you know
it your brain’s so clogged even Roto-Rooter can’t help. Then one
day, without thinking, you put the chorus of that insipid new ‘N
Sync song in one ear and—voila!—your mother’s name falls out
What can I do to stop that?
Quit listening to ‘N Sync.
Have your mother’s name tattooed on
your arm instead of “Born to Raise Venture Capital.”
Does everyone have memory problems?
They sure do. Not long ago the State
Department forgot where they left some top secret laptop computers.
The other day the Energy Department lost two hard drives they keep
in a suitcase in Los Alamos. Nothing too important, they just happen
to contain the details of how to disarm all known nuclear devices.
Remember when Bill Gates testified he doesn’t remember what a web
browser is? And President Clinton—he can’t even remember what
My grandmother lived to be
95 and she said the secret to a long life is eating healthy, not
drinking alcohol, and not smoking. Is there any truth to this?
No. That only makes your life feel longer.
||How do we remember
Scientists aren’t sure. They think the neurons in the hippocampus
somehow store our memories in three areas: immediate, short-term,
Where’s the hippocampus?
At Hippo University.
Is there a way to improve my memory?
You can get books with tips and tricks that might help. You can also
exercise your brain by doing puzzles, reading, and keeping it
active. Some people think taking gingko and vitamin E helps. While
scientific studies haven’t verified any of this, there’s
anecdotal proof that these products do help some people’s
memories. After all, the companies that put them out seem to
remember to give their top executives big fat raises.
My grandmother lived to be 95 and she said
the secret to a long life is eating healthy, not drinking alcohol,
and not smoking. Is there any truth to this?
No. That only makes your life feel longer. Interminable is a
How long can I expect to live?
If you keep asking questions like
these you’ll be lucky to see your next birthday.
What about the average person?
In the United States the average life
expectancy is 70 years, which ranks it 24th in the world. At the
bottom of the list is Sierra Leone where the average person can
expect to live to be 25.9 years. At the top is Japan with 74.5.
Is that fair?
No, but neither is the fact that the cast members of “Friends”
are each making $750,000 per episode and I’m lucky if I make
enough from this column to supersize my dinner.
When was your birthday and how old were
©2000 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while trying to remember how many candles go on your next