Matt Keenan — Like beauty, aging is apparently in the eye of the beholder

01/14/2014 5:18 PM

01/14/2014 5:18 PM

Next month I turn 55. And whoever said aging is a state of mind didn’t live in the digital age. Because somewhere, someplace, someone got a hold of my birthdate, put it in a database and then sold it to companies with this tag-line: “HE’S OLD! PUSH THE HEARING AID PACKAGE!”

It started with the AARP. I got on their mailing list five years ago. I laughed it off. But the plastic cards kept coming.

And it has continued.

When I checked in at a hotel late last year, the desk clerk pulled up my “profile,” then looked at my disheveled appearance, gray hair, the bags — under the eyes and over my shoulder — and then hit a couple key strokes. “Here you go — Room 312,” which took me to the room with the handicapped accessible bathroom. A shower like you’d see at John Knox Village. This room also featured a button to push for an “emergency.” I wondered who would appear — the bellman? A Visiting Angel? The room looked last occupied when Tony Orlando was with Dawn.

Other things have happened. On the web, I get the pop-up ads featuring Pat Boone pushing walk-in tubs. Plus the ads for escalators that go up the stairs. Endorsed by a 90-year-old declaring with a smile: “I can stay in my house!” Google — make them stop, please.

When Lori and I went to the Red Bridge Theater to see “Blue Jasmine” recently, the ticket clerk asked me about the senior discount.

I don’t feel old. I really don’t. Sure I fall asleep on the couch on some Saturdays and Sundays. I say “what” a lot. The TV blares. I watch it up close. My knees ache with every cold front. Sometimes I suppose I act old. At Wal-Mart, I check my blood pressure, which is located in the Depends section.

Honestly, I’m fine with my age. I see no purpose for a personal trainer named Muffin who wears Lulu lemon pants. I don’t walk around the yard shirtless chopping firewood. If I did, someone would call the police, I’m sure.

Sometimes I get the urge to take a long walk — inside Metcalf South.

I look better than other guys my age. Tim Burton, for instance, is 55. I definitely have one up on Dennis Rodman, who is 52. In my hometown, no one tried to look young. My mother shopped at JC Penney, not Victoria’s Secret. Aging was cool. You were knowledgeable, trustworthy.

Amazon shows 26,000 books on looking younger. They all have one recurring theme — be strong, fit and sexy. I found one called “The Life Plan: How any man can achieve lasting health, great sex and a stronger, leaner body.” I’m not interested. My sex drive pulled over at a rest stop and is still resting. Raising four kids does those things to you. Some of the over-the-counter testosterone supplements that promise better performance? Who cares about this? Some divorced guy who eats at Hooters?

My body has a Jello-like appearance that allows it to fit in tight spaces, like my pants. I’m fine with it. So I’m old. Just don’t try to sell me anything.


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