Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

November 16, 2013

Things to watch out for as you get older

Time goes so fast these days that I have been known to put a couple of years on in less than six months. And it doesn’t even make sense, because theoretically time should go more slowly the older you get. Everything else does — why not time? But it doesn’t seem to work like that. Can someone explain to me please how yesterday got finished while I was still getting up.

OK, here’s something else you can explain to me while you’re at it. How can two generations feel so differently about cooked broccoli? My generation (and those close to it) likes our broccoli soft enough that you can stick a fork into it. The newest experts in cookery like broccoli practically uncooked. The kind that fights back when you try to chew it. I suspect it has a lot to do with vitamins and stuff, because broccoli cooked tender may not have as many, but who cares? (Getting old can make one carefree because everything that is going to happen to one has, largely, happened.) And you can eat more of the stuff if it is soft enough to chew than if you have to do battle every time you take a bite.

Here’s another thing to be leery of as you grow older — standing ovations. I always try not to sit in the two front rows in an auditorium, because they are the last ones to get the word. (And nowadays every stage production gets a standing ovation.) Have you noticed how often those rows are still sitting stolidly in their seats, while the whole theater behind them is on its feet and cheering.

It is so humiliating to suddenly grasp that a standing ovation is happening and you are not a part of it — or worse yet that everybody else in the theater is sitting down just as you are getting up. It can ruin your whole evening and it can’t be too great for the performers either, who are soaking up the applause from all the rows behind yours and wondering what’s wrong with those nitwits in the front didn’t they like it? Nothing’s wrong, of course, except that we just didn’t get the word in time. Maybe there should be a little red light under the stage that goes on when a standing ovation is in the works so we can check behind us early enough not to look like idiots.

Here’s another sign of old age, or, at least, my old age. When I was young — that’s up until about three years ago — I used to cut sandwiches at an angle from corner to corner, resulting in neat little triangular pieces.. Now I cut them straight across, leaving more sensible rectangular pieces and I’m not sure why. I suspect it is because the older you get, the more you cut out the nonsense — because there is no time left for it? I haven’t been able to figure this one out myself, actually.

It shouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that when you get old, you can’t taste things any more. Well, I can still get sweet, and sour, but not much else. I used to love french fries, but now they are just a chore to chew, and the hamburger that goes with them is no better. This is really unfair, because it is only when you get as old as I am that you can actually afford to buy this kind of stuff on a regular basis. I guess I can thank my loss of taste for the fact that I don’t spend near as much on Arby’s or other fast food places, which used to be hard to resist.

Presumably, one good outcome of all this should be that you don’t have to save recipes any more, because you don’t do much cooking, especially if there is only one of you. That, however, hasn’t stopped me from actually collecting them in a drawer — I just don’t use them, that’s all. About the only recipe I put together from time to time is eggplant casserole, which I have always loved. About every two months I will make myself an eggplant casserole, and I must say the taste of that has held up pretty well, even at this late stage.

Being old, of course, has allowed me to enjoy the perks of old age, which include looking with disbelief at some of the goings on of succeeding generations. Now, I know that getting old means you can conveniently forget a lot of the things that you did when you were young. But still, I honestly don’t think that there was, say, a lot of bullying when I went to school. Really, if anybody was going to get bullied in my class, it was me. I was fat, wore glasses, and got good grades. Yet, I have absolutely no memory of anything like that happening, either to me or to anyone else. Of course, there is an argument that I was simply in another world much of that time and didn’t even notice what was going on around me, and there is some truth to that. Still, don’t you think I would have noticed?

These days too there is this fixation on drinking. Now, I realize I was brought up in a teetotaling household, as you have heard many times. My father was a prohibitionist, and although I never discussed this with him, I know he would have been appalled at what young people consider a rite of passage these days — years of getting drunk out of your gourd. This is supposed to lead to maturity, and it is happening to the point where the mayor of Toronto recently excused his taking crack on the fact that he was in a “drunken stupor” at the time — which apparently made everything OK. Everybody gets drunk, right?

Well, getting old has at least one other good result. You can speak out how you feel about anything. Frankly, I see the public acceptance of drunkenness, especially among our young, as a frightening development in our culture. Dad, I’m on your side.

And if the worst thing that can happen is that young people will laugh at me (assuming they can see me) — well, I can handle that. I just won’t notice.

It worked with the bullying.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears in the Times-News on alternate Sundays.

1
Text Only
Maude McDaniel - Living
  • Very first memories of a very long life

    July 27, 2014

  • July gotcha down? Maybe these will help

    •In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m., regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 a.m. all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

    July 13, 2014

  • Hiccup cure you may find hard to swallow

    Let’s give a cheer for one of the things in the human experience that the scientific researchers haven’t fully figured out yet: how to cure hiccups! Somehow it kind of restores your faith in the world, doesn’t it?
    But don’t think they haven’t tried.

    June 28, 2014

  • She learned to laugh with relatives’ help

    Sometimes there are people in our lives whom we have never credited with all the influence they had on us when we were growing up.And now it is too late to thank them personally. I am about 50 years past due on this one (or two) but maybe somehow, somewhere they will get a hint of it — and — smile. Fondly, I think..

    June 15, 2014

  • Signs of aging and what comes with it

    It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?

    June 1, 2014

  • Torn between failing in two different fields

    Which do I like better, singing or writing?
    That's a tough question to answer.
    Singing's got it all over writing as far as when I started (at about 5 in the church choir) but writing is certainly a close second. I have somewhere a collection of poems that I wrote from about eight on and I have the feeling that they are lost for a reason! As I remember, they were pretty awful, not at all the kind of effort an aspiring writer would be proud to quote 75 years later!

    May 19, 2014

  • Bad habits are hard to eliminate — but try

    Somebody mentioned smoking on these pages recently, so I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the subject. I started smoking in college, during exam week. The problem was that I was too busy during the rest of the year ever to stop and study for my courses — at least that is what I told myself — because I worked almost every night on the college newspaper. So when exam time kicked in, I threw some all-nighters for study. And the best way to stay awake all night (especially if you don't regularly smoke) is to, well, smoke.

    May 4, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia

    When I was in grade school, (many more years ago than when either of you were in grade school) my daily winter (fall, spring) routine included walking to school across a railroad track.

    March 22, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads