Thursday, June 30, 2011

So when do I know I am old?

I guess it is all relative to where you are in life.
I can remember when I was around 13 or so and seeing a guy do a burn out in his car. A burn out is where the operator of the vehicle places firm foot pressure on the accelerator causing the engine to rev, which causes the back tires to spin, which causes white smoke to billow forth, which causes any nearby police to dig out their ticket book.
Back then if a cop saw you do something like that you would get a ticket and be told not to do it again.
Nowadays, if you get caught I believe the punishment is they melt down the car and give the driver a public flogging.
Perhaps the laws have gotten a little too strict.
Anyway, I was sitting at a bus stop when this ‘old’ guy smoked the tires of a 1972 Ford Mustang.
I described the incident to my friends like thus: “This guy was really old, too. He must have been like 30.”
Ooooh, 30 years old. It is amazing someone of such an advanced age still had the mental capacity to operate a motorized vehicle let alone do a little stunting. Perhaps a power scooter would be better suited for someone of his historic birth date.
Obviously 30 is not old, at least I don’t think so now, but to my barely-a-teen brain, the dude was ancient.
Once I hit 20, 30 did not seem that old. Forty was, but 30 was not so bad. When I hit 30, 40 wasn’t that old and now that I am closing in on 50 I have reserved my definition of ‘old’ as anyone who is past 70.
I am not sure how I am supposed to act for a man my age. I am sitting in the middle of the F-years and I still have many of the same interests and activities as I did when I was a wee lad.
I still ride motorcycles, I train in martial arts, I like to exercise regularly and get together with my friends on the weekends. Is an ‘old’ guy supposed to do that?
I don’t do burn outs in my car anymore; partly because I am far too mature for such immature actions, but also because I drive an automatic Toyota Corolla that can barely spin the tires on snow and ice.
The need to drive an economical car now outweighs the need to drive a cool car. Besides at my age, who needs to be cool? I am already married and have been for a couple of decades, my wife thinks I’m cool (or at least that’s what she tells me) and really, that’s all that matters. Nope, instead of a ‘cool’ car with a big engine like when I was a teen, I need a car that will get 40 miles to the gallon. Now that is cool.
Oh, how times have changed.
When I was 18, I figured someone who was 50 might as well just go to the old folk’s home, sit in a recliner and rant and rave about the ‘good old days.’
“What’s the point man? It’s over dude. At that age, what is there to live for?”
I must admit I actually said those words.
Aaah, youth thou art kind of a butthead (and a little cocky.)
But hang on a second, I am going to be half a century old in a few years and I do not even own a recliner.
The, 18 year olds these days aren’t all grown up like I was at that age. These days they are just kids with no idea of what the world is about. They are nothing but snot-nosed youngsters full of vinegar and no brains.
Oh, wait a minute. That was me at 18.
Like I said, it is all relative.
Well, you have to excuse me now, I think it is time go recliner shopping.
Darren Handschuh can be reached at

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