“Middle age is when your age starts showing around your middle.”
— Bob Hope
When I was 12, I wanted to be a handsome, leading man. You know, the kind of guy who makes ladies swoon and grown men cry. Clark Gable, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood. Why not me?
Unfortunately puberty wasn’t kind. So I tried to change my appearance. Mick Jagger had long hair so I grew mine out. Regrettably, I looked like a blonde Tiny Tim. Then I tried growing a beard like Jeremiah Johnson. But I looked like Gabby Hayes.
As a teenager I was so skinny that the guys in my rock band used to centre me out.
“Hey, Ray. Did you get an endorsement deal?”
“No, why?” I replied suspiciously.
“Because we just saw your face on a bottle of iodine.”
When I got to middle age my metabolism changed. Suddenly everything I ate went straight to my waist. Though I’ve always prided myself on self-control, I didn’t have the self-discipline of a supermodel.
Pretty soon I had love handles that would make the Michelin man blush. Mind you it’s not my fault. I just like to eat.
One day when I put on my tennis whites, I couldn’t help but notice my uncanny resemblance to the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Parenthetically, I make the same giggly sound when you tickle me. Not exactly what you expect from a leading man:
For instance, can you imagine Rhett Butler giggling in Gone With The Wind?
“Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a … tee, hee, hee. Scarlett, stop tickling me! Tee, hee hee. Okay, okay. I’ll stay here at Tara. After all, tomorrow is another day. We’ll have muffins for breakfast. But not bran muffins because they give me gas … Scarlett, are you still listening?”
As for me, the less I talk about wind, the better.
Even as my waistline expands, my expectations shrink. So instead of cherchez l’amour, I’ve been considering a second career as a male cat lady. I’m not sure what to call myself, though. A cat laddie? A cat man? A catastrophe? I think I’ll start by buying a nice fat Siamese. Maybe I’ll call him Chairman Meow. Then it’s just a matter of finding another eleven kitties to complete the set. If you have less than a dozen you’re not a cat laddie, you’re just a cat enthusiast!
Speaking of cats, middle age has left me hopelessly absent-minded. I was shopping a while back and bought a 50 pound sack of dry cat food. I was in a hurry because friends were coming over.
The lady at the till smiled and said, “that’s a big bag.”
Distracted, I replied, “Yes, we’re having company for dinner.”
She stared at me all the way out the door.
Getting older is supposed to provide a host of benefits. Not all of them are welcome.
Recently I was at a store and the girl in front of me was asked for her I.D. When it was my turn, I joked, “Would you like to see my I.D. too?”
I was expecting a nice complement about my youthful appearance. Instead the cashier responded, “Yes, so I can sign you up for our senior’s discount.”
“Senior’s discount? But I’m only forty-something!”
“Forty-something?” she queried incredulously.
“Well, it’s true if you take 40 and add a number higher than 10.”
Bob Hope was right. Middle age is when your age starts showing around your middle. We older guys are getting plump and wrinkly but we still have style. Take Will Smith. He may be middle-aged but they still call him the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
So maybe you could call me the Poppin Fresh Prince of Parksville.
It sure beats, “Hey, you! Old, fat guy.”