Aging and the not-Super Bowl


As if we weren’t all depressed enough, what with a raging pandemic and isolation and repeated snowstorms and winter cold, it has occurred to me twice in the past nine days just how old I am. The first part of that double whammy came when I realized I qualified for a Covid vaccine. It seemed sort of a remote event when, after the health care workers, those eighty-five and older could get a shot. Then it was seventy-five. And then it was sixty-five and I joined the approximately nine million people logging onto various websites to find a location and a time slot. I did get my vaccine and aside from the protection, the vaccine offers, the process of getting it was pretty good entertainment. Ahead of me in line were two people of the female persuasion who were not happy at all about the procedure. The “dang computer” figured largely in their displeasure as in “I don’t got no dang computer and my great-niece had to log me into the internets to get this here shot.” Right up until that minute I could not imagine there was a person outside an isolated New Guinea tribe who knew less about running a computer than I do. And I need to know more. To my great annoyance, iTunes has disappeared off my laptop for the second time in nine months. My computer assures me those 580 songs are still on my phone but when I try to sync my phone to my computer, the computer threatens to remove all five hundred eighty songs from my phone so that its song list is identical to my computer song list, which is to say no songs at all. But at least they’d match. I am going to have to go back and throw myself at the mercy of the guru at the dang computer store but I think his wife is getting suspicious because I am spending more time with him than she is.

The second blow here in whammy-ville came the weekend before last. You know, right when the snow started. I write these columns a little in advance. Let’s hope the snow has stopped by the time this is published. So far it hasn’t and the gasoline bill for my snowblower is rivaling that of my car. But anyway, the weekend before last was notable in that it was the weekend of the Super Bowl. I like to watch football but even people who don’t sometimes watch the Super Bowl because the ads are supposed to be wonderful — funny and original and clever — and the halftime show is supposed to be stupendous. Whenever my friend Rex has a real zinger to deliver, he will preface it with “I don’t mean this bad but …” Well, I don’t mean this bad but the ads were way sub-par. They were so bad I gave up on watching them and instead repaired to the kitchen where the beer was stored. The beer was much better than the commercials. And I still don’t get the half-time show. It featured a young man called, I believe, The Weekend. I’m not too sure about that because I didn’t think it was a name, I thought it was a time frame so I might have missed some relevant content. The Weekend’s back-up arm dancers did a great deal of gesticulating while they sat among an army of violent violin players. The violin players looked less like musicians than they did sawyers. I know some people whose son teaches violin. Maybe I should ask him to critique the technique. But the most, shall we say, striking part of the show was the back-up dancers who were actually upright. They had on snazzy red jackets and these … oh I don’t know what to say here … these things on their faces. The “things” looked a little bit like the dressing a patient gets after an extensive facelift … lots of gauzes and head wrappings, relieved only by two eye holes. But mostly what the “things” resembled was an article of sports activity protection equipment worn by men and boys, if you get my drift. This article of apparel is rarely seen covering the face except by victims of bullies and during fraternity house initiations. I am sure people under the age of, gee, thirty, thought these “things” were just as groovy as they could be. That’s how you know you’re old: when the parameters of grooviness are so far outside your locale they are in a different zip code. Or state. Or country. Or perhaps continent.

And one more thing about aging. Tom Brady, who is the quarterback for Tampa Bay, is old enough to be the father of some of the other players. For an NFL player, he is positively ancient. Some talking head news show did a feature about Mr. Brady’s routine. He doesn’t eat white flour, white sugar, olive oil, and a host of other deadly items which surely include chocolate and vodka. He gets up at six every morning and goes to bed at 9 p.m. every night. He follows this regimen religiously so that he can go out and get flattened by three hundred 50-pound linemen. He makes a pretty good living at it, but still. He is also married to a world-famous underwear model. She does not wear the underwear on her head.

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