Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

A 20-year-old looks at 60: New perspectives on feeling old

By Graham von Carlowitz, For The Miami Student

As I rose from a nap under a shady tree one day (shady in a good way), I felt the rust-ridden bones in my back. They didn't crack, they haven't the energy for such child's play. I am 20 years old, I have lived a fairly fulfilling life and I plan on continuing in that path. Changes are in order, though.

As it stands now, or rather, how I stand, the harsh reality is clear -- I'm an old man. The funny part is, I'm willing to accept it. To accept my knees' uncanny ability to read the subtlest climate changes, accept that I can't take a clear photo or sip on a drink without spilling it to some degree - both attributable to my tremor-ridden hands - and I accept my bad back, stiffer than a professor who assigns an essay over Thanksgiving break.

Not only do I accept the circumstances, hell, I embrace them! At least since that fateful day under the oak. As such, I must take the required steps to fully initiate myself into old manhood.

Step one: I must always have a quill pen and scroll of papyrus close by to take notes, otherwise clauses must be repeated two... three, right, three times. The problem with this practice? It tends to scare people away. No doubt does it seem as if I'm warding off evils by repeating "it tends to scare people away." Nope, just warding off dementia.

Step two: I must develop one of those respectable, raspy voices. Warning flag here: I will not achieve this goal by simply talking like a demon in the closet. There's more to it than that. Al Pacino should herd together a group of old men, looking to inspire the flocks of his disciples to gargle, rinse, speak and repeat.

Step three: (Trying to) keep an aspect of step one in mind, that is, the skill of forgetting, I must forget that I have a bladder and visit the facilities every 30 minutes. To start. I'm no expert, but I would assume this number is the elderly's equivalent of peeing once a day for the young. In other words, implausible.

Step three: One thing I personally don't have to work on, as the process has already begun, is to become hard of hearing. This can be easily accomplished by strategically placing oneself directly beside an airport, a shooting rage or a high school garage band. The latter especially reinforces old manhood, uh, the latter especially reinforces old manhood, as it presents the special opportunity to protest "that damn garbage" those kids call music. "What in tarnation" will undoubtedly enter your vocabulary.

So, what's the goal here? To hide the fact that I am being punished for all those times I swan dove down the staircase for some laughs? To have an excuse for going to Bob Evans' lunch hour or for not using the Internet machine? To, the goal is to, well, uh... fleeting thoughts are what I am reduced to at this point.

In any case, I look forward to using the pronoun 'sonny' while explaining why getting upset today will not change what's in store for tomorrow. Old manhood is at my doorstep, now all I need to do is ask someone to answer. Oh, and yes, the discount at Bob Evans is nice, too.