Old Are You?
other night I was at my favorite fast food place waiting in line
when a friend of mine's son came in with his family. While we
waited to place our order we talked. He asked me what I was doing
these days and I answered I was doing some writing, doing my movie
reviews on TV, and anything else I felt like doing.
thought about that and then asked me if I had retired from my
job with the government. I said I had. He looked at me closely
and then said, "How old are you?"
laughed and replied I was the same age as his Dad. "Gosh,
I didn't think you were that old," he answered. Suddenly
I felt the skin on my face start to sag and the few remaining
hairs on my head start to drop out. Inside I had to face the fact
I am "that old." And to add insult to injury, tomorrow
is my birthday.
unfair thing is that people do judge you by the numbers of your
age. They don't look at how healthy you are, or even how good
you look. If they can find out those numbers that is how they
peg who and what you are.
remember clearly when I was a teenager looking at my father and
thinking he was old because he was forty-six. I remember wondering
what it felt like to be that old, and being stupidly young I never
even considered I would be that age and plus one day.
I do have to say that back when I was a teenager people looked
older when they were in their sixties and above. They were all
gray headed and wrinkled. My in-laws are in their eighties and
they look like people in their sixties used to look.
hate to think of your age determining how you are viewed. I think
you should be judged by your outlook, your productivity, and your
joy of life. I have known people who never grew old. They stayed
active and interested in life, as well as interesting to other
people right up to the day they died. They were healthy and happy
and an integral part of society.
people dismiss anyone who is over the age of sixty. They seem
to think "senior citizenship" is contagious and don't
want to get infected. Don't they realize if they are healthy and
continue living they are obviously going to get there one day.
Are they going to put on the brakes at fifty-four and refuse to
age? Well, it won't happen. The years just keep on ticking by
and there is nothing you can do about it.
my friend's son was paying me a compliment when he said he didn't
think I was "that old." Maybe he thought I looked so
young I couldn't possibly be that age. Maybe he did. Yeah, and
K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia.
He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as
the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews
run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short
stories have been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.
He also keeps active appearing as an after dinner speaker for
has lived an exceptionally interesting life and portions of it
are contained in his first book Journey of a Gentle Southern
Man. The journey continued in Chances and Choices.
first two books, Journey of a Gentle Southern Man
and Chances and Choices, were reprinted and published
by Mercer University Press in July 2004. His third book Halfway
Home was published by Mercer University Press in October
is currently at work on his fourth book, The Book Binder,
which will be published in the fall of 2006.
his website, or email
Jackie K. Cooper