Sixty Is A Serious Number

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, February 2, 2017 Comments Off on Sixty Is A Serious Number
Sixty Is A Serious Number

…where we find the author contemplating aging…

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Middle Age Doesn’t Last Forever

When I was a kid old people were beat-up old. There was honor in a life of hard work, and it showed in age, skin all grape-turned-to-raisin, scars, teeth gone, either some or all, wrinkles aplenty, all the women graying naturally because only desperate divorcees and fast floozies dyed their hair.  Old people were always grunting when they sat, and grunting to rise again, bent over or limping, taking on bad backs and arthritis with nothing more than aspirin and Hail Marys. When I was ten I thought they were Old Testament old, then years later I see their headstone and realize, 57, 62, 65…

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Something Is Always The New Something

I remember when I hit 35, for just a moment I thought, Well…, that seemed about half, but my hair was still mostly all there and still the same color, so I kicked that thought away.

Forty was the new thirty, said all the people that advertise and sell things to forty-somethings.

Sure ‘nough, when I approached fifty the same advertisers were telling me that fifty was the new forty.  It’s like hearing good news about the candidate you voted for; may not be true but who doesn’t mind a gray lie when you’re second guessing yourself…

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Ten Percent Off

I got my first senior citizen discount at fifty.  Problem is, didn’t ask for it.

Used to get breakfast at this diner joint.  Same thing every morning, same number on the bill, until this one morning when the number looked low. There it was, circled, ten percent, senior discount.

Paid up, went out to my truck, yanked the rearview window my direction and looked to see what “senior” looked like. As moments go, that there…

The first time I was called sir was in my twenties, and even if it was an accident it felt honorable, like a civilian getting a salute from a soldier.  It was less fun in my early 40’s, and no fun in my later 40’s. In my 50’s I just gave up on resisting it.  Now I’m offended when a youngster tries to call me by my name.

You hit 55 and you don’t need algebra to do life math.  Like sleeping on an airplane trip, middle age happened while you weren’t looking out the window.

Hello, autumn of life.

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Sixty Is A Serious Number

Looking back, I was really just a kid in ‘89, but didn’t know it. I’m Mr. Went Off To The Big City looking for It, whatever It was…

The phone rings.  It’s my dad. He’s coming back from a missionary trip. Has a layover at DFW Airport. “Want to come meet me and get some coffee?” I do. I go. He’s pensive. I don’t usually use that word. Whatever it means is irrelevant; let’s just say Dad was there, but off in thought…

Some small talk, some catch-up, then after the waitress topped off his coffee he says, “I turned sixty Over There.” He says that with a certain look. He shook his head. I didn’t know what to say. Guess I just nodded my head. I remember him saying, “Sixty is a serious number.”

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And Now Comes My Turn For The 60 Calendar

I’ve had an unusual life, and I don’t know how my perception differs from yours. Like you, I’ve had my bad moments, and some were like a black rot, but even with those it has been my experience that each decade is better than the last.

I remember this deacon at the church, a retired man, said he wanted “to finish strong.”  I understood him.  However uneven the past, let’s at least stick the landing.

Something tells me I should do some serious adult work this birthday.  Ask serious questions, face serious truths, make peace with old diaries, make plans for blank pages.

I’m grateful, for ever having, for still having, and it’s with gratitude that I approach the process.  Here’s to strong finishes…

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we hope you think 81 is a spry number.

Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.  He can reached at

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