Ten years ago I climbed the Eiffel Tower. Today our front steps seem daunting. I had foot surgery last week.
When I woke up they gave me a walker, told me to skedaddle and admonished, "Don't put weight on that thing for two weeks!"
Death scares he hell out of us and so do events leading up to it. Like needing a walker to get around. Joking about the reaper (and walkers) eases the inevitable.
Once they were a source of dark humor. I'd see them in Coconut Grove trash piles and wonder how they got there. When I brought one home in 1986 my wife complained.
I suggested, "Let's keep it for a week". Her ballet teacher, Tony, was turning forty which seemed old at the time. What better way to add laughter to his party than giving him a ribbon-festoonedgeezer aid.
It was a fun-filled gathering. If he was embarrassed Tony didn't show it. The nimble Italian begged it for a dance which ended with a handstand (note: don't try that at home or anywhere else).
After the applause subsided he never touched it again. He left his gag gift with us.
I folded the frame and set it aside until the next 40th birthday. We laughed at the inevitable once more. When the last of our friends hit the big 4-0 we gave Alice to Goodwill.
We had no use for it. We'd never need it and old jokes at 50 aren't funny. It is old, retirement is on the horizon and Metamucil's in the medicine cabinet.
This morning Francesca and and I were discussing the odd metal frame next to the bed and the birthday joke from the 80's. She pointed out, "Maybe you should have kept it around. When people turn 60 or 70 the tide turns again. You might hear, "Thanks. I'll be needing this soon!".
Mine? It's taking me to dinner tonight, forty-feet away.