It used to be that my spring tuneup consisted of just stepping out in the yard and having the Mistress of the Manor hose me down. However, as one ages, the spring tuneup takes considerably more time and effort.
I have been working on my tuneup, which I guess is, technically, a pre-spring tuneup, for several months now. I had a tooth cut out a while back and just recently had another one capped. I also have recently had my six-month checkup with my family practitioner, which was preceded by the drawing of my precious blood, and, by the time you read this, had my eyes appraised by a professional. Oh, by the way, a visit to the orthopedist to have a flawed knee is looming. But, luckily, so far nothing as fallen off, as so often happens with older people.
When I was a young turk, a young whippersnapper, a young spit, I never dreamed that I would be seeing medical personnel for weeks on end. I only saw a doctor once every couple of years, if that often, and only if I was extremely ill. Well, there was one exception. During my college years, I did have to visit a Dr. Halo every so often; he worked out of a room over a pool hall near campus and practiced herbal medicine.
Since I’ve been so busy seeking medical help of various sorts, I began trying to remember - that’s another problem - when all this started. When did my body decide to hold me for ransom? Best I could figure it was just after turning forty when things began to go south. Just as I thought, when researching this topic, I came across several articles that proved me right.
Now, I’m not going to talk about sickness and disease, because I’m afraid that would be bad luck. As a young man, I was only superstitious when it came to sports and, of course, as a thespian, I never wished anyone good luck prior to a stage show. However, as I’ve gotten older I find that maybe it’s not wise to tempt the fates, so I do things like knock on wood after mentioning a good fortune. I cringe when I do it, but I still do it.
However, in researching this topic, I did find out that I don’t worry about most things men over 40 worry about. According to the article by some self-professed expert, men over 40 generally worry about 10 things, one of which is hair loss. Once, I had gotten out of my parents’ home and off to an institute of high learning and fun stuff, I immediately erased any memory of a strange business known as a barber shop. This did not sit well with my parents, especially my father, who asked me during every visit home when I was going to get a haircut.
In fact, over the next four years, I only got two haircuts, once for a part in a stage production and once when my father offered to buy me a new car if I would have my locks shorn. Part of that deal was that I continued to get haircuts, but, hell, anybody knows you can’t trust a long-haired hippy freak, so it should have been no surprise that I forgot about the continued haircut part of the deal. And, although I don’t wear my hair down past my shoulders any longer, I still like to have a full and somewhat long mass of hair. That noise you heard is me knocking on wood.
Sticking with hair, one of the other things most feared by men over 40 is their hair turning grey. Heck, I embrace my grey hair; I revel in my grey hair; I Mark Twain the hell out of my grey hair. Grey hair is of no concern to me.
The other things most feared by men over 40 are never being able to pay off a mortgage or afford a home, being unemployed, being single, having a double chin, man boobs, not being able to retire, the health things and being overweight.
I’m overweight just by a pound or two – okay, maybe 20 pounds – and have a slight turkey neck, but no double chin. Those things don’t bother me in the least. I’m a homeowner and married to the most marvelous Mistress of the Manor, so I’m okay on those accounts. I’ve retired once for seven years and I’ll retire again, I guarantee it.
So, overall, I think I come out pretty good. However, that doesn’t mean I am free of worry. No, every man has his worries. In my case some of them are, how long will I have to wait for the third season of Game of Thrones to come out on DVD, will my screwed up knee hold out until I am eligible for Medicare and, most importantly, will my book, soon to be available on Amazon and Kindle, be a huge success, allowing me to have a facelift, hire a private trainer, and buy the Mistress of the Manor that villa on Little Reed Island Creek.
Michael Howlett can be reached at 276-728-7311 or mhowlett@civitasmedia. com or on Twitter @MikeEHowlett