I was typing on my phone the other day (“typing” comes from the word “typewriter,” which is a relic word now) and I realized I was using my middle finger to press the letters. A shocking memory rushed through my mind. When I was young my dad would point at things on a page with his middle finger, and I would be mortified.
Now, 40+ years later, here I was doing the exact same thing. In yet one more way, I’ve become my dad! Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot worse things I could become. I just wasn’t expecting to be a clueless older guy quite so soon.
I think a lot of people in my generation have deluded ourselves into thinking we’re not really getting old. It’s that baloney (bologna, for the purists) about how 50 is the new 40, 70 is the new 60, and death is the new sick.
I’ve never seen myself as “hip” (another relic word), but I do try to keep up. And yet, when I look in a full-length mirror, I see clearly that my fashion sense and my body are both pretty droopy.
Another sign: dad sounds. In an episode of “Family Guy,” the star sits down in an easy chair and says, “Well, I’m going to make some dad sounds now,” after which we hear a minute or so of sighs, groans, moans, sniffs, burps, and such. It was like looking into a mirror.
Not only that, but I’ve graduated from the age of dad jokes to the age of repeating the same dad jokes as if they had never been heard. Dad jokes, if you were wondering, are the dumb jokes many dads can’t help but share around the friends of their children. The first time I realized we dads were all telling the same jokes was when a TV dad, when asked if someone could join him, said, “Why? Am I coming apart?” Up to that point, I had thought was hilarious and original. I guess it was neither.
I realize that some of the changes I’m experiencing come from not being active enough, yet eating the same amount as before – or more. Our kids gifted us with “Fitbit” bracelets that let you know how many steps you’ve taken, calories you’ve burned, etc. I’ve only met the arbitrary goal the device set three times in a month, so that’s not good. What is good is that the thing has influenced me to park further away from a store, take a walk for now reason, or even run up the steps now and then.
I’ve often said that turning out to be my father would be the best possible outcome for me, because he was a good, smart, and honest man. That being said, I think I need to find a balance between taking on old-guy characteristics prematurely, and trying to act like I’m 20 years old again, Dude.