When you reach your 70s, 80s and beyond, the highway sign “Reduce Speed When Wet” takes on a whole new meaning. Only twice in the past five years have I had to reduce speed. Last year, when I got home, I called my urologist and some young lady said, “Can you hold, please?” Apparently, she was not familiar with the real meaning of that sign.
Just a couple weeks ago, I turned 90 and apparently am running out of numbers. I am also running out of parts that work. When you’re afflicted by macular degeneration, muscular degeneration, masculine degeneration and miscellaneous degeneration, it’s obvious you may have to divert to a closer airport for an emergency landing. We’re not talkin’ about fan blades here. We’re talkin’ about bones and muscle, ligaments and things that have grown in you and are not supposed to be there.
Apparently, reaching the age of 90 is some kind of milestone, one of the many stones you get later in your years. One of the milestones I reached in the last few weeks was the need to renew my driver’s license. Now that it’s computerized, it requires twice as much time as it ever did before.
It certainly was an interesting event. I only missed two out of 16 and I missed those two because they were young and agile and able to jump outa’ the way as my car jumped the curb and I drove up on the sidewalk. Now, there’s a reason for this and it’s called “speed parking.”
You see, when I got to the DMV, people were lined up outside on two sides of the building waiting to get in and get this bothersome procedure outa’ the way. And, as you drive around the building, there’s nowhere to park. So you keep driving around and around watching for backup lights. When they show up, you and four other cars come in from many different angles, all with turn signals on, ‘cause they’re gonna get that parking spot! The guy backin’ his car out is now in real danger as he is about to witness “high-speed parking.”
The way he turns, as he backs out, determines the chances of you getting your car in there. When the time is close, you press off the ECO button, put it in TURBO low gear and press the petal to the metal. The tires are smokin’ but you get it! By the way, I’m aware that “petal to the metal”’ is no longer appropriate; it’s “petal to the plastic.”
The big thing about reaching the age of 90 is the big party everybody thinks you should have, a “must” because you’re about to run outa’ numbers. It was a great few days. In addition to the party, it was my week for a BM, one of the few things that has not been computerized, although the term “download” may have a place here.
But my wife and kids put on a party that was just fabulous! There were people from as far away as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, all because I’m in my final decade of double digits. They came 3,000 miles to see deterioration in progress. And I can still stand on one leg and balance a martini on my right knee. I call that my Beefeater Pose.
Gifts? Lots o’ gifts. My dear wife got me a bicycle. It is now for sale and it has only 750 yards on it. She bought it used from an old couple down the street, when it had 350 yards on it. I put the other 400 yards on it. It’s now leaning against a tree 400 yards from our house.
And, just now in today’s mail, I received my new driver’s license. I noticed right away that your license at 90 years of age is different from the old one. On the back where the donor listing is, there is a long list of organs. These are not the ones I’m donating; these are the organs I’m going to need prior to the license expiration.
Jack Fabian is a Lincoln resident, writer and poet.