My new age had barely settled in when I began reaping the benefits of being a whole year older. It was great to be able to check the box marked “I’ve stopped counting” on all applications. And of course McDonald’s offered me coffee at the discounted rate for seniors, but it was really great to see a movie for $3 less after showing my ID, and it is even better to have two people assist me on and off the treadmill at the gym each day. People are truly concerned about making sure I don’t overexert myself, which is the exact reason I avoid going to the gym in the first place.
The most surprising thing about my being a year older was the spike in responses my profiles received on Match.com, Oldies-But-Goodies.net and Counting-Down-The-Days.org. Apparently, my profile was chosen to represent the “older gentlemen” category, so it was the first time I had 48 year olds reaching out to me because they looked forward to the wisdom and guidance I could provide. It was thrilling to have so much in common with my potential suitors such as having the same medical alert bracelets, matching wheelchairs, and a healthy appreciation for the smell of Ben Gay. A few people even offered to pay for me to get autographs when I link up with my former classmates Betty White and Hugh Hefner at the next high school reunion.
For several weeks leading up to my birthday people asked what I was going to do to celebrate. Would I have my face carved into Mount Rushmore with the presidents? Would I allow Beyoncé’ and Britney Spears to perform backup at one of my concert events? Or, more realistically, would I finally make the time to offer those fitness training sessions to The Rock, Vin Diesel, and Tom Cruise so that they could bulk up before their next movies? Apparently they have dreams of one day having my physique. I mean, can you blame them?
Perhaps I did look a bit more in shape and svelte than usual around my birthday because I allowed one of my clearly deranged co-workers to talk me into going on the three-day Military Diet the week before I officially became elderly. For those three days, you’re essentially allowed to drink a glass of water and eat 1 peanut for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Yes, you read that correctly. I literally had to take one peanut and split it three ways to make it last throughout the whole day.
I’m not usually a dieter because I believe in the healing power of chicken nuggets. However, since my doctors have been telling me for years that I’m just one French fry away from being obese, I got excited at the idea that I could possibly lose ten pounds in just three days. I thought that if I stuck to the diet, I’d be able to finally squeeze back into those extra-large t-shirts that I adored in my twenties without first slathering myself down with a mixture of Crisco and lard. Oh, those were the days.
Naturally, I weighed myself on the first day. The number was so offensive that I immediately hopped off the scale and tossed it across the room and off the balcony. Unfortunately, it ricocheted off a tree branch and hit someone’s little boy in the head. Don’t worry, though. The kid was bothering some squirrels that were simply minding their own business, so he totally deserved the encounter with the scale.
With dreams of being a new and improved me for my 98th birthday, I set my resolve to endure the three days of starvation. On day one I heard voices and went through the five stages of grief and abandonment. On day two, one of my shrinks reminded me that I was doing this to myself just before she blocked my number and demanded that we both see other people. On day three I rolled around on the floor with hunger pangs and tried to eat one of my neighbor’s goldfish before I finally caved and had four Milk Duds after dinner. I had truly reached a new low.
The day after the diet was over, I practically ran to the scale to see what I had accomplished. Much to my shock and dismay, instead of losing ten pounds, I only lost three. I blame those four Milk Duds for getting me so off track! Disappointed and depressed, I had a cheesesteak for breakfast. By the next day, my replacement scale showed that I had gained all the weight back plus two extra pounds. In a rage, I flung the new scale off the balcony, too. This time the scale only slightly grazed the arm of someone’s grandma. Scared for her life, she ran for cover. However, her family later thanked me because they hadn’t seen her move that fast in years.
A few days before my birthday arrived, I decided that I would go to Niagara Falls so that I could finally scratch that off my bucket list. It was then that several of my friends informed me of how cold and miserable it would be up there this time of year. I was also reminded of my clumsy nature and that I would probably reach down to pet a friendly dog, trip over someone else’s shoelaces, and tumble right over the falls. After all, since it had been years since someone had accidentally gone over the railing, fate would probably recognize that I was in the area and choose me to balance out the numbers.
To avoid the run in with the dog and the shoelaces, I gassed up the car and drove to Norfolk, Virginia instead. If it was in fact my turn to stumble into Niagara Falls, fate was going to have to put in some extra effort to make that happen. My two additional pounds and I met up with some friends in Norfolk where I ate a lot, slept a lot and played Topgolf for the first time after being convinced that it was nothing like real golf and that I wouldn’t tumble off the third-floor platform if I somehow swung too hard, missed the ball, and was pushed forward by a gust of wind.
Much to my surprise, and possibly because I may be kind of related to Tiger Woods, I came in second place during the first game and I actually won the second game. Not to brag, but I was forty points ahead of my closest competitor. I mean, sometimes when you’re gifted, the numbers just speak for themselves. My win probably did have something to do with the scoring holes being large enough to be a parking lot, but I was just happy to be able to call my Dad and tell him that I had finally found a sport that I was partially good at. He was so proud.
Oh, and since I know what you’re thinking, because I’m responsible, like last year, I absolutely did not have drinks of any kind for this birthday. There were absolutely no cocktails, shots, wine, or beer of any kind. Did I mention no shots?
All in all, I have to say that being 98 isn’t so bad. For one, whenever I share how old I am with people, all of the compliments I receive for looking so good for my age is empowering. Also, when I explain that I have had very little work done so far, it is as if I’m giving people the gift of hope that they too can look as good as I do when they reach their nineties. Well, nothing is for certain, but one can dream, can’t they? Yes, one can dream.
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