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Barry Lewis

Showing my age

Barry Lewis
Posted 4/12/24

I was talking with my friend Paul about luggage when I told him I needed to get a new valise.

“You’re going to Greece?

“No, I need a valise.”

“Why do you …

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Barry Lewis

Showing my age


I was talking with my friend Paul about luggage when I told him I needed to get a new valise.

“You’re going to Greece?

“No, I need a valise.”

“Why do you need Vaseline for your luggage?”

“Not Vaseline. A valise. I gotta get a new valise.”

He had no idea what I was talking about.

It was just the latest reminder that I have crossed the aging Rubicon. And in saying that I have crossed the Rubicon I’m again showing my age. I use words and phrases that have long left the vocabulary who learn about life watching TikTok while my age group watches the power of gravity.

We’ve become the baby drooper generation.

I long ago crossed over from a mature male to an aging man. Look, the average American male lives 73.5 years, which means I turned the corner on middle age more than a quarter of a century ago.

I watch the History Channel and notice I was around during most of its history shows.

This isn’t just a mental thing with me.

I’m also feeling the signs.

When I squat to pick up something, I sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies. I start feeling around to make sure I haven’t left any piece of me on the floor.

One of these days I’m gonna snap, crackle, and pop my way out of existence.

The sounds I make trying to get out of bed would scare a bear.

Since I started writing this column I’ve had to go to the bathroom four times.

I’ve noticed some other, less subtle changes in my life.

When I talk about “those kids,” I’m not referring to teenagers, but people in their 30s.

I look at the obituaries and think, they were so young. And now I try to find out what they died from, just to see if I might have any symptoms.

I remember when classic was current and retro was now.

When Chuck Taylors weren’t fab but simply functional. When wearing white sneakers was considered wild.

When Madonna was considered wild. Now it’s back to being a sign of respect. “Ah, she’s like the Madonna!”

When a high channel was 13 and when there wasn’t anything on television late at night. Just a test pattern.

When shorts were short.

When you patched holes in jeans. And they weren’t jeans. They were dungarees.

I remember when people referred to Paul McCartney as the cute Beatle. Now he’s known as one of the alive ones.

My granddaughter Catherine listens to the Beatles. Okay, that is one of the best things about growing old, sharing your love of music with your grandkids. I told her that I have one of their early 45s (which again redefines my advanced age, since they don’t press too many new 45s).

“What’s a 45?”

“A record.”

“You mean an album?”

“No, it’s like an album, but smaller. But with a bigger hole in the middle. And it has only one song on each side, and I played it on my Victrola.”

“Your what?”

“Record player. I played it on my record player. But you had to use a plastic yellow ... I don’t know what they called it ... but it was a plastic yellow piece that you put in the middle of the 45 to keep it on the Victrola, I mean the record player.”

“Why was it yellow?”

I told her I’d explain all about 45s another time, but that PopPop was going on a trip and that I had to go online to buy a new valise.

“You’re going on a trip with the police?”

“Yeah, as soon as I finish going to the bathroom. Again.”

Barry Lewis is a longtime journalist and author who lives with his wife Bonnie in the Town of Neversink. He can be reached at      barrylewisscdemocrat@gmail.com.


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