Ah, the "Golden Years"
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 by Ron Cruger
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  I had this slightly panicky feeling as soon as I woke up this morning and glanced at the clock on the dresser. It was almost eight o’clock and I was going to be late for work. My right foot felt for the floor and then it hit me: “I’m retired, I don’t have to go to work!”
        What a wonderful feeling not to have to worry about shaving, taking a shower, getting dressed and heading out the door to fight the freeway traffic. No more deadlines, disgruntled customers, disgruntled employees, late hours and missed lunches. After all, I think I’m enjoying my “Golden Years.”
        Ah, the “Golden Years.” What a wonderful juncture of my life. . A time for aches and pains and mysterious little spots growing on my skin. If those strange, new things are growing on the outside of me, what the hell could be growing on the inside of me?
        And the increased doctor visits. You know a pain here, a new ache there, a newly discovered lump here. It used to be that doctors took a profound interest in me during my yearly visits. After all, if my knee hurt years ago the doctor knew it might affect my lifestyle – I couldn’t play tennis every day or I couldn’t run as fast at the company softball game. . Now, in my “Golden Years” the doctor has x-rays taken of my knee, feels around it for 10-seconds and reports, “Looks like you have some arthritis there, how’s everything else – your prostate ok? We’d better give it a check. Getting up at night? Better lose some weight, champ, at your age you’re lucky to get around as well as you do. Well, good seeing you again, take care of yourself and while we’re at it, see my nurse and make an appointment to check out those things growing on your neck. Most likely they’re nothing, but it won’t hurt to check ‘em out.”
        Thanks, doc. I feel a lot better now!
        It may not seem like a big thing, but what the hell happened to my toenails? They used to be symmetrical. Now they’re yellow and growing thicker by the day. My toes look like I have ten ugly baby turtles on my feet. I have to use a Dremel with a small grinding stone attachment to trim them and when they grow too long I have to get out the hedge clippers to lop ‘em off.
        And where the hell did my eyesight go? If there was a giant “Welcome to Your Golden Years” sign across the street I couldn’t see it without my specs. And driving at night. My “Golden Years” eyes don’t pick up the white lines the way they used to. And the hearing. I’m getting tired of saying, “huh” or “pardon” or “what did you say?”
        Now I have a “Golden Years” section of my clothes closet. That’s where all the pants and shirts that don’t fit me anymore go to rest. Every morning I look at that section of my closet, filled with my “Golden Year” rejects and I swear to heaven that today I’ll start my “lifetime diet” and in a couple of months I’ll be wearing those clothes again. Of course, if I could fit into them again it would be the first time since Reagan was president.
        At the last visit to my doctor he said, “Well, Ron, your cholesterol is a tad high. Let’s put you on a different, more healthy diet. Do you like arugula, squash, celery, carrots, jicama, mustard greens, Swiss chard, turnips and rutabagas?”
        I answered, “Sure I do, doc, as long as they come on top of a ‘Whopper’ or a ‘Big Mac’ “
        I’m even getting used to the taste of Metamucil, not sleeping the whole night through, being the slowest driver on the freeway and having the clerks call me “sir” and ask if I “need any help carrying the package all the way to my parked car.”
        Well, anyway, here I am heading deeper into my “Golden Years.” Every day brings another adventure – like trying to get out of the La-Z-Boy recliner inside of two minutes without grunting. Who named them the “Golden Years?” Probably some guy around 30-years old with a sick sense of humor.