Harrison Ford was 66 years old when he made the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, two years older than I am now at the time of writing. Now, I am not so gullible as stupid-looking that I’m unaware that old Harrison probably didn’t do all the stunts seen in the film…but even doing the bits he did do, like climbing aboard a jeep, might require that I have some assistance. On realising that he was about to take part in a nuclear explosion, Indiana emptied a standard fridge of it’s contents and climbed in. To say the said fridge was bashed about a bit in the resultant nuclear explosion would be somewhat of an understatement…yet after the event, Indiana just opened the door and rolled out like he was the steel ball in the James Caan film, Rollerball.
Compare that with me getting out of my bed in the morning…
This is a poem about getting old…
WHY AM I NOT LIKE HARRISON FORD?
For me, getting old is the strangest thing.
You finally understand who you are
But rage against the machine you’ve become;
Which happens to be a circus clown’s car.
Bits of your bodywork keep falling off
And your shaft starts acting a bit cranky;
Your wipers don’t clear the screen any more
And your horn’s like a honk in a hanky.
I thought I’d be just like Harrison Ford,
Sixty-six years old, still moves with aplomb
In the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film…
He even survived a nuclear bomb.
Sixty-six years old and watch the guy go;
Derring-do diving and dealing with dread,
Swinging from cables and jumping from jeeps –
Not just a bit part in The Walking Dead.
You’ve seen ‘The Road to Homo Sapiens’;
Our march of progress from ape through to man?
Well that could me rising from a chair;
Straightening up to the best that I can.
All this with a grunt, creak and crack soundtrack,
Progress takes the piss out of progression.
Gives new meaning to The Ascent of Man
As I slowly rise to the occasion.
I think back to when movement of my joints
Wasn’t something that merited concern.
The slightest thing – like a jump out of bed
Now means I’m constantly needing to learn.
Like when you volunteer to do something,
Any zeal is left lying in ashes;
As bit by bit you remember, you’re old,
Your arthritis, but mostly your glasses
Having to squint at this year’s calendar
Is my only 2020 vision.
Whoever thought I’d be on first name terms
With my friendly dispensing optician?
I need glasses to look for my readers
Which more than often are sat on my head.
They’re always not there just when I need them
Like when instructions have need to be read.
Soft shoe shuffle takes on a new meaning
(I’ve even looked at those with the zippers),
But when it comes to discerning footwear
It’s hard to beat your old pair of slippers.
With feet refashioned by bunions and corns
And soles increased in surface area.
My shoes aren’t designed in Italy now
But by some doctors in Bavaria.
My teeth, like those young men, have all gone west.
The few that’s left have circled the wagons.
The dentist daren’t venture inside my mouth;
Like he’s seen on a map “here be dragons”.
So, I’m slurping through a surfeit of soup,
Losing the pounds and tightening my belt.
It’s been years since I enjoyed a rare steak;
I’m now vegetarian by default.
I recall my first-ever first aid box
Made from an old tin of Scottish Shortbread.
Barely room for aspirin, plasters and
A thermometer you stuck to your head.
Now it’s a medicine chest…of drawers,
Full of things you purchased through the Cold War;
Out of date ointments, eyebaths, support hose
And a dental plate you never once wore.
And I’ve finally got to the age that
My insurance allows a sporty car.
I’ve lost the confidence to drive it fast;
There’s no rush to head for the last hurrah.
And as for getting in and out of it,
I have to put my hands on the pavement.
So, I’ve swapped it for a Honda Civic,
Which saves money to no one’s amazement.
Concerning sex and the over-sixties…
It’s all still there, love, desire and passion;
But what once was a firework blast, now leaves
The building in an orderly fashion…
And beware making love in the bathroom;
The HSE are the experts to call.
They’ll provide your own risk assessment plan
You can laminate and frame on the wall.
The references I use make no sense
To anyone who might be thought youngish.
Like…who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?
To someone who’s going a bit sharpish.
A racer who retired when I was eight
Is the exemplar for my argument.
You wait for them ‘googling’ it down the street
And listen out for… “Oh! That’s what he meant!
I still like to go to the pictures…yes…
That’s the moving ones to which I pertain.
I’ve just stopped referring to ‘the wireless’.
Now I’m told I have to use it again!
There’s more hair grows on my eyebrows and ears
Than will ever again grow on my head…
And the number of things a cup of tea
Can beat is probably best left unsaid.
I’m hoping to grow old and rest assured
I’ll be raging against any dim light
And I’ve absolutely no intention
Of gently going into that good night
And neither will I be wearing purple
Not that there is anything wrong with that
But what might look fine on Jenny Joseph
Will end up making me look like a bit of a show off.