Monday, February 15, 2021


 Random Post-Panic Pandemic Reflections


The Advantages of Old Age

At seventy-six I don't feel that old, but every day it seems that there is some kind of reminder that makes me face reality. I remember how insulted I was when I got an AARP card in the mail when I turned 50.  Twenty-seven years ago, I was in line ordering breakfast at McDonald's when the young woman behind the counter asked, "Would you like the "senior coffee" with that? Boiling inside, I told her as politely as I could, "Absolutely not! I want your regular coffee!" Things like that used to happen all the time in the dining room when I was working at Saint Meinrad Seminary. I would be talking about something that happened in the 1980s when I would be interrupted by one of the seminarians. "Father! We weren't even born yet!"  Even now, when I go get my haircut at one of those barbershops where young guys go, I realize I absolutely hate all their music no matter how many different stations they tune into! 

Another aggravation of being old is trying to keep up with your doctors: optometrist, dentist (regular and endodontist), dermatologist, internist and a whole slew of "specialist" (urologists. gastroenterologists, hematologists and radiologists to name a few. It drives me to hum the old kids song, "Dry Bones." "The toe bone connected to the heel bone, the heel bone connected to the foot bone, the foot bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the head bone, Oh, hear the word of the Lord!"

I don't mind going to regular appointments, but I hate like hell filling out those clipboard forms that ask the same old questions over and over again: name address, phone number, e-mail address, etc. I have threatened to get a gigantic 8 X 10 rubber stamp with all the information on it and a big stamp pad with red ink to take with me to the next appointment!  

    However, yes however, there are some certain advantages to being seventy-seven! Let me start with the latest thing. I got my second  COVID vaccination two days ago! I am "over the moon" with excitement, as my friend in Ireland says! I know I still have to "be careful," but I don't have to be "paranoid" about being near other people! This certainly beats the hell out of free "senior coffee" with my McDonald's sausage and biscuit!  Yes, I had a little reaction (feeling tired and achy) for a day and a half, but I am as happy as a pig in mud! I wanted to kiss that needle in my arm!

    Another advantage of old age is getting that Social Security check deposited each month. Even though it was money I paid into the fund, it feels like the "gift that keeps on giving" if you don't think about it too much! (Most people don't know that priests pay the full Social Security tax. It is not split 50% - 50% with the parish or diocese as is done between typical employers and employees. Believe it or not, priest are considered "self-employed" as far as Social Security! I'd love to get my hands on the guy who came up with that bright idea! I used to complain to the Chancery that if we are "self-employed," why can't we set our own salaries?)

    As an old retired priest, another advantage of being old and retired is that you don't have to pretend you like everybody you didn't really like when you were a pastor of a parish!  You can ignore them and get away with it! Along with that, you don't have to sit through long tedious meetings with endless reports, pretending to be interested in things like grade school football and whether the price of raffle tickets should be raised. Additionally, you can sleep in when you feel like it or go to bed as early or as late as you want without having to explain it in the parish bulletin. 

    You can eat what you want when you want, answer the phone when you want and ignore the doorbell when you want. Last of all, you can post how you really feel on your own blog without having to apologize if someone is offended and threatens to withhold their contributions to the church! 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last!' 

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