LAST FALL, I TURNED EIGHTY. I find that it has changed my life for the better. First of all, as many of you can attest, getting old takes getting used to, like an obnoxious relative. It's not something that creeps up on you over the years; it shows up suddenly, a rather brutal realization that hits you upside the head in the dead of night and knocks you senseless. Up till then, you see, you've been in denial. But then, there's an occurrence. It could be anything from a midnight potty trip to an old friend's obit, maybe a back muscle painfully objecting to you reaching into the dryer, or a flight of stairs that does you in. Suddenly, to your inexplicable surprise, you are officially, undeniably, irrevocably OLD. It may not be the same chronological age for you as for someone else. Some people, we have all known them, get old ‘before their time.' For me, the eighty threshold was a bit of a shocker, I have to admit. But, now that I'm past it, I find that I am much more relaxed about my age. I have progressed beyond being a respected senior citizen to enjoying the protective categorization of impending senility. This provides me with a kind of shield akin to fluoride in my toothpaste. Any eccentricity which I display in public gets shrugged off as an old man's weirdness. My saving grace will be that I have a lasting and thorough knowledge of the criminal law, so I don't think I'll do anything illegal. I won't get arrested; I'll just embarrass my spouse.
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