Mike Dorn Wiss

Better to blaze your own trail
Than to follow another's, unwinding
For in the slippery path of life
The search is greater than the finding

Getting Old Sux


Like most cliches, there’s an element of truth in them. Those such as: “Never trust a fart or a hard-on” and “I remember when doing “it” three times a night did not mean getting up to take a leak” were cliches I used to chuckle over when I heard seniors utter them in self-deprecating acceptances of life’s changes over time. Nowadays, having more than once teetered to one side in order to float an air biscuit and instead finding myself delivering an odiferous and inconvenient gel, I don’t chuckle so much. Fortunately, with thanks to the science that has given us quicker-pecker-picker-uppers, I needn’t concern myself over the other issue of trust. 

I have, however, really taken a dislike to Peter Prostate. That sunuvabitch has caused me no end of inconvenience. It is impossible to go out in public without keeping an ever-vigilant eye out for the nearest pissoir. One moment I can be ambulating in comfort and in the next urgency can strike out of the blue. More than once I’ve had to chance hopping the odd fence in order to step behind someone’s rose bush, or needed to slip into an alleyway while praying for dark shadows. So far I haven’t been shot at nor busted for indecent exposure of minor miracles, but how long can one toss dice before one of them lands on edge against the side of the table?

Old Petey has another frustrating habit as he first tells me it’s time for yet another leak but when I stand over the toidey, hose in hand, he impishly decides to take a short nap before allowing the faucet to open. Many times I tire of waiting, zip up and continue my day, only to be boffed by the Louisville Slugger of Urgency two or twenty minutes later. Other times, playing with my mind, he allows the hose to perform like that of a teenager, just to let me know that he can. 

But the real pisser (so to speak) is that he refuses to allow me to sleep in stretches of longer than an hour or so, and as a result, REM sleep has pretty well become a thing of the past.  The ability to dream has gone with it, and that is a goddam tragedy so far as I am concerned.

I compensate, of course. I like to meditate more than I ever used to. I like to find a quiet place or time and lapse into a rhythm of yoga- breathing until I reach that state where my mind can flutter freely about, like a butterfly thrilled that the wind has dropped to a breeze. It’s not unlike dreaming, and has the advantage – unlike most dreams – of allowing some conscious choice of direction.

Playing bridge is a great contraceptive to Alzheimer’s; studies have proven so, and experience has shown me so. The mind requires exercise as much as does the body. The Yin and the Yang and all that stuff. Nevertheless I find myself – these days more than former – having names slip my mind more than at any other time in my life, and not just those of people I have known or know. Names of actors, writers and other film personnel step into a pit of quicksand in my mind and sink out of sight. Sometimes I am able to dip a blind arm into the muck and someone’s name that is choking for air just beneath the surface will stick to my fingers and I can draw it back out.  Others – albeit rarely – sometimes burst through the surface unannounced, gasping for air, and I snap my fingers and utter “O yeh! It was so-and-so!” 

Other elements of aging also rear their ugly punims. That of physicality especially. Fortunately I had the good sense to quit smoking tobacco over eighteen years ago. Best damn thing I ever did for myself. I still take a daily look in the mirror and say: “Mikey, you are a nicoholic, and you will not smoke for one day!” That is how I started quitting and how I stay quitting. Will power. All those other crutches and methods are bullshit, at least for me. I tried the patch, the ridiculous chewing gums, lasers and even hypnosis (yeh, like some troglodoc is going to usurp my control of my mind!). Nicotine addiction is more difficult to overcome than even that of heroin (or so I’m told). I don’t envy anyone the chore, but even less do I wish upon them the ravages of lung cancer or the wheezing suffocation of emphysema. My paternal grandfather and a lifelong close friend died of the former and two friends and one acquaintance the latter. ‘Nuff said about that subject.

I’ve taken to water running. I purchased a bouyancy belt which enables me to “stand” chest deep in deep water, and I run in place. It’s great exercise with no downside of the shock of heels hitting pavement and knees squishing in painful protestation. Already I’ve lost seven kilos, although I’ve been searching fruitlessly for the eighth for weeks and I need to drop at least another dozen. And that’s just so that when I take a jump shot my toes actually leave the ground. 

I’ve looked in the mirror and wondered what in blazes all these attractive Thai ladies find attractive about my “pom pui” shape. O yeh…it’s my “jai dee” (good heart), Errol Flynn eyes (at least those don’t change)…and did I mention my wallet?

About the only good thing I’ve discovered about getting old is a newfound appreciation for the “cowgirl” position. I simply have neither the wind nor the leg muscles for anything else. And a damn good thing I like “gin hoi” more than “boom boom”. That may be “too much information”, but frankly I don’t really give a shit. This is, after all, my personal tribute to Liza, and if you aren’t entertained by it you may have to consider how much it’s costing you.

Getting old sux all right, but so far as I am aware it beats the alternative.



Author: Mike Dorn Wiss

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