Humor Non-Fiction posted November 3, 2014

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The Dilemma of Lifes Final Act

How to Avoid Cute

by Marisa3

Preface - I wrote the below piece when I was a mere youngster of sixty-six. Now that I have arrived in a decade where middle-age has lost its ability to stretch (the elastic snapped some time ago!), it is the beginning of the "cute" phase ... Ugh!! However, from this side of the fence, I view cute as less of a concern than complete negation. I am your average bear, not known for profound accomplishments or tagged for greatness. However, last I checked, I still possess a fully functioning brain and am capable of some degree of intelligent thought. This is not always appreciated by those who view people "of a certain age" (the new euphemism for OLD) as not being relevant.

I will admit it has been difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that I have reached and am now beyond the boundaries of middle-age. If truth be known, we actually reach that threshold in our forties, beyond that the use of the term "middle-aged' becomes a continuous stretch. Now if we lived as long as people did according to the Old Testament, then I would still be a youngster and this whole protestation with regard to "old age" would be moot.

Anyway, I decided to bring this piece back just for fun. As for my mention of being the head of the Gray Panthers, sadly, that did not occur. However, I am happy to say I have completely fulfilled my promise to embarrass my children and even grandchildren with my newly acquired candidness.

When one is a child one becomes accustomed to being referred to as "cute". It is the one time in life where having chubby cheeks and chunky legs are considered adorable. Each stage in the first years of childhood has its very own 'awwww' factor. At this point in life kids pretty much thrive on adults thinking they are cute. It buys them attention and is something a smart kid can use to manipulate the older crowd into doing their bidding.

As we all know, childhood is fleeting, so there comes a time when we are expected to live up to our potential and take our rightful place in society. We spend years building our careers and gaining the respect of others. However, once we hit that decade where we can no longer stretch our "middle-age" status, we are officially seniors. When the numbers hit the high watermark, i.e. 70s, 80s and beyond, then the "cute" factor kicks in, once again. It comes roaring back with a vengeance and it is not at all welcomed.

I can recall thinking things my grandmother did and said as being cute. She was a free spirit and very young at heart, however, not a lot of credibility was given to her as she aged. Mostly, she was seen as entertaining and, wait for it, ... cute as a button.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am not looking forward to a time when my kids and their peers find me "cute". This will mean that all those years I spent amassing credibility will just fly out the window, and I will become the equivalent of a toddler again. "Oh mom you say the cutest things." "Wasn't that so cute what mom just did." You get the picture, right?

What I do look forward to, when arriving at this legendary age, is being able to say exactly what I am thinking at any given moment. Old people pretty much earn that right, but they have to be in the high numbers in order to pull it off. Then, no matter how blunt or rude their comments are, they will still be considered "cute". Let's face it, if you have lived to the ripe old age of ninety-five, and you still have all your faculties, then buddy fire those puppies up and let the world have it with both barrels. No more Mr./Ms. nice guy.

I plan on giving my kids heart palpitations by being the most unpredictable and rancorous old cuss around. They will have to ply me with tea and scones and lots of chocolates in order to keep me quiet and polite. I love the thought of being a clever extortionist at such a ripe old age. It will keep them on their toes and my synapsis firing on all hemispheres, while blowing the dust off the ancient cerebral cortex.

Now, mind you, I fully intend to project a persona of gentility and grace. I will make sure I have the angelic look down pat; this is how you suck these pigeons in my friends. Sweet little old lady meticulously groomed and looking extremely refined. Once they are within my realm and they begin to speak to me as if I am four years old (which is what younger people tend to do to older people), and can only comprehend loudly spoken monosyllabic words, I will lower the boom on them. They will come away, ears ringing, and with a new found respect for the aged. The idea of this fills me with so much glee I don't even mind the thought that I will be very near the exit door at this juncture.

I expect to have experienced the longest presidency of the Gray Panthers since the formation of that organization. I will have made several trips to the Hill to rip those in the senate a new one with regard to issues concerning seniors in this country, of which there are many. No doubt my kids will distance themselves from that formidable, platinum gray, pink-cheeked figure they will see coming across their big screen TVs from the senate hearing room.

If I'm going to be allowed to hang around on this spinning blue ball for 80 or 90 years, then I want my presence to be felt and to have some sort of impact on the well being of others. No nursing home for me or drooling in my porridge, I am not going to be content to play cribbage with other blue hairs or sit and watch the blasted grass grow. Put me in one of those places and I will organize a massive breakout.

In the words of Dylan Thomas ... "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light ...."

"I think people would live a bit longer if they didn't know how old they were. Age puts restrictions on things." - Karl Pilkington

Life contains all the transient beauty of the ever-changing seasons. It is as tenuous as it is temporary and a true gift to all who will embrace it fully.

Story of the Month contest entry


Here is to all of us keeping that lovely spark of youth alive within. To the twinkle in the eye and all the mischief we can possibly get up to.

I think writers have an edge on the aging game, what with their special worlds they create and all the interesting characters that come to call and demand to be purged from their brains. As long as one can think, one can write. So gobble up your veggies my fellow scribes and whatever else helps to keep those creative fires stoked. Make it a good, long and oh so fascinating ride.
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