Aging brains do dumb things

Trena Eiden
Posted 8/15/23

Is there anything glorious about growing old? I recently saw a sign stating, “Don’t grow up. It’s a dang trick.” Why didn’t somebody tell us, like a really long time ago?

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Aging brains do dumb things


Is there anything glorious about growing old? I recently saw a sign stating, “Don’t grow up. It’s a dang trick.” Why didn’t somebody tell us, like a really long time ago?

Last December, I took a birthday card with a check to the post office for a 14-year-old grandson. I got the mail, turned to throw away junk and spotted my sister. We hugged and chatted, then as I walked out the door, I asked myself, “Did you mail Garrett’s card?” I didn’t see it in my hand so guessed I had.

After a week, I called to ask if the card had arrived? No. I’d hoped it was simply late, but to date, the card has never appeared. I want to blame the post office because they’ve lost mail on occasion, but I know it was my fault — but I’m making God take some blame.

I think the card went into the trash with the junk mail and God tried to tell me, but he should have tried harder! At the moment he questioned me mailing it, I should have gone back and ask the clerks if it was there, or dumpster dived like I did back when our teenagers accidently left retainers on the tray then shoved them into the McDonald’s garbage.

I re-sent a check with a note of apology. It’s episodes like this that cause my kids to strategically place nursing home brochures on the bedside table when I visit, then tuck some in the side pocket of my handbag when I leave. Do you blame them?

Just this week, I lost my mailbox keys. I keep them in the same spot, but they aren’t there so if you would look through all your stuff for them, I’d appreciate it. I have friends who’ve agreed we’re losing our minds. If so, I don’t want mine back. That thing has been worthless for a long time.

When I told Gar about losing my keys, he nodded and said he understood, lamenting, “I came home from getting groceries with a candy wrapper in my hand to throw away. I took my hat off, put the wrapper and the truck keys in it and promptly dumped the whole shebang into the trash.”

The veterinarian, Dr. Pol, says sometimes he has to think for an animal. Gar and I need someone to think for us. We are no longer a smart ass-et.

There’re a few things I’m super good at doing. For instance, putting a mug of coffee in the microwave and promptly forgetting about it, sometimes more than once in the same day. I leave laundry in the dryer until it’s wrinkled, turn on the dryer to unwrinkle everything, then forget it again.

I take my vitamins then say, “Did I take my vitamins?” I curse software updates that change formatting, which makes me have to think. Think? Oh, not that, God … please. When introduced to someone, I immediately forget their name. In the middle of a conversation, I stop, grimace, then admit, “I forgot what I was going to say, but I’ll call you at 3 a.m. when I’m up for absolutely no apparent reason.”

When doing things right, people expect you to continue to add value. I think my ship has sailed past that rescue. Wally from Dilbert said, “Competence is a vicious cycle.” Well, that’s one less worry I have.

I do know I attempt to listen more carefully when someone is telling me of a plan that involves my assistance. I told Gar, “I take instructions like I’m being handed nuclear codes.” He nodded, “Ya, me too. I tune in like I’m an agent overhearing a conversation from an FBI surveillance van.”

I’ve always been chatty with strangers, and that may be more pronounced now, but I’m happy to report, it isn’t just me. Our daughter and a friend were walking last week when an older gentleman struck up a conversation with them. He was strolling with his dog, Fred, who the elderly man said was a hunting dog. Our daughter asked what he hunted and he winked, “Oh, biscuits, jerky, pretty girls…” Obviously several of us feel the need to say things that make everyone go, “Eek.”

One of our sons told me he didn’t think people wanted my opinion. I said, “Sure they do, I’m handing out life lessons.” He arched an eyebrow, so I added, “Or educating people against their will. Either way, my facts are backed up by my opinions.”

Old people get away with a little more.