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Tuesday January 28, 2003

My dad's birthday

Tomorrow is my dad's 62nd birthday. My old man really is an old man. In eight short years he'll be in his seventies! Eight short, short years. I wonder what's going on in his mind now that he's officially retirement age. When he turned the big 6-0 I remember he was somewhat depressed about it. The AARP mailings didn't help. He's even gotten solicitations from funeral places (why these people want to cause severe depression in mature adults I don't know --hoping they'll commit suicide and bring some quick business?) which he's joked about.

I can tell it bothers him, that he's not as young as he used to be. And judging from the plethora of home projects he's taken up recently, he's probably not feeling as useful, either.

Aging is supposed to be a time when people sit back and stop fooling with all the labor crap. But is that really how people feel when they get older --do they enjoy it? Not from what I've heard from the old folks I know, and not from what I've seen with my dad. I hear a lot of complaints about back pain, arthritis, far-sightedness, and all that jazz. It doesn't sound fun.

But there's something else these folks don't always talk about, but is pretty easy to recognize: the feeling of being a throw-away. How does it feel to live in a society that consistently tells you that you're good for nothing? Like the funeral home mailings my dad gets --that it's time to die already? I can't wrap my mind around that.

Yeah, I've been pushed out of the way before (for being a girl, for being chunky, for being a chunky girl, etc.) but not to the point where I get junk mail from businesses hoping I die soon. I don't know.

Thursday I'll be going home so that my family could all have dinner together at some restaurant to "celebrate." My dad will order a beer (or three), maybe a Jack and Coke if he's feeling feisty. He'll peruse the menu, order either a steak or baked fish, and will eat quietly (unless he thinks of a story to tell about the home improvement projects he's working on). Then I'll come back to my dorm, my brother will go back home, my mom will go back to work, and my sister will go back to school. My dad will probably keep working on the house, maybe think of some new projects to start, and try not to focus too much of his time wondering about where he fits in the world now that he's officially golden. If a funeral home letter comes in the mail, I hope it goes straight to the trash.