Archived: A Celebration of Aging

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I turned 74 on Christmas Day. (Yes, I know. I share the birthday with a famous person—Humphrey Bogart.)
As ages go, it’s without special significance. All it means is that I’m too old to cease to be before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain. My brain doesn’t teem as good as it used to.

Which I was reminded of the other day while spending a brisk morning searching for my car keys. I finally found them (in the ignition, oddly enough) and was further reminded of an e-mail forwarded to me by a friend the week before.

It’s one of those Internet joke things that show up in one’s e-mail from time to time. I generally don’t find them terribly amusing but this one seemed to have the relevance of a bad dream.

A Day in the Life:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and see that it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the useless mail in the trash basket under the table and notice that the basket is full. So I put the bills back on the table and first take the trash out to the recycling bin.

But then I think since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off the table and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study so I go to my desk where I find a can of Coke I’d been drinking. I’m going to look for my checks but before I do that I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.

The Coke is getting warm and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye—the flowers need water.

I put the Coke on the counter and discover the reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning. It occurs to me that I’d best put them back on my desk before I lose them again, but first I have to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote that someone has left on the kitchen table.

I’m afraid that tonight when we go to watch TV, I’ll be looking for the remote but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I pick it up intending to put it back in the den where it belongs. But first I have to water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers but my hand slips and most of it spills on the floor, causing me to set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

It takes a while, after which I head down the hall trying to remember why I went to the kitchen in the first place.

At the end of the day:

The car isn’t washed, the bills aren’t paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers don’t have enough water and there is still only one check in my checkbook.
I’d watch television but I can’t find the remote.
I’d read a book but I can’t find my glasses.
I’d go to a movie but I don’t remember what I did with my car keys.
And I have no idea why nothing got done because I was busy all day.
Which I would tell my wife—if I knew where my cell phone was.

Don Kaul is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-losing Washington correspondent who, by his own account, is right more than he’s wrong. Email: dkaul2@earthlink.netDistributed by MinutemanMedia.org

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