I think sometimes that researchers suppose we are all remedial in every venue of endeavor and aspiration.

Today on my e-mail, there is a book offer about identifying the signs of aging.

Now I've seen some over-the-hill hippies along my journey -- you know, the guys who need Metamucil but still wear beads and headbands and watch reruns of "Easy Rider" before they sign off at night. And I've seen people who have a complex where they try to stay young forever, dressing like younger people and hanging out with them.

But even for these people, they know about gravity and wear and tear. They see it in the mirror every morning. They know reality has a firm grip on both ankles.

Ponce de Leon did not find the Fountain of Youth. And even though lots of companies have said they've put that fountain in a jar for us, we know it's just a stalling device.

I don't really believe there are that many people out there who need a book or a video to tell them the signs of aging. I think their knees, lower back, kidneys, bowels and grandchildren will suffice.

It's been said that we go to class reunions to see how fat and old everyone else got. When we get back home, we look in the mirror, and then we get out the old albums, and oh my gosh we are them! We realize that we are older than our doctor and our preacher and our perspective changes.

These are all things that are about nature. It's natural that the changes occur. We don't need to read about detecting signs of aging, we can testify to those facts.

I don't have as much hair to comb as I did 15 years ago. It went away. I didn't see it go away because it went slowly. Now I can bemoan that fact, or I can rationalize that it's a good excuse to go out and buy a convertible. I don't have to worry about the wind messing up my hair. Actually, I'm too conservative for that. But I will drive with the windows down.

And when I squat, my knees crack. They sound like I need to squirt some WD-40 in the joints. And sometimes when I squat and get up quickly, I get dizzy. These are not signs that I am getting younger, so the opposite must be true.

I always found it kind of funny that when we are very young, we desire to speak of ourselves as getting older. We just can't wait.

"Yes, I'm 12, but I'll be 13 in three months, six days and eight hours."

And then we can't wait until we're 16. And the next benchmark is 21. After we pass 35, we realize that there were many things we wanted to do but now we don't think we have time. And then some folks start dwelling on time. By the time they are 40, they start lying about their age and all of that anticipation of birthdays in earlier days is now reversed. They would vote to outlaw candles.

Now I'm not saying that folks should seek to feel old and surrender to a rocking chair. Quite the contrary. I promote exercise and physical activities for even the elderly. I'm just saying that we should grow older with some dignity and don't pretend that those signs are not flashing. If someone needs a book or a pamphlet to tell them those signs, they may have even bigger problems. They might get into an argument on whether "Spiderman" was based on actual events.

Instead of a book that tells us the signs of aging, I would think there would be a greater market for one on accepting reality and embracing each new day as a gift. I'm sure there's one out there.

There's nothing wrong with an 80-year-old taking karate lessons as long as he's smart enough to stay off the streets at night looking for a rumble. At 80 he may even still be fit enough to ride a Harley. Go for it. Just don't go into a biker joint and ask for the "Shirley guy" who parked in your spot.

"Getting older is better than the alternative." That quote is not attributed to anyone because deep down it belongs to all of us.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.)

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