What is so graceful about getting old(er)?

Wok & Roll by Peter Kwong, (Frederic) Inter-County Leader
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I never thought I would become a senior citizen so soon. Is it good or bad? Frankly, I don’t know and don’t care. At least, that’s what I thought.

Folks at the liquor store stopped asking for my ID a long time ago. The only time that someone would ever ask for my ID these days is to make sure that it matches the information on my Medicare card.

Even the counter lady at Culver’s automatically gives me senior citizen’s discount by just looking at me. What? What? Is my age written all over my face? I guess my white hair (or lack of it) is a dead giveaway.

Peter Kwong
Peter Kwong

I’ve seen folks wearing a wig to look cool, and it looks absolutely ridiculous. I’m not even going to entertain that thought. It would look like a pesky squirrel was munching on my scalp. Plus, I never look good with brown hair.

I guess I should just grow old gracefully. But what is so graceful about getting old(er)? In the Orient, being the elder has its perks — all the younger ones would “kowtow” to you.

When you were seated at the table, you always got the best seat, with all the scrumptious dishes at your reach. The younger ones will be seated where the not so popular parts would be facing — the butt and the head of a chicken (we serve the chicken whole), or the head or the tail end of a fish.

Rule of thumb: one should just eat what he can pick up in front of him; to stand up and reach for a juicy piece, or worse, to have his chopsticks over someone else’s is considered a lack of respect and manners.

I would abide by those dumb rules, fearing the consequences I would face at home later. Yet, seeing my cousins would do whatever they could to get a succulent morsel just drove me nuts. What to do? I was the youngest one at the table; and rules are rules.            

Now that I am retired, age doesn’t concern me anymore. Growing up, I was always treated as the older kid because of my size. I am taller and stronger than all my relatives and classmates.

I remember visiting Hong Kong a few years ago. My buddies took me for a tour at a famous temple some distance away. I think they all paid $45 for the fare. Then came my turn and they only charged me $18.

I was honored, thinking they must know that I was a visitor from afar, returning home to see his motherland. When I asked why the nice gesture, the counter lady plainly said, “Oh, we gave you the senior discount fare.”

I stood there, speechless, while all my buddies were laughing their heads off. Goodness, they were all older than me! I don’t know how I should feel — joyous or sad? Ah, another mystery of life. But hey, I saved $27, what the heck.            

Just when I was pondering on the thought of getting old(er), a good friend sent me some jokes about senior moments, which I would love to share with you.

Yes, we all need to laugh at ourselves sometimes. Hope you enjoy these senior moments as much as I do:

  • I am all dressed up, standing by the door, wondering whether am I coming in or going out.
  • Overheard at the entrance of a restaurant. “Oh, how I love valet parking. I always forget where I park my car.”
  • Two ladies were driving in a car, one noticed that the other just ran a red light. She didn’t say anything. Then, after she ran the second red light, the lady said to her companion, “Dear, do you know that you just ran through two red lights?” “Oh dear, am I driving?” was the reply.
  • “My husband’s blood pressure has been lower than normal, what should I do?” asked an elderly lady. “Tell him that you’re pregnant,” answered her friend.
  • “I used to go out at 9:30 p.m. and hit the town. Now at 9:30 p.m., I hit the bed.”
  • “Going out is good; coming home is better.”
  • “Grandpa, after you and Grandma have been married for 55 years, it is nice to hear that you still call her honey, dear and sweetheart.” “Yes,” said Grandpa, “I forgot her name a few years ago.”
  • It would be nice when people say that you look “Great,” if they wouldn’t add, “for your age.”
  • You finally realize that you’re never going to be really good at any sports, especially golf.
  • “My wife is counting on me to remember things that I don’t remember.”
  • The things that you used to care to do, you no longer care to do. But you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.
  • How come husbands sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than they do in bed? It is called “pre-sleep.”
  • Remember when your mother said, “Wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident.” Now you bring clean underwear in case you have an accident.”
  • Don’t you miss those days when everything worked with an “ON” and “OFF” switch?
  • Those cute freckles are now liver spots.
  • How come everybody whispers these days?
  • How come the wives waited years for the husbands to retire? Now that they have, they can’t wait for them to find a job.

That’s it for now. Don’t forget to check into phkwong.com to check on my new book, “Wok & Roll.” Or send me an email for more information: phkwong1668@gmail.com.