if you didn’t know how old you are?
So said baseball legend Satchel Paige. The colour barrier prevented Paige from making his major league debut until the age of 42, when Satch was past his prime.
Paige spent five years in the big leagues. In 1965, Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley signed the 59-year-old pitcher to a one-game contract. Satchel Paige held the Red Sox scoreless over three innings.
I hit 50 three years ago. I was prepared to feel old but that Satchel Paige quote kept coming back to me. Did I feel half a century old? No fucking way.
It’s not denial. It’s not a matter of acting my age because, wrinkles, aches and pains aside, that idea has been laid to rest. The rules have changed. Perhaps even erased.
Hanging out with Dad
When my parents were in their 20s, their group of friends included a man who may have been 35. Being 35 was considered old back then so Mom and Dad referred to the old lad as “Dad.”
Now I’m the Dad.
A few weeks ago I was sharing drinks with two female friends. Both in their late 20s. One took a bathroom break and a few mimutes later, a young guy fella walked up to our table and hit on my companion.
She shot him down, politely. He looked at me and said, “Are you her Dad?”
Now, if I felt out of place I’d pass on hanging out with these younger females. I don’t. And, bless their hearts, they make me feel welcome and don’t look at me like I’m the ancient mariner.
When 50 was super old
When I was in my 20s I wrote for a monthly magazine devoted to collectible art. It was my first job out of college. My boss, who was 40 at the time, launched another publication called “Fifty Plus.” Aimed at seniors. Because over 50, well, you’re entering your golden years!
The idea of lumping 50-somethings in with super old folks in their 70s or 80s seems laughable now. I’m not ready to take up lawn bowling and even golf seems like a sport for guys way older than me.
Well, until this year, I had been playing slowpitch with people ranging from their late teens to their 40s. My team folded last year and I retired after having a pretty decent playoff weekend last September.
I miss playing ball. Don’t miss the 20-mile drive, which was the main reason I hung up my glove.
My Mother is 88 and looks much younger. She doesn’t feel anywhere near her age and is likely the hippest closing-in-on-90 woman you will meet. She knows who Channing Tatum is. Many of her contemporaries are more familiar with Carol Channing.
It’s in the genes
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Hell yeah. Mom is an ageless wonder with no medical issues. She lives in her own condo. And watches Channing Tatum movies. And rom-coms with Rachel McAdams.
It’s not a matter of turning back the clock. More like throwing the damn thing away and realizing that, in the words of Chilliwack, time is just a rubber band.
Oh, and my “daughter” wished me a Happy Father’s Day when I commented on a Facebook photo of her real Dad. Thanks honey. And cheers.