Rick's List — Old Person College edition

It occurred to me last week that I don't know how to be "old" — despite the fact that I AM. This lack of awareness is something I blame on my years as a rock musician, which is a profession that conditions you to a) date waitresses at pizza buffets because they bring the leftover pie to the band apartment each night and, more topically, b) ignore reality by forestalling normal levels of maturation.

"Arrested development," I believe the psychological condition is called — like the television show but with Stratocasters and a smelly van.

In any event, hints that I'm elderly have been increasing. These range from the AARP folks sending membership-info mailers — with discount coupons for the shuffleboard tournaments on river cruises down the Suwanee River (that's the one that's "sad and dreary" and, yes, "where the old folks stay") to flyovers by drones trailing banners that say "RICK, YOU'LL DIE SOON. CALL US! TATE CREMATORIUM."

What I think would be a good idea is Old Person School. It doesn't have to be Dartmouth-like in terms of faculty or even a picturesque campus (that none of us could negotiate anyway without canes or one of those Segway machines that the inventor giddily exclaimed would change the world and sorta didn't).

But! A casual curriculum on the machinations of aging would be helpful — maybe an Adult Ed program that takes place after hours in the local library. Here's what could happen:

1. Go to the correct classroom. (Bifocals, people!) Room 116 is "Entrée into Codgerdom."

2. Do NOT go to Room 115, which is the "How to Join a Biker Gang" class. (I walked into one of these classes by mistake once. The instructor thought I was a volunteer willing to let pupils practice splintering my kneecaps with a tire iron. Ouch!)

3. Pick courses that not only help you get familiar with your new role as "forgotten citizen" but that also appeal to your interests. A few I've signed up for are:

a. How to Harrumph

b. How to use a glass cough syrup bottle to shatter the windshield of the Mercedes owned by young rich guy who parked in the last handicapped space so it was easier for him to get his golf clubs to the Martha's Vineyard ferry.

c. How to master "Dead by Daylight," the popular and gore-shellacked slasher video game. Embarrass both grandkids with your homicidal prowess!

4. Do NOT go out for the Old Person School rugby team. No good can come of that.

5. If you DO mistakenly go into the Biker class, try to do so on the day they have a pig roast. Pretty good eatin'.


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