Well here I am, the day after my 64th birthday just feeling all mere mortal wondering what happened to my invincibility? I no longer have the ability to leap over tall buildings in a single bound and I sure as hell can’t out run a speeding bullet. But I am able to sit here and type and my brain works pretty well, still.
My typing skills seem to have deteriorated and the backspace key more frequently serves as my early warning spell check than in the past. At first I though it was this laptop but then I have a new company computer at work with a “Chiclet” keyboard. They both have the same defective keys on the left side of the keyboard.
While my typing skills have fallen off, my eyesight has improved greatly. I accomplished my main health goal coming in to 2018 a month early. Yep. I spent about $500 on new progressive lens eye wear and then experienced nausea every time I walked with my eyes open for about two weeks.
I don’t know about anywhere else, but in South Carolina you can get a driver’s license that serves as an ID when going through TSA to board a plane. So I got a copy of my birth certificate from the health department and then carried a bank statement, a utility bill, proof of insurance, the renewal form, my old drivers license, my favorite recipe book – just kidding – to the DMV and I now am the holder of a REAL ID and can board a plane with it.
Problem is I haven’t flown since early 1988 and I sell cars for a living. The only time I go near the airport anymore is on a test drive. However, my youngest daughter has moved just beyond comfortable driving distance. She left South Carolina for Salt Lake City and who knows, I may go for a visit. If I do, I am prepared.
Back to my mortality. I am enjoying my first weekend off since I returned to work after my recent unpleasantness. That’s a saying we have been using in the South for the last 150 years or so. We use it when we refer to something that happened in the past and when we want to claim no responsibility we call it “recent unpleasantness”
Frequent examples here in the South include: “the war of Northern Aggression”, “what happened in November of 2016” and in my case “the events of Groundhog Day 2018”. Now I don’t totally deny that there is a causal effect between smoking for 45 years and congestive heart failure, it’s just the after effects that I’m not too happy about.
So for the last eight months I have been smoke and alcohol free and I feel better. Despite my misgivings neither Reynolds Tobacco nor Anheiser-Busch have filed for bankruptcy protection thus far. There really haven’t been any withdrawal symptoms or mental side effects from giving up that deadly pair. If there have been any, they are greatly overshadowed by my newfound fear of riding in the back of ambulances.
My breathing is much better and I eat healthy, monitor my sodium intake, take my blood pressure and weigh twice daily and try to make sure that I average least seven to eight thousand steps every day. I have realized that running is not an option and often joke that I can’t run across the street but at my age I already know whats on the other side anyway.
A couple of months ago I saw where there was going to be a “MAJOR” Cornhole tournament here in Greenville the same weekend as my birthday. Now I don’t think I’ve ever written about this but a decade ago I played competitive cornhole and traveled around the south in pursuit of my youth while in my 50’s. I probably won about 40 percent of my matches and a lesser number of tournaments but I had a good time, made a lot of friends and was in pretty good shape for a guy my age.
In reality, I was an average cornhole player about the age of most of the other players parents. However, I was married to Karen and she was a fantastic photographer with a great eye. Karen made me and a lot of other guys famous with her wall of Facebook pictures from all the tournaments that we traveled to. As time went by, we stopped going to tournaments. We also stopped being married but remain very good friends.
So, back to this weekend I decided to play in this tournament knowing full well that my somewhat lacking skill set from a decade ago would be seriously lacking. A few weeks ago I entered a very competitive social tournament and promptly had my ass handed to me in short order. I found out that the bags I had played with a decade ago were now outlawed and purchased a set of bags that “everybody likes and uses”. I attributed my early exit from that tournament in part to these new bags.
In the interim I practiced when I had time with these new bags “that everybody likes and uses” but I just wasn’t comfortable with them. I did however, find the many things wrong with my delivery, release, arc, foot position and my music list playing in my ears. But there was still something about those bags.
Well yesterday dawned and it was my 64th birthday and the first day of the two-day tournament. I ate breakfast, took my morning meds and packed my book bag with a towel, a couple of bananas and “the bags that every body likes” and set off to recapture former glory, yeah right. I was hoping just not to embarrass myself.
I was virtually one of the first arrivals and my old buddy Ryan, the tournament director, informed me that bags were furnished and that there were four styles available and approved for use. Well I found a set that closely resembled my old “back in the day” bags. After a few throws my spirits were buoyed as reality began to resemble my memories.
If you’ve never been to one of these tournaments, you try to get there early and throw for at least a half hour or longer to get loosened up and to find out if the humidity will affect the bags, are your shoes too tight and in general to gauge the competition. I threw for about an hour stopping only to drink plenty of water. Remember my recent unpleasantness?
The first event was a blind draw doubles event and I was paired with guy about my age. I had watched him warm up and figured that we were about the same. I didn’t think he had a chance to win outright but surely we would win a game or two.
Then we started throwing. It was over in six frames and we didn’t score a single point, we got waxed. My partner and I each gave up about the same number of points but I thought I threw like crap but not really any worse than my partner.
After about a ten minute break we were called back to our losers bracket game. As I walked over I noticed I was a little wobbly and light-headed but didn’t think too much about it. Once the game started I couldn’t seem to get my feet under me and well you can guess how this game turned out. We did manage to score about 8 points and prolonged the inevitable until 9 frames.
As I walked away I was extremely dizzy and found my chair and water bottle thinking I just needed a break. I ate a banana and propped up for a while. When I got up to refill my water bottle my gait remained unsteady. So I approached Ryan, told him I didn’t fill like I needed to be there and I would see him the next day. I got home and ate a lite supper and proceeded to go to sleep for the night at 5:30 in the afternoon. I didn’t get back up until seven this morning.
When I did get up I felt like I could lay back down and sleep another 14 hours. The morning proceeded at the pace of a good college hangover morning. In just 24 hours yesterday’s 64-year-old Superman had become this morning’s ClarkKent that felt like he was 84. But then again Clark always seemed to be ready to go in his suit, eyeglasses and fedora. Not me.
Today I realize that a couple of hours of leaning over, bending over, walking back and forth playing a simple game like cornhole is now something that I should no longer attempt. That’s pretty disappointing but I guess this is my new reality. I really can’t run across the street and now I really do know whats on the other side.