Up with Old Age

 Posted by at 11:30  Up With
Jan 312013
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You just can’t avoid it.

One of our principles here at Cantankerous Old Coots is not to hold back. We believe in straight talk, calling a spade a spade and

The Old Coot

The Old Coot (Photo credit: goingslo)

facing the music. We understand that those are the behaviors of a man of integrity and we firmly support the notion that in the English language, at least, a man of integrity is generic, encompassing both major sexes and even a few of the minor ones. Cantankerous Old Coots aspire to be men of integrity but we also modestly confess that telling it like it is is also a direct product of the aging process.

What else can you do when all those bodily functions and physical abilities desert you? You rant. And when ranting just doesn’t satisfy you start picking the world around you to pieces. You notice it’s failures and you tell is like it is. You can’t change reality or bring back your youthful energy, physical prowess and libido but it serves notice that you have had it up to here with old age and you aren’t going to take it any more. You channel Howard Beal. Of course, it doesn’t fix anything but, at least, it distracts you for the moment.

Which came first? The cantankerous or the coot.

One of the explanations for the existence of cantankerous old coots is the aging process. Getting old makes you just naturally turn cantankerous and, of course, when you turn cantankerous what is more natural than being called a coot. Most people will accept that as a straightforward explanation. Most people are fools. This is a very superficial perspective on aging , the kind that you develop when you are a youngster and don’t know any better. When you are young and everything works like it is supposed to, you just don’t know what you don’t know. Youngsters imagine that they understand life when, in fact, they are clueless.

Aging is one of those facts of life that we learn early on and think we understand. We observe old people but can’t fathom that life will take us all there- if we are lucky. The young mind sees old people and can’t truly believe that they were once young. They also have no way to understand their future; what it is like to be old. They believe it is all cosmetic, wrinkles and gray hair with the body still willing..

The young can’t handle it!

Youngsters can’t get their heads around the physical reality of aging. They don’t believe that it will actually happen to them. The young mind refuses to acknowledge it’s own aging . The young mind denies the physical deterioration of his body but each year that denial becomes harder to justify.

At some point the reality hits. Denial become impossible and the true test of life begins.

You begin to ask the important questions. What good are you? What justification can you find in struggling on? Who really cares? This is a painful and humiliating process: accepting old age after decades of denial. Some deal with it better than others. Many wilt with this acceptance and meekly surrender to decrepitude and dependence. Others just give up and expire. A few refuse to go quietly into the dark night of senility. They get mad. They fight back. They protest and complain. They get noticed. Sometimes they even matter. Those are the Cantankerous Old Coots.

It’s all futile. 

Of course in the end, it makes absolutely no difference. Life on earth is finite. At some point the perceived advantages of continuing to exist start to lose out to the difficulties. Cantankerous Old Coots might hold on longer just for the sheer, good-matured fun of messing with Mother Nature but that is an individual decision. Cantankerous Old Coots aren’t in it to win. Nobody wins. For a Cantankerous Old Coot it is the battle. Did you give it all you had? And did anybody notice?


Are you a Cantankerous Old Coot, a foolish youngster or in denial? Going down easy or hard?

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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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