"Here, let me get that," Chris said as he hurried over to where I was loading 80 lb. bags of concrete mix into the back of my pickup truck. I was helping him expand the deck on the back of his house, and we were at Home Depot purchasing some of the materials. I am about 20 years older than Chris, but it was the first time I noticed him showing any concern about it.
Eighty-pound bags of anything have always seemed rather unwieldy, but these didn't seem any more so than those in my past. What I did notice was that Chris seemed to think that my lifting them was inappropriate. I thought back to about 30 years ago and recalled doing the same thing with my father when he was "getting up there." Hmmmm...
On the ride back to Chris' house, I started thinking about my age and my friends and realized that a lot of them are "getting up there." One good friend just had prostate surgery. Another had cancer surgery. Yet another had his second heart attack – and he is younger than I. The list is getting longer by the day. Just last month, one of my 'younger' friends died of cancer. Two others have heart arrhythmias. At this rate, pretty soon all of my friends will be younger than I am.
At work recently I was with some of the administrative staff, and one of them was talking about a man who had a massive heart attack and died right after playing 18 holes of golf. My first thought was, "No problem. I don't play golf." My second thought was, "If I die after 18 holes, I hope it's not golf." It's every man's dream to go out in style. Exactly what that style is varies greatly. For men, the most commonly expressed method of departing this life is in bed, having a passionate sex with a young lady. That sounds like a lot better way to go than lifting 80 lb. bags of concrete, but I probably won't have a choice in the matter.
The classic, Desiderata, found in a Baltimore church over 300 years ago, tells us to "...Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth."
I suppose that means giving up lifting 80 lb bags of concrete, along with young women, extreme sports, reading without glasses, sleeping 8 hours without peeing, and a host of other things. But I'm not going down without a fight.
"I'm okay. You go pay for it. I can load these bags," I replied to Chris. I may have to "gracefully surrender" to some things – like reading without glasses. But women, and these bags of concrete, are not yet on my list.