Built In Percussion

Getting older doesn’t suck.

Seriously, you younger people, it’s not bad. Getting older is kind of awesome.

I mean, getting older isn’t effortless or anything, but still, it’s a good space to dwell in.

After five decades, I’ve finally come to the conclusion I can be exactly who I am. Just me. I can be me. I might be weird or broken or scared, but that is okay. I can still be exactly who I am.

I wish so bad I could tell ten year old me this, but I can’t. She just has to wait. I feel bad for her because she always has to wait. She never gets to know that one day we will be okay.

But I digress.

Getting older doesn’t suck as long as you make concessions for the inevitable changes.

Our weekend has been mellow and slow and wrapped around us like a cocoon. Randy has been smoking ribs and chicken and has music playing on his phone in his pocket. By the time it gets to my ears, it’s tinny and a bit annoying, but it makes him happy.

I walked into the kitchen just in time to hear The Israelites by Desmond Dekker and started to do the twist to the music. Then my knees went: POP POP.

Me: I am at the age where I bring my own percussion.

Randy: Are you okay?

Me: I got the beat. I am a one man band and I am the instrument.


Me: I’m fine. That was just loud. It didn’t hurt.

Me: My ankle hurts and I don’t know why. And my back. My hips are just fucking killing me. I think I have arthritis.

Randy: You sound like an old lady.

Me: motherfucker.

Randy: I think there is someone on our yard.


Randy: You might want to stop shaking your head that hard. You’re not going to be able to walk tomorrow. Because you are an old lady.

Randy: I’ve never heard your neck make that noise.

Randy: motherfucker.

Sooner or later, all dances must end.

Randy and I sat at our kitchen table together working on a story idea. I told Randy I thought the idea lends itself to collaboration or a round up would work.

Randy: That’s a great idea! You could come at it from the senior citizen angle.

Me: motherfucker.


Randy: It was kind of funny.


Randy: Well, it was.

You know how we improve with practice? How we do a task over and over until it is fluid and we start to become experts? Okay, perhaps not experts, but still, we can get pretty good at something.

Randy is a goddamn expert at not being funny. I used to feel bad for him because he’s not as funny as he thinks he is and he makes the lamest fucking jokes on the planet. But then I decided he isn’t improving his comedy skills, he’s honing his “not being funny at all” skills.

He’s actually often very funny, but don’t tell him I said that because he’ll just be unbearable. 

It’s kind of funny, this aging thing. Every year I go into, I learn something new. I learn my hips hurt most of the time and I learn I’m so much better than I ever believed of myself. It’s a fair trade.

I know Randy will always make lame ass jokes and which gives me a sense of security. There is a satisfaction in knowing I will always get my recommended daily number of eye rolls in.

I also know when we sell this house and buy a new one, we are not considering a two story house. We’re not getting any younger. Stairs are more daunting than they used to me. It’s odd to take these things into consideration.

I might as well love aging because as far as I know there is no music in the alternative.

I will continue to keep time with my knee pops for as long as I can.


Photo courtesy of Michael Gaida.








46 Thoughts.

    • Preach sister! I turned 60 with fanfare and balloons! I stopped coloring my hair and jumped with both feet into 60. Then my body said “no more jumping! you’ll break a hip” so I danced into 60 but my body said “yeah not that either, you can’t make it through a 3 minute song without stopping to catch your breath” Now I’m 63 and at yoga a couple of weeks ago (stretch and flex yoga for geezers) we did a move and my knees popped so loud the entire room heard them. “was that you? are you okay?” (my 73 yo instructor ) “yes that was my body telling me to stop this nonsense and go home and drink a glass of wine while binging Netflix” (insert knowing laughter from the rest of the class) I stuck it out and am still going. Fuck you 60’s…bring it.

  1. How about our own sauna?
    I lose more weight sweat sleeping than any ‘saran-wrap’ spa/weight loss clinic ever thought possible.
    And that doesn’t include the daily double clothing system that allows me to shed layers for the inner fire and then reapply those layers for the inevitable chill after the sweat pools and starts to dry.
    So, now, instead of blaming menopause, I’m Googling ‘insufferable sweating’ to see where thyroid and pituitary gland syndromes land on the scale of ‘close to dying.’
    They only rate a 3 star for misery and a 0 for near death… BTW…
    But… a little over a year ago, for bad hips and lower back ache, I got one of those ergonomic chairs for my desk at work and I’ll be damned if that didn’t do the trick.

  2. Ah, you have heard my song and dance before, I am 65. I am old as fuck but then I think I am not as old at the old fart I was married to. He is 71. I decided I was old when I couldn’t buckle some shoes I love. Its my hips, my back, my neck….On the bright side, I have finally decided to be myself, too. I look at that younger me and thing God you were so pretty, what was wrong with you? When your son is really gone, that is really when you will enjoy life. Then the grands come along, that is a whole nuther story…..

      • I was going to have the house with the white picket fence, two children and be the perfect home maker. (remember my age). As it turns out, I have 6 houses, two children and am working my ass off. But you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hate corny cliches but my favorite corny cliche is “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I guess that goes with the home maker and picket fence. Remember I was the gen with “Mary Tyler Moore Show” No, it isn’t what we thought but we can make it really fun and offend a few people along the way!

  3. I am saying goodbye to 54 on Wednesday and my body too lets out some of the weirdest creaks and groans now. I go to bed feeling great and wake up feeling broken some days. How does that happen?? My emotional self is also demonstrating odd behaviour too. I am scared to think of the mess I will be in another five, ten years. On the other hand, I renewed my drivers license last week for another five years (I probably won’t do five more when it expires in 2022) and I agreed to donate my organs and tissues to anyone crazy enough to want the parts along with the remaining carcass to science should I meet with fatal disaster and that made me feel really good. Good for you and your attitude to love aging – I am struggling with it.

    • I love it because my brain is better than it used to be. I am still anxious and prone to depression. I still obsess. But I am kinder and more accepting of myself. That counts for a LOT. I also don’t care about so many of the things that used to drive me crazy. I like that, too. The physical aspects are not as desirable.

  4. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how I wasn’t the amrtest, cutest,most successful. With age, I’ve learned just to do my thing and not worry about it.

    What I haven’t learned to do is NOT cross my feet up, crossed, while I’m reading. It makes the reading breaks awkward, as I look like an old man when I’m trying to get down the stairs afterward.

    All things considered, though, I still prefer this age to being a teenager, when I stressed out about stupid stuff.

    • HAHAHA…I sit with my legs crossed in my chair at work, Indian style. I shouldn’t do this. It kills me, but I do it without thinking about it, then I hobble for a minute or two when I try to walk.

  5. I am enjoying my last year in my 40’s. We moved into a townhouse last year, with a full basement (so 3 levels) and I just looked at the stairs as the inevitable way of getting a banging booty. I’m beginning to think it’s going to take more than just daily trips up and down the stairs.
    Also, Sam, is not funny either. Much like your Randy, he’s an expert in not being funny and not being as cool as he thinks he is.

  6. On the bright side you’ve also managed to outlive some famous dead people. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart…I’ll stop there because if I mention anyone older I think I’ll be skating dangerously close to being called motherfucker.
    The downside for those of us who are getting older of course is that we’re running out of time to grab onto fame and success, although there are some people who achieved it late in life. Robert Frost published his first book of poetry when he was 41, L. Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz when he was 44, and Colonel Sanders didn’t start Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62.
    Those are just examples and I swear I’m not trying to be a motherfucker.

  7. You have a way to make me smile even when your posts may bring out thoughts in me that are too deep and heavy. Thanks for making me grin and think.
    I hope I can find that kind of self acceptance one day.

  8. .
    Ah yes, a house with no stairs (different from a horse with no name) but I digress.

    It is the noise I make when I get up from a chair ….It kinda sounds like ” arggghhhh’

    And ya, my right si joint – is constantly a nagging pain.

    But hey, living to a ripe old age is better than the alternative anyday.

  9. I’ve found that in my fifties, the percussion section in my knees just complements the horn section in my butt. An aging digestive tract is very tuneful, as it turns out!

  10. So I started to write a long comment about stairs and how they got harder to navigate after my stroke, but my computer just ate it, so I’m taking that as a suggestion to move on to a different topic.
    OK, how about I can’t seem to put the refrigerator back together because I have a hard time getting down on my knees, and the shelf is below the upper drawer, so I can’t see which notch to hook the frame into without getting down there, and bending over or squatting down just didn’t seem to work…
    Did I mention that I wasn’t the one who took the damn refrigerator apart?
    It really seems like I would have mentioned that part, in fact, it sounds just like me.
    Wanna hear a Richard Thompson song that mocks our president even before he became president?


    Of course, being a Richard Thompson song, the guitar is far better than that creep ever deserves, even in a song specifically mocking him.

    • I fucking ADORE Richard Thompson and I haven’t heard this song. I will play it when I get home. Youtube is blocked here. Also, I get it about the fridge. I’m painting baseboards these days and the up and down is horrible. I need one of those little stools with wheels on it.

      • I got the damn ‘fridge put together. We gotta go to the store, and that shit has to go somewhere when we get it home. Preferably somewhere cold for some of it. Sometimes I wish I had a video camera to catch the pratfalls and near pratfalls I get up to when I’m serious about getting something done.

  11. I got arthritis in my 30s. 20 years later, it’s much better so I’m definitely enjoying this “getting old ” gig. By the time I’m 70, I’ll be breakdancing again. Also, Ken and Randy should get together for a lame joke contest:-)

  12. 69 and counting….everything hurts, or else plays snap, crackle, and pop like it’s gonna hurt soon. But in spite of everything (like donald trump and hurricane Harvey and low interest rates so our savings don’t earn shit) I still plan to live to 102. And dance when I get there.
    I love your and Randy’s sense(s) of humor. Laughter really is good medicine.

  13. A friend passed the article on to me via email. I’m in my early 40s. You know, that age when everyone starts seeing you as the “old mom” or, even better, not seeing you at all. I loved your article. What I loved about it most was your voice. Your voice is awesome. Your voice is fresh. Your voice cuts through a massive chunk of other whinging, authoritative, “experty”, trite and claptrap nonsense that we’ve all heard through the ages. You are hella funny and just plain fucking fantastic. Keep slammin the keyboard homey!

    • Holy shit, this is really awesome and perfect fucking timing. This evening, so far, my car was dead when I left work because I left my headlights on. Then, after getting a jump from a coworker, I came home and we had to take cat poop to the vet. And my cat pooped on the floor. Twice. My anxiety has been fucking killing me for days. Then I read this and for a few minutes, all is right with the world. This made me feel good. Thank you.

  14. I hit 50 in 3 years and I noticed one grey hair the other day, which is not too bad I suppose, I feel about 30 though. I don’t like aging one bit! Great post

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