Sunday, July 8, 2012

Old Timers

Old folks are people who have been young longer than young folks.

Dana Bate
Hello Stuart
When I was younger I frequently played characters who were much older than myself because of my imposing voice and presence. I tried in my acting to approximate what I thought old and late middle age was like. I feel slightly embarrassed about that now. At my current age of 73 I realize now how youthful those men actually were. I would like to go back and play some of those characters again, and do it right. It's a great mistake of the younger generation to assume and ascribe to men and women of advanced years necessary decrepitude, loss of strength and abilities, memory failure and even disgusting attitudes about life and the young. "He's just an old curmudgeon." I'm fond of iterating that the reason old folks can't remember things is because there are things old folks don't want to remember.

I knew an actor about my age who, when we reached our 40's, began describing all the things that would go wrong with me. Soon this would start giving out, after a while I would be losing that and eventually I would have to have the other thing done to me. I completely rejected the whole theory from my own thinking. I saw him again years later and he was suffering from all the things he had described. I wonder what he thought when he saw that I wasn't.

A few years ago two younger people I know decided that the next logical step for me was to sign myself over to the soft featherbed of assisted living/nursing home, to put myself into the hands of the doctors, obtain my wheelchair and sit around preparing to die. One of them even said I would be bed ridden in six months. I laugh "Yes, I'm bed ridden every night and when the sun comes up in the morning, I'm healed."

Many artists, writers and thinkers have accomplished their greatest and most important work at the tender ages of 80 or 90. That's a fact of life, don't waste your time doubting it. Age may be pasted on to the basic model but the man and woman underneath is also still the boy and the girl.

There is no reason to stop and capitulate to anyone's idea of old age, even your own. Even though he went deaf Beethoven continued to compose some of the world's greatest music. As George Washington wrote "It's wonderful what we can do if we're always doing." And that's why I say -

Never Give Up
DB, and the Magical Vagabond Journeys


I recently received a peck on the cheek from two members of the female persuasion. Besides those I haven't experienced a real kiss in many, many years. I have no flowers. There is nothing growing outside, no trees, no bushes, no flowers, just a few pathetic weeds here and there. That, thankfully, does a lot to discourage the mosquito population, but it doesn't give me much in the way of flora. So I pose this question for those of you who have more experience in these matters.
Which is more important, a flower or a kiss? Why?

Thank you.


Jon said...

A positive attitude and an active life are the best remedies for "old age". Our bodies eventually break down but a youthful soul is all that is necessary.
Grandma Moses was painting in her 80's and Arthur Rubinstein was still giving piano concerts in his 90's. Picasso and Erte seemingly went on forever.
I think Wagner was 74 when he wrote "Parsifal".

Ken Riches said...

The key is keeping the mind active.