At first, we have fun laughing at our little problems of aging. They are no more than a nuisance, and our struggles with them are a staple of many sit-coms. Bart Simpson’s grandfather falling asleep in mid-sentence. Vicki Lawrence’s portrayal of Eunice’s criticizing and sarcastic mama on the old Carol Burnett Show. The Pickles cartoon strip in our daily newspaper. We laugh. Everyone laughs.
“Ha, ha. Any trip down to the basement usually requires a second trip. I forget what I went down there for and have to go back upstairs to remember.”
“When we checked out of the motel, I couldn’t find the TV remote. We didn’t even watch TV, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, not in my room, not in the car, not in my suitcase. When we got home, I found it in my pants pocket and had to mail it back. We still laugh about that.”
“When I sneeze, I wet my pants.” (ladies) That once happened at a restaurant. It was so bad, I had to hold a napkin in front of me and sneak out the back. Ha, ha.”
This is how it is as we age into our 60s and may continue into our 70s. The timing varies. It is not a neat, one-decade thing. It is a long sequence of minor annoyances, but we have the time to fix them and we laugh at ourselves. Then, suddenly, it isn’t funny anymore.
“I stumbled stepping out of my own car. Spent 6 hours in the ER, got 7 stitches in my forehead and have my wrist in a cast. Had to borrow from my son to help pay the bills. I hated to ask because he really can’t afford it, either.”
“I spend all of my time with doctor’s appointments, keeping track ot prescriptions, and paying the bills. I don’t have time for anything else, and it never ends. I’m barely coping with it all. I’m at my wit’s end!”
“My wife went for her annual checkup and they found a malignant tumor on her pancreas. She starts an aggressive chemo treatment tomorrow. It’s brutal and may be useless, but we have to try something. We cried all day when we got the news. I wish it happened to me instead.”
What? Why is no one laughing?