Cousin Dweezil remembers when we used to snicker at the sounds old people's bodies made. It's not so funny anymore.
"After all that weeding yesterday, when I move, it sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies after one pours the milk," Dweezil moaned the other day. "It doesn't hurt but it is a great way to warn others that you are on the move."
We and our like-aged ilk are beginning to sound a bit like built-in beepers on garbage trucks.
"My dog keeps looking at me and tilting her head, trying to figure out what I'm doing," Dweezil said. "It also makes her jump because she is afraid of plastic bags."
Myself, those first few tepid steps it takes to get moving sound like someone popping Bubble Wrap that's been nailed to the creaking door of a haunted house.
I feared growing old because I thought federal law forced old people to drink prune juice. With a taste so detestable, what other reason could there be?
Now that I'm there, I'm thinking it's not prune juice but WD-40 that I need.
I used to be able to leap out of bed, snatch up an armload of schoolbooks, dash down the stairs while simultaneously pulling on my jeans and fly into my seat on the school bus in 12.3 seconds.
These days, it takes 12.3 minutes merely to groan my way out of bed - ''Oooooaaaaahhhharghhhhhfffffff!''
I am not going to try to do anything while thunking down the stairs one bump at a time other than trying to remind my ankles, knees and back how to twist and bend - "Oof. Ugh. Ouch. Eek. Humphf. Urk!"
In no more than 30 or 40 minutes, I am scrunched up at the breakfast table, swallowing a fistful of pills stocked with vitamins, joint lubricants, fish oils and muscle soothers, all with a nice, warm mug of 3-in-One Oil.
"Perhaps," Dweezil suggested, "some yoga. There's nothing better than the flexibility of twisting yourself into a pretzel to get rid of the crackling noise.
"At least that's what I've been told. I'm too afraid to try it - afraid I'll twist into a knot and it will be too tight to undo."
I opted for another rumor. I'd heard that merely walking on a regular basis cures many woes. So once we were able to creak and crackle our way out of the house, my wife and I decided to take a walk through the nearby Nelson Ledges. Before we were old, we used to clamber all over those rocks and cliffs and trails and rises.
"Maybe ... blurrrch ... we should stick to this easy trail first," I suggested.
"We haven't hiked in far enough to get to a trail yet," she said over much huffing, puffing and groaning. I didn't mean to do so much huffing, puffing and groaning, but we had to step over at least two curbs getting through the parking lot.
Two minutes later, we started up one of the gentle ascents when Terry grabbed her side, turned and looked down at me: "Did you notice? There's no air outside today. We could do this on a day when there was air."
"I ... errmmffff ... call dibs on the Ben-Gay!" I gasped.
I thought I heard dogs whimpering in the distance as we snapped, crackled and popped our way home.
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