HARMON: Checking the lights on the other side of 67

July 9, 2014 

Each time I read the obituary announcements in the paper I wonder how long it will be until, sitting somewhere on a cloud, harp in hand, trying to keep tempo with those old hymns written long ago, I see my name in print.

It used to be, when I was in my 50s, that I felt comfortable seeing the ages under the pictures that read, “So and so went to his/her heavenly reward on such and such date and he/she was only 67.” No problem, I’d think, that’s years away from 55.

Well, something happened the other day that let me know I am now eligible for a column in the obits. It appears I have the beginnings of cataracts at the extremely young age of ... 67. My elderly Toyota has them too, but is probably not concerned about death or poor vision. She’s about eight years old. I have no idea how old that is in “people years,” but her lenses, like mine, are definitely clouding up.

So when we are riding together, as we were last weekend, it makes for an interesting trip. I’m seeing lights through wax paper and she’s emitting light through wax paper. Glares are everywhere and approaching headlights look like those sparklers from a fireworks show.

Now before you get all, “why is this idiot driving” on me, let me say I’m having her fixed as soon as I can get to Wal-Mart and pick up something that will clear her lenses. As far as my cataracts go, they have their advantages once you let folks know you have them.

It has to do with memory. Think about it. You meet someone you’re supposed to know but just can’t quite get that name out. Having the cataract gives you that little extra moment in time to say, “Whoa, it is you, I just couldn’t quite see because of these darned old cataracts,” but now I do and well, hello, how are you?”

I suppose, when it comes to my health and aging, the eyes don’t have it. We’re like cars in a lot of ways. We need to keep our batteries charged, gas in the tank and the windows washed if we expect a pleasant driving experience. The windows are where I’m falling short. But I digress.

I really do want to live a long time and unlike a lot of folks, I don’t care in what condition I find myself as long as I’m pain free and look like Sean Connery. How long would long enough be? Well, I’d like to live long enough to see peace in the Middle East and a secure border with Mexico, if that’s not asking too much. I’d like to see that pipeline from Canada built and hear Al Sharpton say something intelligent. I’d like to live long enough where I didn’t hear the words, “The first this or the first that,” from my television and actually hear Bob Costas announce a game without telling me how to live.

The thought of living long enough to drive an electric car I could afford is exciting. I wonder how long I would have to live to see Marie Osmond gain back those 50 pounds or see an obese news girl on Fox News. I wonder if I could make it until we have term limits for politicians or someone invents a product that would actually grow hair on a billiard ball.

It would be nice to outlive the life insurance offers we get in the mail. Mom is 93, but they still keep coming. They’re supposed to stop at 85. I guess you can see that even a visually challenged individual such as I can see we are talking about quite a length of time. Guess I’d better get these eyes fixed.

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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