Growing older is scary.
At least, it looks like it.
I recently had a run in with a man so old he has that “permanently terrified” look on his face.
Its a horrible way to go, the walking dead. (With a walker)
But where does that look of horror come from?
Is he seeing something we can’t?
Or has he seen enough over the years that the cumulative effect is one of complete terror breakdown.
Either way, it doesn’t look pleasant.
And its hard on the ears, mine at least.
I was at a friend’s house for an hour and I counted a baker’s half dozen times someone came up, patted the old guy’s knee and practically yelled in his face.
“HOW ARE YOU, BABA? YOU LOOK GOOD.”
He never so much as flinched. No one home.
I finally realized that they weren’t talking to him.
It was a tradition of sorts, for the benefit of the gathering.
Kind of like when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team takes the field, all the players have to touch a particular sign.
Its for the good of the team.
Same thing here.
I sat for a moment, and tried to look at it from behind his eyes.
Sit a mile in his velcro closured shoes as it were.
But from a brutally honest, somewhat sarcastic point of view.
The family, his family, product of his loins, are surrounding him.
While that sounds nice, the image of Custer surrounded by indians puts a different spin on things.
Its not a good looking bunch.
Call me prejudiced, but I come from good looking people.
Not Euro pretty, I said good looking and I meant it.
Few people are as consistantly good looking as the Scots/Irish. This is common knowledge.
And these folks are not Scots/Irish, mores the pity. (I keep this sort of thing to myself, its more polite.)
The kids are the worst.
Fugly is an accurate compound of words that really fits this situation.
Add to that the fact that the general level of intelligence is low, Gump type low.
The old man’s sons and daughters married poorly, as a group.
The chatter among the family is furiously hushed, like weasels bickering over a stray egg.
The food shows a lack of imagination and skill. (I am not necessarily trying to crap on these people, even though they would never know, but I think of it as an experiment.)
The more I thought about this, the deeper I got into it, I suddenly realized something.
My mouth was hanging open. I could feel my face twisted up into a mask of horror.
I closed my mouth as realization washed over me.
I got it now.
I know why the old man looks terrified. And it chilled me to the bone.
It was a bit of insight that left my ass in full clench.
I got a few stares from the guests that had noticed my momentary lapse.
And as time wore on, I realized that I would soon forget about this.
Hopefully, right up until many years had passed.
And it was my ass sitting in that chair.
With a terrified look on my face.