Never ask an old man how he feels

“How are you?” is a fucked-up greeting to anyone with gray hair. Sometimes those old farts actually try to answer it.

“Let me start with my feet and work my way up…” and you have just lost at least 22 minutes of your life.

There’s some instinct in my age group to “regale” our socially trapped audience with tales of plantar fasciitis, sore backs, and root canals gone bad.

Random injured old man (Geno)

Random Injured Man (AKA – Goat-fucking Geno).

Note the knee and wrist braces

and the forlorn look of athletic days gone by.

I usually try to fight the instinct for honesty with a few grunts.

Occasionally I do the fake happy voice and say:”I’m good.” But too often that is unconsciously followed with “How are you?”


I don’t give a fuck how they are — unless it’s something potentially interesting and possibly contagious like rabies or leprosy — keep the little shit to yourself.

But there are some 50-somethings who relish listing their aches and seem interested in yours. There’s one guy at tennis who shall remain nameless (Jon) who not only insists on listing his broken body parts, but keeps a list of mine.

He’s got a bad ear from some fucked-up event in his life — or it could have been sitting too close to the speaker at too many rock shows.

I’ve never asked him… because I don’t want to know.

So he’s shouting over the crowd: “How’s your knee? It looks like you are moving really slowly.”

Everybody looks up expecting to see Methusla with a cane.

Sometimes I think Jon’s making shit up, because I don’t even remember having pain in half the places he asks about. But that’s the other half of aches and pains — once they go away, you can hardly remember them.

The memory loss is Darwinism at it’s best (no this shitty memory is not alcoholism, no matter what your wife says about your drinking habits). It’s Darwinism — forgetting about small pains in random places retains the will to live. If you remembered them all like kids remember paper cuts, you would give up on life by Tuesday.

I have lunch with my 80-something father most Sundays, and he can’t wait to get out of “the home” and have a conversation that is not about aching body parts and crappy food. So this problem is not going to go away for me. If I’m lucky, I might get 30-40 more years of this bullshit.

Maybe we should replace “How are you”, with something like: “Good to see you are still alive.”

What the hell can you say in response to that question? That ought to shut the old fuckers up.

One thought on “Never ask an old man how he feels

Comments are closed.