Notes From The Old Guy
by Jake Block
As we get older and “longer in tooth,” we find that our world, at one time expanded by the exuberance of youth, begins to contract around us. We travel less to interesting places, and we spend more and more time in the homes we’ve made comfortable around us, with mementos and souvenirs to remind us of a time increasingly in the past. Reminders of a time before arthritis, and family commitments and an increasingly diminished “alive and well list” of lifelong friends.
Lon Milo Duquette’s song, “Don’t Write Me Off.” contains the lyrics:
“Don’t write me off
Like some old pathetic has been;
I’m still pickin’
I’m still kickin’,
Doing shit you can’t imagine.”
It reminded me of something that Anton LaVey said to me, when I asked if he performed rituals in a residence I met him in, early in our association. He told me, “Yes, but you wouldn’t recognize the words.” Quizzical to me then, but now I completely understand.
While I enjoy the sight of a beautiful woman in her 20s or early 30s, I really can’t imagine spending time with one in the way I would have when I was of equal or slightly older age. Now, the man in me might hallucinate that if I did, it would be like some sexual oberammergau, with myself being the infinitely potent potentate of sexual potential… brilliantly framed alliteration aside… the realist in me understands and accepts that I’m not the same man I was in my 20s and 30s physically, and people of that age would have very little in common with me intellectually or culturally. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy interacting with them and exchanging ideas, it’s simply the fact that we live in separate realities that aren’t fully compatible, and our life needs are divergent, due to the significant gap in age.
It’s sometimes humorous to see the look on the faces of “younger” people when they see people in their late 60s and 70s getting up from a chair and sounding like their body is making popcorn, or seeing us creak along until our knee and hip joints “warm up,” so that we can navigate more easily. You don’t need or want their help in getting up, but you learn to accept the arm offered to steady yourself simply because it’s easier to deal with than explaining that your unsteadiness isn’t a handicap, but just stiff joints, and that one day, they’ll understand.
Your mind might be going strong… stronger, certainly than some of those in their 30s who are marginally literate, despite their educations, that can’t seem to manage stringing words together to express a cogent thought. But I find it’s very much like when I was a kid in the 1950s, and I was unable to grasp the complexities of fractions and then algebra. I was reading and writing at a college level in the 6th grade, but since I couldn’t understand math, surely I must be deficient. Today, needing a cane to get around, or grunting with pain as an arthritic knee snaps loudly, the concerned looks seem to say the same thing; “How can your mind be sharp if your body isn’t?” All the while, the mind they think is limited is “thinking shit they can’t imagine.”
So, these days, I tend to appreciate the company of men and women more closely aligned in age. As for their sexuality and sensuality, it’s a book one shouldn’t judge by its cover. “We might not be as good as we once was, but we’re as good ONCE as we ever was!” We can appreciate the worth of a long life well lived and a shared life experience in a way that those much younger than ourselves can’t yet comprehend. And I’m not too much concerned with how they mix and meld… not my business, and as far as I am concerned, like the old BTO song said, “Any love is good love.” It makes no real difference to me if a person is gay or straight or bisexual or totally abstinent, sexually. I’m more interested in the stimulation between their ears.
But I also appreciate infusions of youth from those whose minds aren’t hobbled by myopic thinking or the lack of moderation in drugs of choice; minds that can see into the future with wonder and with the wisdom to know that theirs is just one vision of many, and each has validity to the one who casts the vision. Conversations that go beyond the virtues cannabis over alcohol and which will get you “fucked up” faster, the game du jour on X Box, how Satanists are going to lead a world wide revolution against X, Y, or Z and wipe them out, “Wow, man, do you think the Necronomicon or Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a better book on Qlippothic magic,” or when Cthulhu comes, will he eat us all first or last probably won’t get much play at our tables of conversation.
The details of your latest financial, technical or artistic success, current trends in computerization, methods of coping in a bullish or bearish economy (and knowing the difference,) films, reminiscences of travels to far off lands and what you learned there, sharing musical talents, sexual magic in its various forms, investments, travel… vital existence, rather than the banal trivialities than most people take for “life” spur conversations that last deep into the night. Sharing a meal from a culture other than our own, and explaining the differences between the Greek and Turkish versions of the same dish, topped off with a glass of wine that pairs well from vineyards from California to Germany to France to Italy enhance the meal, rather than being overly potent and intoxicating lead to further reminiscences over fruit and savory cheeses. Learning and sharing and finding commonalities that bind, and differences that make us think lead to interesting evenings we’ll remember.
Seems to me that if we seek wisdom and enlightenment through knowledge in our youth, it seems only logical to me that we keep that sense of wonder and inquisitive nature well into our “golden years,”so that we don’t allow our minds to atrophy and fall prey to Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia inducing deterioration. I am certain that If I were to allow my mind and body to succumb to the comforts of old age, my sharpness of mind would be affected, as would my ability to communicate through my writing or my photography, so I’ll “keep on truckin’” until that eventual moment when I can’t rise from my bed, and I realize that I’m dead.
Until then, I’ll just hum along wit Lon Duquette while he sings…
“Don’t write me off,
I’m cool and quaint and handsome.
Don’t write me off,
I’m a pooooool of ancient wisdom.”
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God