I think I’m an upbeat person who thinks in the now. I try to remain youthful in appearance as much as I can.
Just like the young folk, I know how to use many social media platforms. However, I stick mostly to the mature-safe Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And unlike New England Patriot coach Bill Belichek, I know Snapchat is not called Snapface.
Still, a few incidents recently, but especially in the past week, drove home the glaring truth that I am not the dude that I once was. Yep, you notice everything when you’re at least three-score and change years old.
I went to a sporting goods place at lunch on Tuesday to purchase a backpack. I wanted one of those snazzy ones with all of the compartments for water bottles and places I could store my containers of meds and the other must-have stuff for older dietary tracts.
More importantly, it had to make a statement. Folks looking at me had to be impressed by my backpack.
As I was trying on a few of them, several teenagers and others in their mid-20s or early 30s appeared to be giving me that look. I know that look. It was that judgmental stare that says, “So are you getting this for someone else?”
Perhaps I was a little too self-conscious. Maybe they were amused that someone like me was still interested in hiking and strenuous stuff. Nope, I’m not. It’s not on my bucket list. But I think backpacks are cooler than the bland bags with the visible Metamucil some mature folk take on airplanes.
Despite their awful glares, I purchased the fancy backpack. Now I am concerned this may have been a bad idea because I fear I will be walking through a gauntlet of snickering people at airport terminals. Security agents may think I stole it.
Next up this week on the age game was a conversation about office decoration with a co-worker. She noticed that I had cleaned up two nice book cases and had placed a couple of award plaques on the shelves.
She and other staffers have diplomas and lots of awards that announce they received them in the early to mid-2000s. You know, this century.
I told her I had a lot of plaques and awards that I keep at home. “Why don’t you bring them here and put them on your bookshelf?,” she inquired.
I told her I was hesitant because of the response I might get when people see that most of them will see I got them in the 1980s and 1990s. She burst into laughter, recognizing what I was getting at — age. I think she laughed a little longer than she should have.
This was surely laughter harassment of some sort, and I should have reported it.
After the frivolity finally died down, she started laughing again, placing her hand over her mouth to keep from projectile-hurling her coffee.
I was forced to join in the laughter. But I have no intention of bringing those awards to the office.
There was also something good for me this week on the age front.
I was looking on my smartphone when I saw this an ad for some kind of health study that the Pennington Biomedical Research Center is doing on dementia in older African-Americans. I had been part of a study there several years ago and enjoyed the experience.
I studied the ad and thought, hey, what the heck. I work nearby, and it would be a great thing. Maybe I could encourage some of my friends to participate.
I read the information a little closer. Wow. What I saw was amazing. I laughed. I wanted to shout. This was unbelievable. I wanted to run down the hall and scream because it said that eligible participants should be African-American adults who are not engaged in regular physical activity (all of that is me) who are not experiencing signs of dementia (me, too) and are 65 to 85 years old.
I was not old enough for the study. It made my day. This was proof that I was not too old for the backpack. I’m still not bringing the plaques to work.
Nevertheless, this was the cherry on top of my week. Thank you, Pennington scientists, whoever you are. You know what time it is.
(If you want to join the Pennington study, call 225-763-3000 or apply online at www.pbrc.edu/PAACE. Participants will be selected by Pennington recruiters to come for their evaluation.)
Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at firstname.lastname@example.org.