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Happy Birthday to Me

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEI gazed in horror at the birthday card on my breakfast tray.  As far as I knew, my wife wasn't dyslexic, and yet the card claimed I was 75. I bet they don't sell many of those.

I pulled the bedclothes back over my head and returned to my dream about 1946, the year Mensa and I were both born.  Coincidence, or what?  

Someone called Lancelot founded Mensa, but I like to think of myself as more of a Sir Galahad, although modesty prevents me from pointing out what a Prince Charming he was.  I think that's called a mixed metaphor.

The dawn broke again and I awoke again.  Judging by the small cake with one candle on it, I must have reached the age where the actual amount of candles would cost too much and their flames would melt the cake and be a health and safety issue.  Or was one candle a way of saying, "See if you can blow that out."

Old age tends to make you look back rather than forwards.  Childhood as opposed to second childhood.  For most of the time -- cliché alert! -- we were happy.  Or sometimes.  Or occasionally, when our shoeDavid Aitkens didn't leak.  Rose-tinted glasses cost nothing.  (There's probably a free app for them nowadays, in fact.)

Everyone makes jokes about getting old, no matter how young they are.  "At my age, flowers scare me," said George Burns.  But the laughter is perhaps a bit more shrill when you realise most of the jokes could now apply to yourself.  The joke is on me, ha ha, sob, whimper.  Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?

Seventy-five.  So far, this is the oldest I've ever been, rather than the oldest I've ever felt.  And it does have some dubious advantages.  You can afford everything on the menu, but have the appetite of a sparrow.  And the older you get, the earlier it gets late, so all-night clubbing is out.  I've lived long enough to be among the first to be vaccinated, but the last to be picked for pub-quiz teams, because of my failing memory.  My alleged failing whatever-it-was.

We oldies are notoriously inept when it comes to technology, even when that used to mean inserting a video cassette the right way up in a gramophone.  Once when I tried to photoshop an image of a holiday in Iceland, the result made it seem as if Earth was actually being heated by two suns.  I may have been responsible for global warming.

There is no doubt that at my age the best thing about being 75 is still being alive at 75, which has always been one of my favourite ages, although that might change next year.  My favourite song?  You've guessed it -- Staying Alive by the Bee Gees: "I'll live to see another day..."  And if not, then the jokes - and the drinks - are on me.


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