If you aren’t sure if you’re mature enough to be considered a geezer, check your mailbox. My mail usually consists of Modern Maturity and AARP magazines, investment opportunities, and coupons for denture adhesives, hearing aids, and cemetery plots.

One of the greatest geezer ironies is that while life experiences have made us wiser and more perceptive, young people (who would benefit the most from our experiences) usually are uninterested in our opinions and our advice.

In another geezer irony, now that the kids are grown and gone, you can finally afford a housekeeper, but the house no longer gets cluttered or dirty enough to need one.

You finally can afford to eat steak every night, but you can’t chew it with your ill-fitting teeth and you can’t digest it without a nighttime cocktail of powdered laxative mixed with seltzer water.

The two of you can afford an impulsive night out, but your poor night vision makes it too risky.

I read an article about an elderly couple who met and fell in love after the gentleman broke the ice with a lady by sidling up to her and opening with the pick-up line, “Do you take naps?”

Isn’t it ironic that young men spend decades trying to come up with a good pick-up line, and by the time they are 90 years old, all it takes is, “Do you take naps?” I guess it’s the geezer equivalent of the number one pick–up line of the 1960s, “Hey, Baby, what’s your sign?”

Yesterday while I was perusing the day’s geezer mail, I peered over the top of the current issue of the AARP magazine and said to my husband with a wink, “Do you take naps?”

“Is that a euphemism for an evening of passionate romance?” he asked hopefully.

“No,” I replied, “I just need a nap. Welcome to geezerhood.”

Another of the geezer ironies is the way we tend to handle anger and irritation with our long-term partners.

According to George Bernard Shaw, “The test of a man or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.”

Twenty years ago Ohio State University was awarded tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to research the relationship between mind and body, stress and disease. As part of the study, healthy couples who had been married for at least three years were paid $1800 for two 26-hour stays at OSU’s clinical research center.

Researchers used tiny suction cups to form eight small and painful blisters on the participants’ arms. The fluid then was removed from the blisters and the blister tops were removed with tiny scissors. Then the couples were encouraged to argue with each other, allowing researchers to test how stress hormones affect the healing of wounds.

Married subjects over the age of 75 were not allowed to participate. The article I read didn’t say why, but it’s been my observation that it’s hard to work up a good argument between people who’ve been married for 40 or 50 years.

By that time, we geezers know each other so well that we are able to conduct an entire argument, from the opening volley to the the final rejoinder, without either saying a single word.

The following is a description and an analysis of a typical argument between two long-wed senior citizens, i.e., geezers.

She stomps into the living room, pausing in front of his recliner, her arms folded across her chest, eyes fixed in an icy stare.

He cocks his eyebrow in puzzlement.

As she pulls on a sweater, her brow furrows ominously and her eyes narrow to angry slits.

He rolls his eyes.

She puts her hands on her hips.

He sighs deeply.

She thumps out of the room, slamming the door loudly behind her.

To the casual observer, it may appear that no communication has taken place. Au contraire. Allow me, as a geezer with decades of marital experience (and one semester of high school French, hence the phrase ‘au contraire’), to translate the preceding non-verbal exchange.

She: “You cheap bastard!”

He: “What did I do now?”

She: “Did you turn off the air conditioner again?”

He: “Do you know what our electric bill was last month?”

She: “If you do that one more time, I swear I will set the thermostat at 60 degrees and then prop open every damn door and window in the house!”

He: “All right, all right!”

She (to herself): “Nothing is going to change. He is going to do the same damn thing tomorrow!”

Although no verbal volley has taken place, the five stages of an argument (accusation, explanation, irritation, exasperation, resignation) have been successfully completed. It takes a couple of geezers at least 30 years to realize that body language can be just as effective and a lot less stressful than volume. It isn’t that they don’t get angry, it’s just that sometimes the whole darn thing seems like a colossal waste of time and energy.

We geezers have learned that any annoying habits that you have not been able to nag out of your spouse by the time he or she is 75 years old should be considered permanent flaws.

After decades of marriage, I have accepted that, but I’m still fascinated by the OSU researchers’ experiment. I’ve decided to try it at home.

I don’t have the tiny suction cups the researchers used to make pea-sized blisters, but I do have a relatively clean plunger in the bathroom which should work just as well.

I was able to raise only one huge blister on his belly before he woke up. Let the non-verbal argument begin!

Uh-oh. Apparently, this one is going to involve volume.


2 thoughts on “Geezer Ironies

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