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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

Birthday Blog (or an Ode to Aging Gracelessly)
1/18/2010 9:39:41 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Growing older, but wisdom eludes me...
With my 50th birthday fast approaching on January 20th, I was sure I’d be one of those who’d age gracefully and I’d be grateful that with age comes wisdom. It seems like a pretty good trade off until you realize that the wisdom will probably be fleeting as it will be harboured in an aging body and faltering mind.
Overall, I don’t feel old… Hell, I don’t think I even look that old! My mind is definitely not as sharp as it used to be, this much I’ll admit to. And the only reason I’ll admit to this is because when I’m reading one of my novels, there have been times when I’ll actually wonder who wrote certain passages because I certainly couldn’t remember committing these words to page. (And don’t bother asking what these passages were, because I don’t remember.)
This forgetfulness is not restricted to my writing. Oh, no! Forgetting what I write has been compounded by my inability to remember I’m not the person I was 25 years ago when I was at my physical peak. Back then, I was only a few years into my martial arts journey and was able to hold my own in a full-contact club where I was the only female member. But an old dog like me must sometimes learn these things the hard way, and I do quite literally mean ‘the hard way’ as you will find out as you read on.
So, in light of this, my old mind has come to this conclusion: People tend to do stupid things, and I am no exception. As you age and hope wisdom is part of the package and you’ll be blessed with an abundance of it the older you get, for some people, all trace of wisdom goes out the window. Yes, some tend to do things that others will deem as profoundly stupid.
Case in point, around Christmas time I received a bag of mixed nuts as a gift as well as a nifty, ergonomically designed nutcracker. Perhaps the sentiment for the gift-giver was to give something he felt would reflect my personality, but I’d hate to speculate. And now, I digress, as the feeble-minded often do…
Anyway, I proceeded to demonstrate to my daughter how I used to break open walnuts with my bare hands with a swift, sharp whack with my hand. (Wait, it gets better!)
Taking one of these walnuts, I did just that. On impact, as my fist smashed down to demolish the nut against the counter, the walnut became a deadly projectile my daughter was forced to evade as it flew like a missile launched in her direction.
She yelped: “What do you think you’re doing?”
As my 11-year-old daughter glared down at me (yes, she’s taller than I am) with her ‘are you crazy’ look of consternation, I could only manage a feeble: “I was just trying to show you how I used to do this.”
All the while, inside my mind alarms were sounding off: “OOWWEE! OOWWEE!” and I’m thinking ‘what the #.&^!?!? That bloody well hurt! What’s going on? It never hurt before…”
Well, needless to say, my demo didn’t go as planned. The object of this assault wasn’t even cracked, and this is the better part I had warned you about: I amassed a honking, big bruise where the walnut met the hand-of-a-nut.
A few weeks later, I’m poking the bone in my hand wondering why it hurt to put pressure on it. Lo and behold, instead of cracking the walnut, I had cracked the bone in my hand where the two nuts collided.
Yep, like I said: stupid people doing stupid things…
I learned the hard way that I’m not the person I once was and now, I take my doctor’s order seriously about taking those calcium supplements (when I remember) to strengthen my osteoporosis prone bones as menopause (or mental-pause, in my case) wreaks havoc on this aging body.
And speaking of aging bodies, I remember the days when I’d be insulted to be the recipient of any Oil of Olay anti-aging products as a birthday gift. Now, I’m hoping someone, anyone really, gifts this to me in industrial strength, bulk quantities that I can immerse myself in from head to toe!
I know I cannot turn back the hands of time, but if I can keep it at bay and have the ravages of time slow down, that’d be okay, but who am I kidding! I swear I’m shrinking and my doctor told me it starts with the joints.
This became painfully obvious after enduring the humiliation of going to the Motor Vehicle Branch to renew my driver’s license. The woman at the counter doubted my actual height was the same as on my old license. When she questioned this and I told her I wasn’t sure how tall (or in this case, how short) I am, she recommended that I stand by the marker at the entrance of this office. You know the one? They use it to guess the height of a fleeing robber. With all these people watching, I opted to have her knock off an inch or two than to have to stand by the doorway like a common criminal.
To add to the humiliation, I was also asked to do an eye exam to make sure I didn’t need glasses in order to drive. Don’t know what was worse: being asked to stand by the height measurement for robbers or having to stand on my toes to peer into the contraption that tests your eyesight!
The kicker is, I’ve always accepted the fact that I am short. There was even a point in my life when I decided everyone else was freakishly tall and I was of normal height. But now, when a vertically challenged person is told they are shrinking, it can be strangely unnerving. How can a short person like me get any shorter? Will there come a time I will be legally considered a little person?
I commented on this to my husband, stating that I’m almost as short as a Hobbit and he laughed saying: “That’s an insult to the Hobbits!”
It’s a crappy deal, this whole aging process. Any attempt to grow old gracefully will become a farcical demonstration of me acting the fool and no doubt doing other dumb-ass things (like breaking my teeth using it as a beer bottle opener or breaking my other hand cracking open another nut). But is it all that bad to endure the problems associated with aging? When you look at the big picture, the only way to realistically stop this natural process is to keel over dead. That’s right! Only the dead do not have to fret about aging, but for me, I’m not ready to do that just yet.
So, on the cusp of my big 5-0, I will look forward to another year and pray that my plans to spend my 50th in Hawaii will not be sidelined by my doctor this Friday. All I need is bad news from the cardiologist that my condition will prevent me from flying out to enjoy the sun and the sand. News like this will have me shaking an angry fist at the powers that be if I am made to ground my flight plans and forced to imagine being on a tropical beach far from the bleak, rainy westcoast.
Oh, to be young(er) again…
Hey, I just found some nuts! Did I ever tell you I used to break them open with my bare hands? Let me show you…


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Cipher by Regis Schilken

A Pittsburgh college student vows to uncover how a young female student plummeted to her death off an apartment roof deck...  
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