Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forever Young (or - on Becoming 60)

I recently heard Bob Dylan sing “Forever Young” again. “Forever Young” my toches, the guy looks really old. Joan Baez looks like, and probably is, a grandmother. And Paul Simon, if you take away his guitar, looks like a retired Jewish accountant who cuts in front of you at Kiddush to grab the last piece of herring. Those were my musical heroes in the 1960’s!! What happened? I Know-I Know. But I was in such lovely denial for so long. But it is so very difficult to continue in denial if you look at Dylan, Baez, or Simon. Worse, I was forced to look at Sasha’s Bar Mitzvah pictures and video. There I was looking and sounding like an old fashioned Jewish Catskill comic.
To tell the truth, there was other signs. I found that I was spending an inordinate amount of time discussing my prostate and how many times I

went to the bathroom during the night. Another big topic of mine is which fiber brand does the best job. But perhaps the cruelest moment was on a Shabbat morning when a guest looked at Sasha and then says to me “your grandson is so good looking”.

Even in my fifties I still could fool my self that I was not really getting old. But there is something about reaching 60 that is hard to deny. It is Medicare land. So I went to my friends for comfort. Bad move. One friend said that 60 is the new 50. Now how does that work? Logically that would mean that 10 is the new infancy. Another friend said that 60 is just a state of mind- it is how you feel that counts. I tried to feel younger but I got tired and needed to take a nap. In any case my gray hair and sagging body seemed more than a state of m
ind. But what is worse my doctor confirmed my worst fear- I am shrinking! And believe me I cannot afford to shrink (any wise guys out there - I am referring to my height).

So in desperation I went to one of my Israeli cousins for advice. She is a professional optimist and amateur therapist (or is it the other way around?). She advised me to “live my dreams- it is never to late”. Now this is a women who moved to California (where else?) to get into the movie business, left her family, and wears clothes that are for a 25 year old. (Did I mention she is older than I am?) My cousin must have taken to heart that Dennis Hopper commercial “Dreams Never Retire”. Dreams do not retire- they die a slow painful death. I just knew this was not going to work for me.

So as a last resort I visited a psychiatrist. He said that medication is not the ultimate solution for me since I am experiencing an existential crisis. He advised me to seek out a spiritual advisor (Rabbi Katz where are you?). Now I really knew I was i
n deep trouble. I have to admit that God and I have had a very conflictual relationship over the years. One can say the relationship is pretty dysfunctional. No comfort there.
So what to do? After deep soul searching I came to the conclusion that my denial did not go far enough. I need to take the bull by the horns. I am going to color my thick luxurious head of hair! But there are so many different products out there. Should I try Grecian 5, Clairol for Men, or Casting Color Spa for Men? I need advice. Please let me know which hair color is the best. Anonymity is guaranteed.

Harry Perkal