Age

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Age: (n) 1. the length of time that a person has lived 2. a period of history 3. (v) to grow older, especially visibly

When I was twelve, I really wanted to be thirteen. God, I ached all over! It was probably just the onset of puberty, but I didn’t know.

I really looked forward to eighteen, too. Twenty-one was cool, but since eighteen was the new voting age and I wasn’t that interested in drinking–not a big deal.

I felt a little giddy when I was twenty-five because I got to be in that group of “over twenty-five.”

Thirty put a chill down my spine, but then I realized I had nine more years for the decade. By forty I had so many kids that I barely remember the birthday.

Fifty was spooky. It’s when I really began to notice that age IS an issue. I don’t know–maybe my skin turned grayer, or I limped more, or wrinkles formed in my forehead? I’m not sure. But suddenly, everybody under the age of thirty started to treat me like a senior citizen.

It was quite frightening when the envelope arrived from AARP, inviting me to be a member. I recall how horrified I was the first time some teenage girl at Applebee’s asked me if I wanted to apply my senior citizen’s discount. A little piece of my soul wanted to roll over, crumple and die.

But I have especially noticed it this year, as I travel around the country. Younger folks think it’s powerful to treat me like I’m over the hill and couldn’t possibly have anything to share with anyone who isn’t eating their meals through a straw.

Actually, I think we have four different “ages:”

  1. An emotional age, which should be more mature, but most folks freeze at about thirteen.
  2. A spiritual age–a delicate blending of a child’s heart and the wisdom of Solomon.
  3. A mental age, only determined by how willing we are to continue to learn instead of pouring cement into our cranial cavity.
  4. And a physical age, which is strongly determined by genetics, lifestyle and willingness to exercise and consume fruits and vegetables.

If you average all four of those ages, you arrive at your actual number. You should try it.

By the way, I tallied mine. I came up with 43 years, 8 months.

That’s about right.

AARP, AAU, AAUP, AAVE

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

1. AARP: (abbr.) American Association of Retired Persons

2. AAU: (abbr.) Amateur Athletic Union

3. AAUP: (abbr) 1. American Association of University Presses 2. American Association of University Professors

4. AAVE (abbr.) African-American Vernacular English

If you don’t mind, I will take this series of initials to “initialize” my article for the day.

Seeing these four organizations lined up in the dictionary together really tickled my funny bone, because other than the dictionary throwing them together in alphabetical order, these four groups would not only be unaware of each other, but might be tempted to avoid contact.

It got me laughing. Wouldn’t you love to attend a party where a bunch of old people, aspiring athletes, college professors, reporters and hip-hop African-American rap stars got together to share the same pot of dip?

What a hoot!

I don’t think anybody would venture into that possibility, even for a mad-cap comedy. Too far out. But it IS the reason why fear and prejudice survive.

For instance, I was deathly afraid of a roller coaster until I sat in one. The theory and definition of a roller coaster bleached me white in apprehension. Likewise, being raised in a small town but far from rural America, I was absolutely petrified at the notion of being around barnyard animals. Pigs, cows, goats and sheep seemed like alien creatures out to suck my soul. And then, one day a friend of mine invited me out to the stables. Once I got used to the odor and learned how to carefully walk, I found the creatures to be quite domesticated, as long as you followed a few simple rules and honored their territory.

Bigotry is not the by-product of experience but rather, the lack of it.

Just think if the AARP, AAU, AAUP and AAVE got together somewhere OTHER than the dictionary. After the awkwardness wore off and the menu was reviewed for acceptability, conversation would naturally lend itself towards common goals and similar journey jaunts. It would end up being inspiring.

Segregation is not natural. Birds of a feather don’t really flock together, but actually tend to gather in promising trees near meadows filled with food sources.

It would just be so neat to see Grandma talking to some urban black man about her experience with blues music. Both of them would have to explore their resources and expand their boundaries. Meanwhile, the professor could amble up and explain the origins of both getting old AND the American ghetto. One of the athletes could be an anomaly … by being white.

Such a palette for colorful discourse.

So even though they only appear together in the dictionary, you would have to agree, our world would be better if these four actually did plan a meet, eat and eat. Yes, the world needs MEG’s–Meet, Eat and Greet.

It is only then that we will begin to birth a nation that has old, amateur athletes who are former professors that are completely well-acquainted with African-American vernacular.