Decrepit: (adj) weakened by old age; feeble; infirm

Turns out my grandpa was not decrepit.

I was wrong in my twenty-two-year-old assessment.

Just last week, I discovered that he had just chosen to slow down, and instead of being rushed and hurried, paced himself in such a way that he would not have to arrive at his destination out of breath.

It was actually rather intelligent.

So my criticism of his turtle speed and caution when reaching for a handrail at a flight of stairs was ill-founded, reeking of prejudice.

He had just grown old enough to discover that the tortoise does win the race over the hare and that handrails on stairs are quite attractive and reassuring.

For all those years, I thought my grandpa was decrepit, when really, he was just exercising his wisdom more than his legs.

I learned this through reaching the same age he was when I criticized him.

Oh, that the young could temporarily feel the creak in a joint when it is asked to move too quickly. There would never be another harsh word coming from their lips.

No one is decrepit if they can fulfill the mission they’ve set out to do.

No one is decrepit simply because they choose not to be speedy.

And no one is decrepit merely by accumulating memories of birthday parties—or becoming an active member of the AARP.


Crotchety: (adj) given to odd notions, whims, grouchiness, etc.

There are three words that seem to travel together. Buddies, if you will.

I don’t think you can see “crochety” without the word “old” hanging around, accompanied in the back seat by the word “man.”

Crochety old man.

Women aren’t crochety—women are bitchy.

Men, on the other hand, get a “cushioney” word, perhaps pulled out of a hat owned by Charles Dickens: “’Tis crochety, old boy.”

Also, men are old. Women, on the other hand, are decrepit.

At least with the word “old” you have the possibility of “wisdom” traveling alongside. But decrepit immediately conjures a vision of an old witch with a fondness for dining on the carcasses of little children.

The gentleman in the story gets the advantage of maintaining the word “man” to describe him, while the woman would be a hag.

So if you have a penis, you get to be a “crochety old man.”

Absent that appendage, you are a “bitchy, decrepit hag.”

After all, what does it mean to be crochety? It means that nothing is going your way anymore because your way is so old it’s covered with dust.

What can one do to age and still be a person who isn’t crochety?

I think there is a three-step process, whether you’re male or female:

  1. Shut up.

No one wants to hear all your stories.

  1. Listen.

And as you do, learn some of the lingo so you don’t talk like you came out of a 1970’s movie.

  1. Think funny things, think serious things—share the funny ones.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afresh: (adv.) in a new or different way: e.g. she left her job to start afresh.

Nobody walks out of the shower and says, “That should take care of that once and for all.”

Much as we are relieved to have our armpits “afresh” and all our other crevices carefully cleaned, we are fully cognizant that the same fastidious care needs to be done again very soon.

Why? Because we get dirty.

Why is it that we understand this when it comes to bodily hygiene, but we don’t recognize the same truth in regard to the other portions of our lives?

Why do we think that politics, relationships, sexuality, intelligence, religion, talent and manners don’t require the same “showering” and “afreshing?”

Why are some things viewed as traditional and therefore etched in stone, and our bathroom time is seen as a temporary solution to a permanent problem?

There is nothing in my life that I am not constantly trying to start afresh.

  • If I were involved in politics, I would leave for Congress a half hour early, and walk through the Lincoln Memorial every day, to remind myself why in the hell I ran for office in the first place.
  • It doesn’t hurt me at all to pull out wedding pictures and memorabilia of when I was younger, a little crazier, but maybe much more intent on romantic interest with my partner.
  • In the church, if we did more field trips out into the world to help people instead of chewing the fat about our opinions concerning the Bible, might we discover that our faith would be afreshed?

Over and over again, in each situation, coming back to the excitement we experienced in the first place is necessary in order to shower us with the blessings instead of having to complain about the rain.

If we don’t become afresh with newness, we will “age out” everything in our lives, leaving our emotions decrepit instead of well-expressed.

I don’t plan on giving up washing myself.

I also have no intention of ceasing to question my beliefs and actions … to find new and better reasons for pushing forward.


Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acuity: (n) sharpness or keenness of thought, vision or hearing. e.g.: intellectual acuity, visual acuity.

This was interesting to me.

I have always associated the word “acuity” with some sort of sight. As I’ve gotten older, my eyes still function quite well except for a little dimness. Perhaps it’s the punishment for longevity–a general darkening of the corners of eyesight, earshot–and dare I say, flexibility of thinking.

I would suggest a much better way to ward off the woes and worries of aging, rather than tummy tucks, wrinkle creams, Botox and face lifts.

Just stay sharp. Exercise the brain.

Find the kind of glasses, magnifiers and various tools available to make sure you see the best you possibly can.

Sit closer to people so you can hear better. Rather than distancing yourself and secluding from the world around you, close the gap between the generations and remain current to the affairs.

Acuity is something that we can FAKE. Isn’t that GREAT? I know that sometimes faking is viewed as a vice, perhaps coming across as phony. But acuity merely requests that we take in what’s available instead of pretending that we didn’t notice or aren’t interested.

Start with your eyes. Yes–the light of the body is the eye. I can always tell by looking in someone’s peepers whether he or she is still with us, or if behind that glazed expression is the whimsy of reminiscence instead of hope for the present.

I love my children and grandchildren but they are not my life. I have a life, I include them in that life and they’re welcome to keep up with me if they can. None of them would ever call me “old Grandpa.”

Even as my body starts to betray me, insisting on some token measure of “decrepit” in order to fulfill my years, my mind, spirit and emotions remain youthful and alive.

There’s not much we can give to one another which will be universally accepted as generous. Staying alert and using our acuity, free of judgment, is the best way to give the whole world a hug.