Withering Glance: Growing old quickly, ungracefully

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK
  • Updated: April 24, 2010 - 12:52 PM

Venturing into the 50s. How does a person know when they're officially old?

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

RN: April is the last full month of my 40s. You hit that mark -- what? -- in the late '80s? Is this the beginning of decrepitude? How does a person know when they're officially old?

CP: Sounds like your memory is fading fast. You know you are ancient when your Social Security statement arrives in the mail and you realize that you can retire, oh, later this afternoon.

RN: Ugh. It hit me when my oldest nephew announced his engagement. I can recall changing his diapers with a clarity that suggests last week, not 1984 -- when I was younger than he is now.

CP: You fill out a charge form online and have to scroll down for 15 seconds before getting to your birth year.

RN: When "Glee" pulls an all- Madonna episode, and you overhear a teenager saying they had no idea that Madge recorded anything prior to "Ray of Light."

CP: You are talking to a co-worker and you suddenly realize, "I was 23 when you were exiting the birth canal!"

RN: You start to think, "Maybe Botox isn't so evil."

CP: Right, and you figure StriVectin isn't really all that expensive. Or you go to "Hair" on Broadway and recall that you saw it in Chicago about 20 years before the birth of 90 percent of those in the audience or the cast.

RN: Try being bald for more years than when you actually possessed hair. Hello, Geezer Town.

CP: You note the glazing-over of friends' eyes when you regale them, once again, with your dramatic firsthand accounts of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

RN: Yes, Mr. Teenaged Tear Gas. Or how about when you note said glazing of friends' baby blues after quoting "What's Up, Doc?" verbatim -- you know, "I am not a Eunice Burns, I am the Eunice Burns" -- and realize you first saw it at the Terrace Theater -- gulp -- 38 years ago?

CP: You can't help but notice that those running the country are younger than you. Like the president.

RN: Who is roughly 18 months my junior. Now I'm really depressed. How did I ever become a member of the demographic that watches "The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric"?

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com.

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