“Later Life”                                                                                 August 22, 2021


By Richard Leppig


Truth be told, since entering “Later Life”, I have become something of a constant, if not frequent, disaster.  This is not intentional although it does conform to the experience of many of my other ‘frequent flyers’ and their devoted spouses.  I am plagued with small objects dancing off my fingertips; things like pills, eating utensils, delicate fixing tools, emergency flashlights, all vitally needed at some critical time when only an idiot would fumble the remedy just when you thought control was about to be restored.  But No.  You or Eunice or whoever, are in my hands, surely a misguided attempt to undo what karma has reeked upon whatever simple and innocuous scene had previously begun.  First, let me stress my innocence.  After each such disaster, the blame always washes over me but as whatever deed begins to unfold, I am as surprised as anyone.  So accustomed have I become to the mere possibility of a calamity occurring that I have developed involuntary pseudo-defense mechanisms when they happen or even ‘almost happen.’  When you think of it, how many times have you bobbled a delicate crystal glass and almost lost a grip on it only to suddenly get a palm to it and come out of the situation with the hostess glaring at you semi-warmly.  To me, that’s a golden moment to cherish.  Now, what you would have missed in this moment, that I withheld is that while I was bobbling the glass, a loud guttural screaming noise was escaping from my lips which inadvertently, drew the attention of everyone in the room to my performance so that no one missed it.  Sadly, I cannot shut myself up when these debacles are occurring or about to occur.  Another reason why I shelter myself in pandemic relief.  But Eunice, bless her, knows my secrets.  She may be reading in another room while I’m rattling around in the kitchen and all she needs to hear (and she is hard of hearing) is a muffled clatter to call, “Is everything all right?” or “Do you need my help?”  Further chaos or worse,  deathly silence, are enough to bring her sprinting, certainly the most ill-advised action for a later-life lady.  Also, there’s the ‘manly’ issue of a guy needing to depend on the frail lady to save his butt from whatever calamity he’s into.  When I was a kid, that was Dagwood.  Today, I’ve become the elderly ‘Lucy.’

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