By Joe Darby
I’ve noticed certain things about the world that seem to be changing. It’s as if the laws of physics were being altered in front of my very eyes.
For one thing, gravity has become a lot stronger than it used to be. Everything seems to be heavier, though in appearance they seem to be just as they always were. For example, last night I had the need to temporarily move a metal dining room chair to a place a couple of rooms away. I don’t know how a chair could gain weight, but I assure you, it was more difficult to lift that thing than it was a few years ago.
And for some reason, publishers seem to be making their books heavier these days. I am a voracious reader and I have books all over the house. So it’s not unusual for me to move a stack of, say, four or five volumes from one place to another. Again, the books look just like the books I have always had, but either it’s this gravity thing or the publishers are using really heavy paper, because it’s not as easy to tote those things as it once was. And, boy, groceries are much heavier than they used to be. Maybe that explains why they are so much more expensive. Are the grocers making us pay by the pound? Surely the problem couldn’t be me. I’m just as fit as I ever was. Right?
And this stronger gravity is affecting me personally, too. I will admit I have put on a couple of pounds, because, by gosh, I do love my sweets. But that can’t explain what I’m about to relate to you. When I go to rise up from my somewhat low sofa, I don’t always succeed on the first try. Sometimes I get halfway up and gravity just reaches up and pulls me back down again. If I didn’t use my arms to help boost me up, I’d probably spend the rest of my life on the couch. Which doesn’t sound like such a terrible proposition at this stage.
Another thing. Why is everyone walking so much faster these days? Everybody is passing me up. Where are they going in such a hurry? If I’m walking along Front Street, for example, I have learned to keep to the right as much as I can, because all the other pedestrians are bent on passing me up as quickly as they can. Even the nurses who proceed me to an examining room in a doctor’s office are practically running these days. Sometimes they even get so far ahead they turn a corner and I lose sight of them for a moment. This couldn’t be because I will be 81 in a couple of months and am actually slowing down, could it? Nah.
And another crazy thing seems to be happening with physical measurements. I have noticed that distances that appear to be unchanged are actually longer than they ever were in the past. For example, supermarket aisles, to the eye, are unchanged in appearance. But after I have traversed all of them, carefully perusing their wares for edibles that I need as well as goodies that I simply just want, I can guarantee you that it feels like I have walked a much longer distance than would appear to be the case. I don’t know how the stores achieve this phenomenon, of secretly stretching the lengths of their aisles, or what purpose it serves. All I know is that when my grocery making is done, I feel like I have walked a long way to keep myself in sustenance for another week.
It doesn’t seem that many years ago that I would walk more than a mile several days a week in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t dream of tackling such a feat today. The way things have changed I would probably end up walking about 10 miles. Or at least it would seem like it. Again, this can’t be because I’m getting pretty old, could it?
And who are the gremllins who have come in the night and made the slight rise on which my house sits more steep? Have they raised the house or have they lowered the street? My point here is that when I am returning from the mail box to the house, it seems the slight rise has changed into a moderate sized hill, which I must climb before I can get back inside and begin throwing away my junk mail, unopened, and then reluctantly sorting my new bills.
I guess it’s these same gremlins who are constantly hiding my glasses, my phone and the TV remote. They’re just doing this out of downright meanness. I am sure it’s not because I am starting to forget where I put things. No way.
Because I am still mentally sharp. I can breeze through crosswords and other puzzles, read and enjoy a detailed book on the history of the Middle Ages and can, while watching a baseball game, recall, for instance, that the last time the Yankees won the World Series was 2009. Darn, that’s a long time for the Yanks. That year, the Yanks beat the Phillies, who the year before had won the series over the Tampa Bay Rays…
But, heck, never mind all that. I won’t allow myself to get distracted and go off on a tangent like some old folks do. In fact, I take pride that I’m not much like other old folks at all. Now, if I could just rise up out of this chair and go find the TV remote, I could watch today’s game.