One of the reasons the days seem to fly by as we get older is that we spend a lot of time unconscious. Like babies with their numerous nap times, we are mercifully ushered through some trying lifetime episodes.
Fewer things are new and interesting to us old fogies. So much “new stuff” is really old hat and boring as we move past middle age toward the Pearly Gates with convenient dozing stations along the way.
The television industry should realize the number of older, couchbound viewers is increasing and the time has come for major programming changes. No matter how loud, raucous, terrifying or even nauseating they make their final scenes, they’re losing a good portion of their audience by 10 p.m. as aging eyelids begin to quiver across the nation.
So far this year, I’ve seen only the first halves of eleven TV specials. Like most of my surviving senior friends, I can’t master the current difficult manipulations required to record a TV show. My grandchildrens’ explantions of the many “simple” necessary button clickings might as well have been recited in Swahili.
It’s not all that bad. After enduring decades of less than scintillating piano school recitals, political speeches, business meetings and other boring episodes, Mother Nature finally provided me with an escape hatch. I remember the very day, several years ago, when I realized I had a key to that hatch.
“Did you enjoy the slides of the McGlumphy’s Pocono vacation, Dear?” my wife asked as we drove home from a house party. “They were….uh….interesting,” I replied. “I tried to show polite interest and Paul was considerate enough to show only a few .”
“There were 180 slides, my Darling, and if snoring is showing polite interest then Amy Vanderbilt is a lady wrestler.”
That’s one of the disadvantages of benign narcolepsy. People take it personally. They don’t resent my weakenig eyesight or my stiffening joints. They’re actually sympathetic and helpful then, but if I slip off to dreamland while they’re droning on about their granddaughter’s finger painting progress, that’s different.
Still, we have to learn to live with each other, so I try not to hurt other people’s feelings. However, sometimes the results are absurd.
Once at a dinner party I was seated next to a podiatrist who regaled me through six courses with detailed accounts of his surgical prowess in dealing with multiple plantar verrucae (warts). I held out as long as I could, nodding and smiling with an occasional “Wow!” but finally Morpheus won out and I tipped over into my rhubarb cobbler.
Apparently the hostess was alarmed and dialed 911. The next thing I knew, an EMT was shaking my shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll be okay Sir,” he said. “I’ve made several calls like this with unconscious seniors. You should get a check up, but snoring and smiling are always good signs.”