I wanted to see the doctor about this pneumonia thing, but first the nice young lady wanted to see how tall I was.
"That's not necessary," I said. "I'm 6 feet 1 inch," and offered my driver's license as proof.
She insisted, so I took off my shoes, stood back to the wall, sucked it in and stretched.
"Five feet and just a little over 11 inches," she chirped and pointed at a number. I adjusted the trifocals, squinted and, sure as heck, it was pointing just above 11.
"I've shrunk?" I said.
"That happens with older people," she said.
The doctor prodded and poked and listened and said it sure did seem there was more pneumonia in there. Why didn't the antibiotics get it all the first time?
"Well, with older people, sometimes once isn't enough," he said.
There it was again: "Older people." Are they referring to me?
I'm older than I was yesterday, for sure, but everyone is that. I'm older than President Barack Obama. Older than almost everyone I work with.
I'm way older than the first car I ever owned. That '68 VW would be 45 now, and the heater still wouldn't work.
How old am I? The Beatles -- Paul McCartney's band before "Wings," but "Wings" broke up in 1981, so I suppose nobody's heard of that one either -- produced a song especially for me, to be played on the event of this year's birthday.
They released it in 1966 so others could enjoy it. But, really, "When I'm 64" is all about me.
The song is about a young kid pondering the future with his girl. I have no clue why McCartney and co-author John Lennon picked 64 as an age that sounded "really old."
Sure, I qualify for Social Security, and people mumble more, but there's still a spring in my step, especially after bunion surgery last year.
I see one report that McCartney wrote a version of the song when he was 16. That figures. Sixty-four seems impossibly ancient to anyone at the ripe old age of 16. When I was a teen, 64 was when everyone would have wrist radios like Dick Tracy, and personal flying cars.
We do have wrist radios, but I'm still waiting for that car.
I love the lyrics. The phrase "Yours sincerely, wasting away" says much, and the rest of the song paints such a gentle picture:
"I could be handy, mending a fuse,
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside,
Sunday mornings go for a ride.
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?"
Those last two lines are both wistful and hopeful, with good reason.
The sixth decade is when many people notice their bodies falling apart. Little bumps and spots show up (cancer!). They get tired more often. The obituaries fill with folks their age.
Finding someone who'll appreciate you through all that is a gift, which is why I'm happy to say Dr. Carla shows no sign of failing to need me or feed me.
She's a lot nicer than some of my co-workers, who have a tendency not to show the proper perspective. Consider the one who spent the weekend mountain biking on snow-covered trails. He came to my desk on Monday, put a foot up on the edge, stretched and complained about back pain.
"I'm getting old, Charlie," he said.
He is 33. He will now shut up.
Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can contact him at 801-625-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at www.standard.net.