Berger’s Burg

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Do you have talcum powder?" asked the elderly gentleman. "Yes, sir. Please walk this way." "If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder."

That famous quote, "Old age ain't for sissies," a quip by octogenarian film actress Bette Davis during her advancing years, reminds me that I am also fast approaching the geezer stage. To avoid becoming a sissy, I took up boxing and mastered the John Wayne cowboy walk. Step aside when you see me coming, Father Time.

Alas, I feel I am alone in accumulating years in my household. Do you know Gloria has not had one birthday since we were married? To her credit, she never lies about her age. She just tells people she is as old as I am: 39. Despite the fact that Gloria may have a few decades of life on her chassis, I would never trade her in for a newer model with less mileage on her odometer. And she would not throw me under the bus either, even though my dashboard is not as pristine as it was when we first married.

But I still feel young and vibrant. My neighbors who knew me 30 years ago say I still look like I looked then: old. So do my aging neighbors.

Shlomo is going through a second childhood. He went to a dentist and had braces put on his dentures.

Diego tells me that at his age, there are four women for every man. "What a time to get odds like that," he groans. "But, actually," I explain, "a scientific study recently discovered that the best time for men to have babies is when they reach 80. That is when they have to get up 10 times a night, anyway."

And a certain sign of creeping antique-ness was apparent when I heard 90-year-old Fritz yell from his window, "Woman, what are you doing in my bed?" She answered, "Shaddup! I am your wife."

My prescription for staying young forever is getting lots of sleep, working hard, praying daily and lying about your age.

Old age is when a man goes from passion to pension and all women look alike to him.

On the other hand, Britney, my 70-ish neighbor, stopped buying sheer nighties. She does not know anyone who can see through them.

Kwon and Anoushka have been pressing 60 so long, they have become pleated.

And Amani, the oldest of them all, just found out they discontinued his blood type.

A senior was moaning the death of her aged husband. "He was the greatest lover," she sobbed. We lived next door to a church and he made love to me by the sound of the church bells. And, if it was not for that damn fire truck, he would be alive today."

It is a given that both sexes, in time, go from "Why not?" to "Why bother?"

But hope still rings eternal. My granduncle, Mayer, just died the other day at 106. He was shot by a jealous husband. And Gloria's great aunt, Mitzi, just died at 102. Thank God they were able to save the baby.

The senior gentleman hobbled into a diner and ordered a three-minute egg. The waitress wanted the money in advance.

But remember, readers: Before old age reaches you, live through middle age. That is the time when what sits on your knee is not a girl, but your stomach. And your favorite exercise is a brisk and lively sit. But soon thereafter, be prepared for the three signs of old age: memory loss, and the other two I forgot.

A senior recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, his neighbor's little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed upon his lap and sat there. When his mother asked what he had said, the tyke responded, "Nothing. I just helped him cry."

TV's Andy Rooney once remarked that the life cycle of man should be reversed. The initial stage should be death then regressively proceed backward to convalescing in an assisted living home, being forced to leave because you became too young, retiring from a job, beginning work for 40 years until you are too young to enter the work force, sowing your wild oats after graduation from college, getting ready for high school, going to grade school, playing with other youngsters with no responsibilities, becoming a little baby, going back into the womb, spending your last nine months of life floating and finishing off life a nanosecond after the sperm meets the egg.

Hmm! I heartily disagree, Andy. The life cycle should remain exactly how it is. I would hate to miss out on all the beautiful memories of my life and spending my golden years with Gloria.

Contact Alex Berger at

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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