It’s ALL his fault …

So, faithful reader, did you ever wonder how I got to be quite so full of shit with so little apparent effort? Well, if you did, this is why. My father, who I adore, just sent me this. And yes, he did, in fact, painstakingly re-type a Telegraph quiz about the onset of old age. And yes, he did then write a series of increasingly funny answers – just to amuse himself (and now me, and hopefully you). And yes, he did in fact break my balding balls in answer number 5. And yes I love him for it.

Ladies and Gentle folks. I give you the source … God bless his wrinkled little ears!

Survey reported in the Telegraph 16th June 2013 (Youth Day in SA – irony or what?) BR’s responses

How many of the 50 signs of getting old apply to you?

1. Feeling stiff


2. Groaning when you bend down

Yes, and pretty much anything else involving physical exertion

3. Saying “it wasn’t like that when I was young”

Not in so many words, but Yes.

4. Saying “in my day”

This is a repeat of #3, so it doesn’t count. Anyway, I never had a day I could claim as mine.

5. Losing hair

A bit, but not as much as my older kid.

6. You don’t know any songs in the top ten

I’ve heard all the songs in Algoa FM’s Top Thirty I don’t like many of them, but I’ve heard them all.

7. Getting more hairy – ears, eyebrows, nose, face etc

Definitely. It’s a service to the nation – keeps the guys who make devices for removing unwanted facial hair in business.

8. Hating noisy pubs

The Rat and Parrot is great, and nowhere gets as noisy (or as smoky) as upstairs when the Boks are playing. Hate quiet pubs though, like most of the pubs in the UK, because all the fun people are outside smoking (and, apparently, smexting – see #15 below).

9. Talking a lot about joints / ailments

Limited experience of joints (could never afford them even if I could find a dealer), but ailments aren’t really a dinner topic, are they?

10. Forgetting people’s names

Done it all my life – nothing new there.

11. Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than style

My clothes (purchased mainly from my personal tailor, Messrs Old Khaki) combine comfort with stylish good taste, so No.

12. Thinking policemen / teachers / doctors look really young

Yes, but my doctor is older than me, which makes me feel good (except when he tells me I should stop smoking).

13. Falling asleep in front of the TV

No: if I did how would I know what rubbish was being shown (see #22 below)?

14. Needing an afternoon nap

Usually only in the afternoon.

15. Finding you have no idea what young people are talking about

Depending on the topic under discussion, not limited to young people (I live in a university town and hang around with academics: I seldom understand a word the social scientists utter).

16. Struggling to use technology

Not so much, but the remote for my Wharfdale HDD DVD player doesn’t seem to have a Pause button, and swearing at it doesn’t appear to help. Anyone got any guidance to offer? Forget that request – my wife showed me where it is, which means I can skip the really weird Canadian artists who murder the Leonard Cohen songs on the otherwise excellent I’m Your Man movie, and get to the interesting bits where LC discusses his youth.

17. Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and televisions

Ditto 3 & 4 above: the guys who compiled this list were evidently more concerned with getting to the magic number of 50 than avoiding irritating duplications. Sometimes I take a tablet for my back pains, but only after my afternoon naps.

18. When you start complaining about more things

Ignoring the fact that I’ve already complained about this list, twice, bear in mind that in my day, when I was young, the world was a much simpler place (leaving aside the Korean War, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and President Kennedy’s assassination), and there is much, much more to complain about now, and many more ways in which to do so.

19. Wearing your glasses around your neck

Well yes, otherwise I’d lose them wouldn’t I? And I wouldn’t be able to see to find them.

20. Not remembering the name of any modern bands

Define modern. I can remember most of the names of most of the bands I listened to when I was young (in my day, etc, etc), many of whom are still playing, or being imitated, or whose stuff is being released for young people to listen to. If a “modern” band lasts longer than, say, three years I’ll do my best to remember the names of both of them. Remember the Jonas Brothers? Me neither, thank god.

21. You avoid lifting heavy things due to back concerns

Of course I do. Are you nuts. Why would I want to have another discectomy?

22. Complaining about the rubbish on television these days

Done it since we got a television in around 1959.

23. Misplacing your glasses / bag / keys etc

See No 19 above.

24. You move from Radio one to Radio Two

Mercifully neither station airs in South Africa, and Radio One was always crap anyway.

25. You start driving very slowly

I’m a cautious guy – I’ve always driven slowly, even though I know that it’s not speed that kills, it’s the sudden stop when you hit something.

26. Preferring a night in with a board game than a night on the town

I live in Grahamstown. It’s a great place to live, but frankly nights on the town are a bit of a rarity unless you’re a student, or when the National Arts Festival is on. Some board games are, or can be made (see XKCD #696), quite exciting in comparison.

27. Taking a keen interest in The Antiques Road Show

I think my wife watches this on our DSTV Light, and she’s 12 years younger than me. I don’t watch it. What does that tell you?

28. You talk to colleagues who are so young they don’t know what an Opal Fruit is

None of my colleagues know what an Opel Fruit is. I live in South Africa – they never caught on – and they have lots more interesting things to put into their mouths. I did speak to a colleagues a few years ago who had never heard of the Beatles (she thought she may have heard someone mention Paul McCartney). Sad, hey?

29. Taking slippers to friends’ houses

Only under exceptional circumstances, like if I’m trying to identify the beautiful young woman who appeared at the Grahamstown Building Society Ball like a ray of sunshine bursting through the dark rain clouds, but then had to hurry away when the clock stuck midnight. Never did find her.

30. Listening to the Archers

Unfortunately it doesn’t air over here. Are Dan and Doris still about, and that grumpy old Walter Gabriel? God, how I miss the Sunday morning Omnibus Edition. Any soapie that endures that long deserves to be listened to.

31. Falling asleep after one glass of wine

Two bottles preceded by a beer or two and followed by a couple of whiskeys / whiskies, probably, but never after just one glass (unless the glass is like a bucket on a stem).

32. Never going out without your coat

I live in Grahamstown. The weather can do anything at any time, and usually does just during the morning. Of course I take a coat with me.

33. Getting bed socks for Christmas and being very grateful

What actually are bed socks? If my feet get cold during the night I find some of those towelling things they give you on long-haul flights. I do find, however, that people rarely buy me consumer durables these days, in case I don’t last long enough to get full benefit from them.

34. When you can’t lose six pounds in two days any more

If I lost six pounds (I thought England had embraced the metric system of weights: was this questionnaire compiled by an old person who hankers after pounds and ounces, I wonder?) I’d fall through the cracks in the floorboards.

35. Gasping for a cup of tea

Or, indeed, any other beverage, hot or cold – frequently.

36. Taking a flask of tea or coffee on a day out

Flask: more than probably. Containing tea or coffee: No.

37. Joining the WI

Some of the ladies in the WI are very attractive to a man of my age, but they won’t let me join.

38. Taking a keen interest in the garden

Yes: I could watch the garden services at work all day from the deck, sipping a glass of wine and playing board games.

39. Spending more money on face creams / anti-ageing products

Way too late for the anti-ageing stuff.

40. Spending money on the home / furniture rather than a night on the town

I have so much money I can do both. This is because I’ve worked all my (relatively) long life.

41. Taking a keen interest in dressing for the weather

.If you’d ever lived in the … how can I put this? … variable climate of the Eastern Cape you wouldn’t need to ask this question. See #32 above.

42. Putting everyday items in the wrong place

Something of a metaphysical question, this one. What exactly is the “wrong place” for an everyday item, and who defines whether that place for an item is “right” or “wrong”?. And what exactly is an “everyday item”?

43. Obsessive gardening or bird feeding

Another duplication (see #38 above). I’d like to feed the bloody pigeons – aerial rats – but they don’t seem too interested in the warfarin I leave out for them. I obsess about other things (irresponsible use of apostrophes, for one, and duplicated questions in ill-thought-out questionnaires for another), but not gardening or birdfeeding.

44. Really enjoying puzzles and crosswords

Done that all my life – nothing whatever to do with being old. Nothing can compare with the satisfaction derived from solving the Observer cryptic: it means you know lots of words and other useful stuff, and can solve problems. A useful life skill that young people have not yet learned to value. Or do. Like reading.

45. Always driving in the slow lane, or below 70 in the middle lane

Oh god, another duplication (see # 25 above). The occurrence of three-lane highways in the Eastern Cape is vanishingly rare, so the question is irrelevant. But the question implies that only young people drive quickly and irresponsibly (and this is why they – quite properly – pay as much for their insurance premiums as they do for the monthly payments on their Corsa Lights with mag wheels and 300mm speakers in the boot). And this is one reason why they can’t afford furniture as well as a night out.

46. Consider going on a ‘no children’ cruise for a holiday

Oh Yes – definitely that.

47. Your ears are getting bigger

I don’t think it’s a scientifically-validated fact that your ears get bigger as you get older: did this come from Wikipedia” – citation needed. Anyway, No. Hairier: Yes Bigger: No.

48. Joining the National Trust

We don’t have one in South Africa, but we have lots of other organisations doing worthwhile things. I don’t belong to any of them, because I’m too busy struggling with my technological devices, drinking sherry and playing the board-game version of Strip Global Thermo-nuclear War.

49. Drinking sherry

There is no hangover to compare with the one engendered by Sedgwick’s Old Brown.

50. Feeling you have the right to tell people exactly what you are thinking even if it isn’t polite

I’ve always done that. Being my age just makes people less likely to hit you when you’re rude to them.



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