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Growing Older

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By BEN OLSON/for The Herald  —  On Monday, I’m going to the dentist to get what’s left of another tooth removed. I haven’t had this few teeth since I was learning to read “The Adventures of Dick and Jane.” Considering how much sugar passed my lips in my adolescence, I’m somewhat amazed that I have any teeth at all.

As a youth, my dentist was a “drill ‘em and fill ‘em” kind of guy, with nary a word about how to keep from getting cavities. A jar of Tootsie Roll Pops was always present in the reception room.

I was extremely fortunate to not lose any of my “show teeth” to the dangerous combo of sports, bar fights and “hold my beer, watch this!” Things are pretty stable now. It looks like I may have enough choppers left to get to the finish line.  I’ve been hearing about having to watch out for insidious gum disease for 30 years now. An occasional shot of one of Mick’s Deep Woods products and regular brushing and flossing have kept it at bay so far.

I have two brothers who wouldn’t need to remove much more hair to audition for the role of Mr. Clean. It was a trait that came down hard and consistent on my mother’s side of the family. Somehow, it missed me.

My hair has always been a little ‘wispy’ and my wife has tried to tell me that I have a ‘thin’ spot on the crown of my head. I have yet to see any photographic evidence to show me that that’s actually true. The hair on my head is, and has been, white for twenty-some years. There’s no original color to go back to.

With a full contingent of 10 fingers and 10 toes, I feel much more fortunate than some of my colleagues who spent a lot of time in the construction and sawmill businesses. It is true that surgeons have been whittling away at me, removing parts they don’t think I need, and reaming out and reinforcing others to get a few more miles out of me.

I don’t hear very well and my wife, who is no doctor, has for years been advising me to put my hearing aids in. Thanks to those Lasik people, I can clearly see the big beautiful world, something I couldn’t do without glasses from 3rd grade until I was almost 50. The tradeoff, of course, is that if I don’t have my ‘cheaters’ with me when we go out to eat, you’ll have to read the menu to me.

I once lamented all the things that I used to be able to do but couldn’t do anymore. That will drive you crazy and probably make you sad in the process.

Now I thank my lucky stars for all the things I can do. It truly makes me happy to know that I can sit down at my laptop and put down some musings that may possibly amuse someone- even make their day. It is so true that life is what you make of it. 

If you want to hear the definitive explanation of the aging process and how to keep it at bay with humor, find Pete Seeger’s “Get Up and Go” on the internet and give it a listen.

Ben Olson, musician and Oakridge Resident, with his standup bass, is a frequent contributor to The Herald and also writes for the Arts, Entertainment, and Events  section. Ben Olson photo

 

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