The Old People Kit

-Fred Stock

         It was hot the other day when we were thinking about getting out for a few minutes and maybe walking at the mall. That means getting a shave and a decent tee-shirt for me, and makeup and a fresh tee-shirt for the spouse. At our age and living in the desert, the wife says you have a tee-shirt for every occasion. You struggle to drop that foot rest on the Lazy-Boy, and stumble out of your lethargy chair, groaning and grunting like feeding time at the hippopotamus exhibit.

          You clip the cellphone to your belt, try to make that Bluetooth thing stay in your ear so you can drive the car legally, and load up your water bottle that must be in the little cup-holder in the center island before you can pull out of the carport. And of course, you prepare your old-people-kit.

          If you’re over 60 you already know what that is. It might be a nicely decorated snap-top plastic container, or it might be a plastic sandwich bag out of the corner drawer in the kitchen, but whatever it is, you can’t leave home without it. Mine is often a small polyethylene bag taken from my supply of containers I use to send little electronic parts to internet clients in the mail. (The younger kids call those “Grandpa’s stash bags,” a term which apparently has some special meaning to them. ?????)  But into mine goes four liquid Advils for headaches, four to six Rolaids in case we stop for dinner in a casino, several Gass-x tablets for… well, you know, and if we plan to stay the night somewhere, a copy or two of that barrage of “bedtime” pills the Loma Linda V.A. buys for me. For the wife, it’s her “meds” which have to be taken at specific times in specific combinations with specific foods. There is so much thought going into these old-people-kits that we feel we are exercising our minds enough to prevent the early onset of chronic memory loss!

          Then into the pockets or purse go a supply of Kleenex, and a folded paper napkin for the ladies to blot their lipstick and other various war-paints. I have to have my “loop” – that sounds so much more exotic than ”folding magnifying glass for the elderly,” but that’s really what it is. It’s used to supplement the drug-store reading glasses (that are always in the shirt pocket, magnification rating climbing.) You need that when you get to the restaurant and have to see those menu cards which are diabolically using smaller and smaller print every year. (It may be a communist plot!) Oh, and if you are going to a concert or a sporting event with the kids, be sure to remember the ear plugs and the stadium pads so that both ends of you are comfortable. And the portable battery powered electric fan. And the extra water bottle. And a couple of bags of M&M’s Plain for the low blood sugar. Maybe a couple of aspirin in case of heart attack, and don’t forget my inhaler. And… oh, yah, real shoes. They keep your bare feet from hitting the hot sidewalks. Oh Jeepers, that means bending down – I hate that! And the getting back up is even worse! Yipes!

          Honestly, is this really worth it? It has taken so long and so much effort to assemble the old-people-kit that I am exhausted. Let’s just stay home and watch Lawrence Welk reruns! My Goodness! –fhs