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Aging in the fast lane is too much to 'bare'

July 15, 2013

As an aging male who believes he can still perform a lot of the same activities he could 20 years ago, I’m somewhat sympathetic to what appears to be a growing elder-stud movement.

True, I’m a little grossed out by the new testosterone craze that’s being advertised on television, whereby men in their 70s and 80s — after a lengthy and highly expensive hormonal regimen — are able to Photoshop their own heads onto bodies of 32-year-old males.

Even more amazing, the wives of the men who ingest this product suddenly get 30 years younger, as the ripped elder statesman and his spouse-babe wink knowingly at each other in the commercial about his “newfound vitality.”

But even if this is true, I’m not sure that the nation needs a new race of Super Geezers, elbowing their way into line at the early bird special and hurling their teeth through department store windows during bouts of post-hurricane looting.

Of course, it’s one thing to be able to fit into the same blue jeans that you wore when you were 12; it’s quite another to put aging envelope pushing into practice.

So you don’t quite know whether to be ecstatic or horrified that over the weekend Morgan Shepherd, 71, became the oldest man to drive in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series.

Now right off, I want you to know, if you are looking for a bunch of crude, lowbrow, old-person jokes — like how he drove the whole race with his left blinker on — you have come to the right place.

Shepherd hoped to complete the 301-lap race, but had to leave after 92 laps to catch an episode of “Matlock.”

Actually, I kid because I’m jealous. As I get older, my average vehicular speed is dropping off a cliff. Speed cameras present no real hazard because I routinely find myself trolling along at 5 mph below the posted limit. To be on the north side of 70 and hitting speeds of 200 mph is the stuff of legends.

But I have less sympathy for 77-year-old golfer Gary Player, who posed naked for the new edition of ESPN’s The Body magazine.

A “nekkid,” 77-year-old man? Ew. I’m not gonna look, I’m not gonna look, I’m not gonna look.

OK, I looked. Wish I hadn’t. I take it this issue of The Body is a knockoff of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and I understand they probably need to do something to gin up interest.

However, I question management on this one. I for one, will never look at this particular magazine again. The scars are that deep.

First, two words that never should be mentioned in the same breath are “nude” and “golf.”

I understand there are attractive golfers, and I understand that it’s not like 30 years ago when you had to have a beer gut before they would let you into the clubhouse.

But on the sex-appeal list, golf ranks somewhere between plumber and journalist. Yeah, I heard a lot of people say, “He looks really good.” But they were using that same tone of voice that’s normally reserved for grade-school horn recitals and open caskets.

If this is a one-shot deal, fine. But knowing the nation’s herd mentality as I do, I fear that anyone looking for publicity for anything, be it car races or media outlets, will now turn to the aging population to shill for their product or event.

Maybe you want to see “Geriatric Jeopardy” with Hugh Downs seeing if people in their 90s can remember how many stars are on the American flag. Maybe you want to see June Lockhart on a yogurt cup, but not me.

I view aging as a certified, legitimate excuse to slow down, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.


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