Going down hard/the aging of the Boomers: Part Four – that’s the trouble…

There is of course that first realization that age has crept up on you. The recognition varies from person to person.  Sometimes in subtle ways, as when you bend over to pick something up off the floor and it takes you longer to straighten up.  Or it might be that moment which occurs to all, the first time you gaze into the bathroom mirror and you look behind you to see who that old person is.  

But the real tell-tale sign is when you hear about the death of close friends or associates.  Not just once a year like when you were in your forties or fifties, but four of five times a year. 

I was privileged to know John Collins, the last guitar player with Nat King Cole.  We were friends.  John came out to hear me play quite often when I was living in LA and that was a big honor.  Before he retired I went to hear him as often as possible.  His playing was an enchantment.

One day we were hanging around and John had just gotten the word that his dear friend Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, the great trumpet player known for his work with Count Basie, had just died.   John was staring off as we drank a coffee at the Beverly Center. 

“You okay John?”  Collins looked at me with his mischievous smile and said, “Yeah, Artie, I’m okay.  It’s just the dues you pay for hanging around longer.” 

Now there’s some philosophical insight: the price paid for continuing your life while those around you that you care about check out.  John lived well into his eighties before he passed away.

That’s one of the problems with getting older.  Boomers are an emotional breed.  We were raised on hot rods, milk-shakes, true love at the Drive-in theater, innocent folk guitars, and basically an un-frenzied life that did not include computers, cell phones, virtual realities, internet mumbo-jumbo and the accompanying stress factors which plague our society today. 

When President Kennedy was assassinated we knew that the end was near: that the unhurried pace of life was soon to be exchanged for the hectic nothingness of competition and the accumulation of ‘stuff’ –the grand distraction from reality.

But that’s Okay, we rode it out for all it was worth.  Now, as we loom around our seventieth year on the face of this planet, we pine for the past, the way things were. 

That’s the problem of which there is no solution.  So when one of our comrades fades away, it affects us to the max.  There are too few left to reminisce about life in the slow lane.

                                          ( Art Johnson/ Monaco - copyright 2014)

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