A friend of mine said to me recently, "Old boy, how's it feel to be a member of the Over-the-Hill Gang?" I mumbled something as politely as I could, but on the inside, I was a little furious. I may be getting older, but I definitely am not old! In fact, I plan to get older every day.
Once I got my blood pressure under control, I looked into this a little more closely. I am not quite sure I want a membership in such an organization. I checked out the dues and I am not quite sure I am up for it.
In order to be a part of this elite group, if elite is the word I want, there are certain dues required of each member. I understand that every organization has its dues, but some dues may not be worth the membership.
Here are some dues associated with the Over-the-Hill Gang.
First, I must complain about something every day. I know there are most days where it is easy to find a half a dozen things to complain about. But what about those days when everything seems to be going right? What about those days, rare though they may be, when there is nothing to complain about?
According to the rules manual, I must find something to complain about every day I get out of bed and the more vehemently I complain, the better. This may explain why many members of this infamous Over-the-Hill Gang stare into space with a faraway look in their eye. They are trying to find something to complain about.
There is a little secret here about the complaining aspect. If I do not remember complaining about something yesterday, I am fully entitled to complain about it today. This, also, may explain why so many people in this membership complain about the same thing every day.
The second rule has to do with matters of health. In order to be a part of the Over-the-Hill Gang, a member must become proficient in medical-sounding terms and words. I use the word "sounding," because they do not have to be real medical terms or words; all they have to do is sound like medical terms and words. This is also a reason why many of the members mumble a lot.
Every day, I must find something wrong about my health. If I do not have anything wrong with my health, I need to make something up.
"How are you feeling today, Jake?"
"I'm not quite sure," Jake responds, "the day's early and there's plenty of time for things to go wrong."
Personally, I really do not like talking about health issues. For one reason, I do not have any health issues to talk about. There is a question about my being sound in mind but there is no question about my being sound in body. Actually, my body makes more sounds then I am comfortable with, especially in public.
I have no health issues to complain about when I am in public. If I suspect someone to be part of the Over-the-Hill Gang, I avoid him or her like the plague. I know as soon as I say "hello," that will open the floodgates for complaining about health issues. What I hate the most is when somebody goes into great detail in explaining his or her health problems. I'm not a doctor. Some things should be kept between the patient and his or her doctor.
If another old person -- and I say this most respectfully -- tells me their surgery was worse than anything their doctor had ever seen in his life, I'm going to start complaining for real. To take at face value what some of these old people say, we have some pretty inexperienced doctors in this country.
Another membership due is the constant referring to "the good old days." I am at the age now when I remember those "good old days" being referenced. The only good thing about those days is the fact that they are gone. I think when you get old, your memory filters out negative things and all you can remember is how wonderful those good old days were. The fact being, they were not wonderful then and they are not wonderful now and the only pleasure I get in their regard is the fact that they are long gone.
I was at the point of tearing up my membership application to the Over-the-Hill Gang when a certain incident happened. I was walking into a store to get something and I must have looked a little absent-minded to the public. I probably was thinking of what I was going to get and if I had enough money to get it. Whatever the case, as I reached for the door, it suddenly opened and a very cheerful voice said, "Here, sir, let me help you with the door."
A very lovely young woman stood there holding the door open for Yours Truly. She smiled so sweetly at me and I thanked her and immediately pulled out my application for the Over-the-Hill Gang and filled it out.
This getting older is going to be great fun. As the Bible says, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).
I am now proud to be a full-fledged member of the Over-the-Hill Gang.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. The church website is www.whatafellowship.com.