David Hawpe: Time with grandkids better medicine than alphabet for aging

July 6, 2014 

David Hawpe of Louisville, a retired journalist, sits on various statewide boards and, when necessary, operates what his grandchildren call DayDayDaycare.

By David Hawpe

My age group has its own dating service, OurTime.com., for "those over 50." I haven't used it, but I'm curious about how it works.

Along with potential hookups, do you get tips on how to conduct love life as a senior? A list of secluded places where you can park your wheelchairs? A guide to choosing the right pharmaceutical gift card? A place to find easy-to-tear wrapping paper.

I used to like TV, but as a senior it's a regular downer. Flip on your flat screen and you're bombarded with reminders that you have to be ready "when the moment's right."

There's a special alphabet for seniors, especially senior males. For men, the ABCs of aging are ED and low-T, sometimes accompanied by an unfavorable BMI. Then there are the really serious things that slow seniors down, like RA and COPD, or that take all the fun out of eating, like IBS and GERD.

No wonder we over-50 types spend so much M-O-N-E-Y on P-I-L-L-S.

Over-the-hill jock wannabees long have tried to prove their masculinity by sitting slack-jawed in front of the idiot box on Saturdays and Sundays, watching legitimately athletic young men. Now manliness comes in a pill.

It's a multi-billion-dollar business. Cialis sold some $2.2 billion worldwide in 2013, while Viagra was a $1.9 billion seller for Pfizer. With more than 14 different brand name testosterone drugs on the market, the low-T industry is a $1.6 billion phenomenon.

Here are two more letters you can add to the alphabet of aging, OR, as in operating room.

It's not just women who spend money they don't have on the manifestations of age they do have. A man not only must be ready "when the time is right" but also must look good enough for her to be interested. Not to worry. There's Juviderm and Botox, and, for the really aesthetically challenged, there's plastic surgery.

Of course real men don't get facelifts. Or do they? You bet your surgically-enhanced gluteus maximus they do. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, increasing numbers of men also get liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), eyelid surgery, breast reduction and ear shaping.

"Over the last three to five years, there's been a huge boom in men's aesthetic surgery," Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas Steinbrech recently told Business Insider. "Our practice has seven websites, one exclusively for men, and many of our patients now are male."

Seeing Mitch McConnell in so many news photos and political commercials this year, I have wondered why he doesn't consult somebody like Steinbrech.

I'm about Mitch's age, and I, too, could use the help, but I take the easy way out. I stay young by spending a lot of time with my grandchildren.

I keep music in my car — discs that range from the beauty of Vivaldi's Four Seasons to the glory of Rosenkavalier's final trio, from Louvin Brothers duets to Kenny Loggins singles. None of that suits my grandson, Xavier, which is not surprising since he is 13 and more into Foo Fighters.

We have compromised on AC/DC and Queen. He likes the music. I like the lyrics, especially when I can use them as sage advice, like, "Take a chance while you still got the choice." I assure him, in the immortal words of the Queen oldie-but-goodie, that fat-bottomed girls make the world go round.

Speaking of McConnell, he never has asked me for advice. If he ever does, I might pick this lyric from a pretty fair songwriter: "Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don't stand in the doorway. Don't block up the hall." Bob Dylan is, uh, forever young.

The young keep you alert and alive. Were it not for my young friend Morgan McGarvey I never would have heard this profound advice from his favorite group, Phish: "Whatever you do, take care of your shoes."

The old and the young can find things to share, if they try. November holds some promise for both Xavier and me. That's when the Foo Fighters release a new album and the people of Kentucky choose a senator.

David Hawpe of Louisville, a retired journalist, sits on various statewide boards and, when necessary, operates what his grandchildren call DayDayDaycare.

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