Na-na na-na na-na, age changes perspective

Aging changes one’s perspectives — including one’s perspective on when, exactly, old age begins.

I’ll let you know when I find out. It’s not yet.

Sure, there’s a glitch in my hip, a creak in my knees and a blinding lightening of my hair. Yes, we are required to file for a permit from the fire department before lighting the candles on my birthday cake. But old age isn’t yet.

That’s not what I used to think. I was outraged in August 1977 when a disc jockey lamented on air that Elvis died so young.

“What does he mean ‘young’? The man was FORTY-TWO years old,” I shouted at my mom. “He lived a good, long life.”

“Your father is 44.”

I didn’t understand the point. Now, nearly FORTY-SIX years later, I get it. Elvis was still a kid. And so am I.

I grew up in the ’60s — all of the 1960s. Even though it was still the ’50s when I was born, it was during the ’60s that I learned to climb trees, dodge balls (never play dodge ball with rawhide baseballs), blast through a Red Rover lineup, get tackled, throw deadly, steel-tipped lawn darts, and heave 75-pound bales of hay over my head.

Now I’m in my 60s. I wouldn’t attempt any of those now unless I was still a kid of only 42 years.

Why? To paraphrase Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, with greater age comes greater wisdom. I’m not old, I’m just wiser. My perspective changed. Now I understand that any one of those activities would crumple me into a twisted pretzel shape cuddling an ice pack for days.

With all the greater wisdom I’m (painfully) accumulating, I should reach Einstein level any day now.

In 1966, I fell in love with a super serious crime-fighting show about two heroic heroes who were very real. The lyrics to the theme song also were quite serious: “Na-na na-na na-na na-na, na-na na-na na-na na-na, Batmaaaaaan!”

Biff! Zok! Pow!

I remember getting angry when my Dad laughed his way through the entire bat-episode.

Then I got to rewatch “Batman” in reruns when I was in college. Bam! Whap! Zlopp! It was the first time I realized “Batman” was a comedy! And the show was even better than I remembered. The cameos. The alliteration. The dedication to good hygiene and obey all the rules no matter how obsolete. My perspective had changed.

I was invited to see Adam “Batman” West on Oct. 18 and 19, 2008. The first date was my wedding day, and the second day was the start of our honeymoon. Yes, I could have gone to see Batman in person — but I opted to get married and stay that way. It’s probably not the choice I would have made 57 years ago in 1966, but from my changed perspective, it worked out.

Dad also annoyed me when he watched the Grammy Awards with me in the 1970s. He’d grimace and say things like, “You call that music?” and “What’s a Boz Scaggs?” I KNEW that I’d NEVER that out of touch with reality.

Now if I accidentally slip across screeching while scanning radio stations, my father’s voice shouts from my mouth: “What is that NOISE?!”

My perspectives have changed — but not about what real MUSIC is.

As the late Karen Carpenter sang so lovingly in 1973 about listening to oldies radio, “Every sha-la-la-la / Every wo-o-wo-o / still shines / Every shing-a-ling-a-ling / that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine … It’s yesterday once more.”

Perspectives have changed as I’ve aged, but I am not old. Not yet. I’ll let you know when I get there. Now get off my lawn!

Light up the Burt-signal at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.


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