Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll declares HOLY, UH, COW!! IT’S POSSIBLE THAT I AM 75. And she has not arrived at this milestone without lessons learned. She writes:

I had a wacky friend some time ago who kind of freaked out when he turned 25. He went into a deep depression because, he explained, “my youth is over.” I tried to convince him that he had YEARS yet, if not decades, to be an irresponsible idiot – hey, we’re the Boomers! — but that did not seem to help. He was determined to be depressed.

When I lived in California, another friend, a woman this time, decided at 30 that she was now too old to wear t-shirts and gave me a large, colorful stack of them. From that day forward she was going to wear collared polo shirts or even ironed blouses, like a proper grown-up. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I probably am still wearing some of those t-shirts. And that was in 1975.

During our “Less Affluent Period” (1967-1979), okay, below what the government had determined was the “poverty” line, women friends were always taking pity on me and giving me their hand-me-down clothes and accessories. Shortly after my baby was born, one friend gave me a long paisley granny dress in a silky fabric not found in Nature. One day she came over for our morning walk with the babies. I had on the dress and she said, “Uh, are you planning on wearing that OUT?” “Well, yeah, I thought so. Wouldn’t you wear it out?” And, after a considerable pause, she replied, memorably, “I would if there was a fire.”

Evidently the garment was somewhere between “lounge wear” and a nightgown. Whatever. It was San Francisco, and we lived just off Castro Street. There was a fella there who wore velvet Elizabethan robes and lipstick and another guy who dressed up like a Christmas tree every single day. Nobody would have noticed.

No birthday ever either bothered me or convinced me that I was now a “grown-up” and there were things I could not do or wear. Until 50. Now I come from a terrific gene pool with people who live long and prosper. But, though Math is not my strongest suit, I had figured out that at 50, I had PROBABLY lived longer than I was going to live. And that thought threw me into a bit of a tailspin. Joe, who was not yet Max Cossack, famous novelist, took me out to dinner at the St. Paul Hotel, bought me a nice piece of jewelry and arranged a lovely champagne-filled night upstairs in the hotel after the dinner. My Age-Related Irritation didn’t even last the weekend. That’s what good food, good drink and good lovin’ will do. Plus a bracelet.

By 51, I thought, “Heck, I am now in my EARLY 50s!” And by the time that “6” turned over on the old biological odometer, I was just happy still to be above ground. For those of you youngsters dreading that decade, I can recommend it with great enthusiasm. For me it included retirement, moving to Arizona, learning to shoot and starting a column. And 70, while somewhat startling, did not bother me either. Some clever wag said there are three stages of life: youth, middle age, and “you look FANTASTIC!,” with the “for your age” understood.

But now THIS revoltin’ development! Seventy-five! Three-quarters of a century! The sand is really accumulating in the bottom half of the ol’ hourglass. Your figure no longer resembles the classic glass Coke bottle, but more like the plastic liter. You wake up in the morning and some days you can’t even isolate where it hurts. You now have a “trick” knee AND A “trick” elbow and they are NOT good tricks. Plus two sketchy rotator cuffs that make racking a slide problematic. Best case scenario, I maybe have 20 years left. It’s time for a review of The Bucket List.

But wait! There are very few items on my Bucket List. I have been extremely fortunate in my life in achieving and experiencing almost everything I could dream. I married my soulmate; I had a wonderful kid; I got to entertain people for 30 years – in a job where you work for an hour a day and get applause when you show up for work and when you leave – and have been blessed with the best friends ever to walk the earth. And adding to them all the time!

I wanted a decent-sized house with a grand kitchen so that I could entertain and feed people like a farm wife at threshing time every meal, and I only had to wait until the 63rd year of life, and 43rd year of marriage. Which made it even more special. Oh, the stories I could tell about some of those early kitchens – one 2-room apartment kitchen had not just inadequate counter space, but NONE. Really. I had to prepare food on the kitchen table, and then remove the dishes to the sink in order to set the table. FUN! Well, how ‘bout some wisdom, then?


I am never going on another horrible low-calorie or no-carb diet. My new plan at this point, which I hope to turn into a wildly successful Diet Book, is to lose one pound a year till I die. My tombstone will read: “She finally weighs her ideal weight.” Until then, people around me will just have to be visually assaulted by a short, chubby, but happy and free woman.

If I live as long as both my parents, I will only have to suffer through five more presidential elections. Death will then be a welcome relief.

Satire, parody, and to a large extent, comedy itself, are all but dead. In the Bold New Order envisioned by our brain-dead, but humor-free elites, a daily Symbol of Hate will be flashed up on a screen at regular intervals, and an obscenely-paid, late-night comedy bot will say “Eff (fill in the blank)” and the Official Sidekick will shriek with laughter while audience members howl merrily and clap like Soviet functionaries at a Stalin speech.

Speaking of clapping, the time is fast approaching when I am going to need a clap-locator for every single thing I own – the phone, my step counter, my glasses, my sunglasses, and my fanny pack. Yesterday I spent 20 minutes looking for my little step counter, deeply resenting every uncounted step I took looking for it.

One underrated benefit of a long marriage is to have two half-brains to help remember things. Typical conversation at chez Vass: “Oh, look, there’s that actor we like who was in that revenge thing.” “Was that the one where J-Lo was a Real Estate Agent?” “Yes! In Miami.” “I think that’s Jason Statham! How come we didn’t think to come up with clever abbreviated names like J-Lo and A-Rod? “Our names are already short. How do you abbreviate Joe Vass? J-Va?” “What were we talking about before that?” “I don’t know. I think there’s leftover cake. You want some?” “I thought you were on a diet.” “I have 51 more weeks to lose one pound.” “Great! You seem way less crabby on this kind of diet.” “I’m sorry – what did you say?” “I said, ‘You should never be blabby when you riot’.” “That’s what I thought.”