Half a Century

Earlier this week, my work friend turned fifty.  So I baked her a tombstone cake, got everyone to wear black, decorated in black balloons and steamers, bought her a big bag of “senior supplies,” brought a wheelchair to work for her to sit in, and put “slow senior old zone” yellow tape around her desk.  (It’s okay… she wasn’t upset because she knows I’m right on her heels.)  And I wrote a eulogy which was read by our boss, the undertaker.  I hope you’ll get as big a laugh out of it as we did…

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bid a fond farewell to Theresa’s Youth.  In the days of Theresa’s youth, men had not yet walked on the moon, smoke detectors were not yet invented, and Coca-cola did not yet use the newly introduced aluminum can.

In Theresa’s youth, handheld calculators were unheard of, word processing involved a manual typewriter, and the term “cut and paste” involved actual scissors and a brown, glass bottle of mucilage glue.

When Theresa was young, microwave popcorn was considered “space-age fiction,” the closest thing to video games involved three steel balls and a tilt sign, and heart transplants were only found in sci-fi movies.

In the year Theresa was born, the average cost of a new house was $13,600, the average annual salary was $6,450, gas was 31¢ a gallon, bread was 21¢ a loaf, and the average monthly rent was $118.

In the year Theresa was born, the Grateful Dead played their first concert in San Francisco, Astroturf was invented, and the mini skirt was introduced as the latest fashion conception.

So though Theresa knew a time that most of us have only heard about… a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, when cavemen dwelled, and when fire and the wheel were still relatively new, we now encourage her to embrace her advanced age.

Now that she’s stepped up to the fifth floor, Theresa can look forward to receiving Medicare, reading the AARP magazine, and getting the senior’s discount coffee at McDonalds.

Theresa, though you might look back on your life and feel that your travels were limited, just think:  You’ve already made 50 trips around the sun.  With the earth’s orbit being 584 million miles, that’s twenty-nine billion, two hundred million miles you’ve traveled since the day you were born.

Speaking of days since you were born, did you know that you’ve lived 18,262 days as of this morning?  That’s 438,288 hours, or 26,297,280 minutes you’ve been alive!

Theresa, there’s no two ways about it…. I SAY THERE’S NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT.  You’re old.  I mean, really old.  But that doesn’t mean that your life is over.  In fact, now that you’ve reached your golden years, you can actually multi-task and get more done at once…

For example, you can clean your teeth and take a nap at the same time.  You can put spikes on your walker to pick up trash while you take a stroll.  And you don’t have to pause the movie to use the restroom anymore.

So, Theresa, while you are still able to reflect upon your youth… back to days when Methuselah was in middle school, when the Redwood Forrest was a field of saplings, and when the pyramids were still under construction, try to remember fondly how you longed for the day when you could be older… and know that day has arrived… many times over.

Despite your many, many years, know that we, your friends, support you… even if your Social Security doesn’t.  As you forge forward into the world of Alzheimer’s and incontinence, and pave the way to the nursing home, we’ll be behind you – pointing and laughing.

Goodbye, Theresa’s Youth.  You can stay back in the days when the Burger King was just a prince, when Colonel Sanders had black hair, and when Elvis was still alive.  And thin.  But we’ll take the new and improved Theresa.  The wiser Theresa.  The antique Theresa.

We love you, Theresa.  Have a happy birthday!

Time to talk:  Have you ever attended a “wake for someone’s youth” as their birthday party?  Do you have birthday parties at your job?  Would you be upset if someone gave you a party themed around exaggerating your age?

17 thoughts on “Half a Century

  1. You’re so funny, Rachel–even though I think 50 is the new 30, or something like that. Haha. I’m approaching 60 now, and my mom is 93, so 50 doesn’t seem old at all anymore.
    I was saying to my husband the other day while we were in the car having “Siri” give us directions–that we could never have imagined such a thing when we were younger!

    • I was kinda hoping 50 would be the new 25. Actually I’m really hoping 46 will be the new 25! 😉
      And I know what you mean about all the technology… I saw something on Facebook recently that really out it in perspective… It was an old Radio Shack newspaper ad with a phone, a Tandy computer, a word processor, an answering machine, and a few other gadgets, and at the bottom someone had printed how everything on that page and more is if your pocket right now( your cellphone)!

  2. We have birthday’s at work and decorate each other’s offices. I’m not too social at work though. I’m kinda there to do my thing and then get home to what I REALLY love – my family, my dog, and my writing. 🙂

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