Aging gracefully or like a rusting septic tank?

I’ve been thinking a good deal lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 years) about aging and what it means to “get old”. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 minutes) if I could write something funny besides humiliating myself in an exercise class.   Here’s an opportunity to kill two birds with the same assault rifle.

I started thinking about this the first time I heard someone 50 called “middle-aged”.  Check  the mortality tables lately?  That train left the station at 40.

The second thing that got my attention were the famous and (not famous) actors, politicians, fitness gurus, granny’s graduating college, 90-year-old owner of the clothing store we all know, who despite their being well into their advanced years, just don’t seem “old” at all.

How do I get there? What does it mean to be “old”?  I did a little research. (Ok, VERY little research) Here’s just one website I found on “aging”.  Here’s  one example why conventional medical science doesn’t clearly reflect what  we all see in the real world. Here’s the symptoms listed under “Diagnosis” on page two:
diminished, or lack of, desire for food
increased confusion
failure to thrive
urinary incontinence
weight loss

Seriously? Ok, if weight loss and diminished desire for food are symptoms, call the National Enquirer, I’m destined for  immortality. As for increased confusion, failure to thrive, dizziness, falling and urinary incontinence: frankly, that just sounds like my twenties. Wow, if I’d known that was aging I wouldn’t have cut back on my drinking.

So, I’m developing my own “anti aging” prescription list. Screw a bucket list, I wanna be Morgan Freeman, who turned 76  June 1,2013. Make EVERYDAY a bucket list day.

1. Keep up: if you can’t/won’t/don’t wanna use-learn cell phones, computers, social media, technology, you don’t only LOOK old, you are old. in general, KEEP UP. When you hear the “20’s”, “40’s”, “50’s”, or “80’s, s each decade evokes a certain menagerie of fashion, politics, technology, media,  design, and culture. I find this harder as the years go by. I admit I rely on my girlfriend to insure I don’t dress like its 1985. I’m constantly scrambling to listen to bands who have clearly gone viral for awhile. Vampire weekend? Yup, their third album is out. You get the drift. Keep up

2. Do NOT join the AARP. Does this really need any explanation? It’s a cult. I know they have kool aid. I’m not drinking it.

3. Aches and pains. If you’re over 50, shut the hell up about them. If you’re between 9 and 49, bitch away. I hear my friends between 9 and 40 bitch about their migraines, bad backs, discs, constantly. It’s ok, if you’re “young”. Over 50, you sound 80.  That ’cause, that’s ALL old people talk about.   If it hurts, suck it up and shut up. Unless you got a scrip for hospice, don’t tell nobody.

4. Aging “gracefully”. I admit I succumbed to false vanity and struggled with this a bit but the bottom line is that you cannot hide the outward physical effects of aging. Translation- every bottle of scotch from 30 years ago is proudly showing up today on my face and saying “whee- look at me”. While I heartily recommend a good dermatologist, increased exercise, healthier eating and lifestyle in general, (along with your addictions and bad habits of choice) you all have that image of the “she’s had too much plastic surgery” and “who’s he fooling with that comb over”. Be comfortable in your own skin is good advice for any age.

5. Hang out with young people besides your grand kids. This is also an aging test. If you are a PITA (pain in the ass) they won’t hang out with you. Grumpiness is a sure sign of aging. See, e.g. The movies GRUMPY OLD MEN I,II,III, IV & V.

I’m happy to die today or 40 years from now, that’s inevitable. Aging? That’s optional

“We all live in a yellow submarine”. (This is a lyric from a song by a band called the “BEATLES”, which had a flash of popularity 50 years ago).

Humor Zumba

Zumba class 6

After five years concentrated effort of yoga and tango, a year of juicing, cutting back on wheat and dairy, avoiding sugar, and giving up sodas and artificial sweeteners to lose weight, all completely unsuccessfully; (zilch, zero, nada, nothing, failure, no progress- just so we’re clear) I decided that after 5 years of  that I was now engaged in this diabolical and biological game of Jenga. If I would just keep pulling the biological blocks from the fat tower, eventually the fat tower will come tumbling down.

Hence my decision to increase from one yoga class a week to three and to add two Zumba classes a week. I said, “self, we’ll lose weight, or kill ourselves doing it”.

I’m discussing a festive memorial service with Leah and Rachel, preferably one that involves liquor, and a pinata filled with travel sized portions of astro glide and mini vibrators.   Why, by the way, don’t funeral homes have liquor licenses? God knows, if there’s a place you could use a drink and a bar, it’s before after and during a wake-funeral and it would be tremendous money maker for them. Would love meeting the bartender at the funeral home bar. Wow, that would be some stories. Anyway, that’s another post….

So, as usual, get to class a little early, meet someone new, who comes flying in like Sally Field as Gidget on an overdose of cocaine and adderall who says, “is this your first time”. As some of you know, I always lie and say yes, partially because I am so bad at this no one can tell, and partially because I’m so amused by what they say to Zumba virgins. “We don’t get many men here”, she says.  I look around at all the wedding rings in sight and think, “you should probably be happy with the ones you already got”, but I smile, and nod with that look like I’ve just had electric shock therapy.

Class begins. I’m going to pace myself, I vow. Breathe in through my nose, control my pranayama. Good yogic breathing.  Listen to my body. Focus on my heart rate. Enter a meditative state. This is all going great. For the first four measures and 45 seconds  of the first song. I come to from my meditative state to realize my yogic breathing is hyperventilating like a 12 year old girl at a Justin bieber concert and I’m sweating like Governor Christie after a day outdoors cutting ribbons at the jersey shore trying to drive past his third KFC without stopping. Yeah, ya bastard, ya got a lap band, but that fried chicken is still in your brain…..

Actually, I’m noticing I can actually function about 15 minutes before my body starts pleading like a little girl for the nearest ICU. The room is PACKED. Knowing women do THIS AND give birth I’m convinced the only reason they are not President/dictator of every country and CEO of every corporation is because they don’t want to. Lean in? Wow, lay off the speed why dontcha?

i’m also starting to recognize some of the songs. Not the obvious pop songs like maroon five’s “moves like jagger” (not the version you’re thinking of —the remix- where Adam Levine and Enrique Iglesias are doing the remix for their gay wedding and reception n Spanish Harlem) but the ones that I previously never heard of, but they’re catchy and you try to mouth the lyrics like you follow along to a really great dashboard video of a sobriety test from a highway patrolman’s car.

I look at clock. Only 30 min have passed.  25 to go. I now start to move like a beat cop who’s been assigned fair traffic direction duty two days before retirement.

Class ends.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

Argentine Tango Humor

Some Musings on a Night of Argentine Tango

Some musings on a night of Argentine Tango. Dear Paula: since we started our Tango journey a month apart 4 years ago, I’ve enjoyed our unique friendship/tango connection, but after hours of research on the following arcane bit of argentine tango etiquette, and not finding any guidance anywhere on the internet, may I suggest that when I said, ” wow, that was the first time in four years I’ve been kicked in the balls doing a gancho.”; the proper response is not, “it’s all your fault, you didn’t open your legs wide enough”. Wow, really? But, I should digress.

(Please allow me just a moment of solemnity, as I would be remiss not to recognize Nina and Marie for their hundreds of hours of volunteer hard work to organize this wonderful weekend of tango Milongas and workshops with housing for all the beautiful tangueros from around the southeast and dale Ellison for hosting the milonga and as my tango and Zumba instructor putting up with my BS)
Allow me to briefly set the scene- Arthur Murray dance studio west Ashley, where the above floor Lego constructed wooden dance floor creaks like the bed in the next door neighbors hotel room where you swear to God Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are in there having sex with each other as if she really gave birth to those 9 kids. Ok, maybe having sex like she ADOPTED those 9 kids and the 7000 watt high intensity bulbs on the relatively short 10 foot ceiling, all trained on the 1975 John Travolta disco ball, are putting off enough heat that within 10 minutes we’re all sweating like 8th graders at their first school dance in a large concrete South Georgia gym in June with no windows where the air conditioner hasn’t worked in 3 months.

So, Paula and I were dancing a tanda (a series of 3 songs of the same style separated by a cortina where, in one song I led a gancho. As my wordsmithing abilities are not sufficient to describe what this looks,like, I have attached a brief instructional video at the end of this post, you can see the move in question @ 1 min 29 sec, you might want to take a look now, just so you can say, in your own mind, as I did, in mine, “OMG, how did that turn into a kick in the balls?”

I led the gancho, the testicular tap ensued, the comments above followed, and I briefly found my previously surgically removed tonsils temporarily replaced thanks to the back of Paula’s heel. (But very nice shoes they were). And I found myself feeling like a sexual assault victim who had “asked for it”. Now while I’m sure my lead was at least partially to blame, I more focused on a more appropriate reply, primarily as a guide for less experienced tangueros who may find themselves as either a testicular kicker or kickee. Despite the 29,472 instructional videos on Argentine tango and the 125,742 pages of floorcraft, terminology, etiquette, and technique; no one has tackled this problem.

My suggestions: “Are you ok?” Would be my top choice. “I’m sorry that happened”. Is another good one. Here’s some others you might want to avoid besides “your legs were too close together”. “Your too short and your balls are clearly too close to the ground”; “tee hee”; “it felt like I only kicked one, sorry”

Grand Milonga tonight at 8 pm. I’m wearing a cup.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

Copyright 2013 lawrence a laddaga

Humor Uncategorized

Zumba Class 5.

Went to Zumba class #5 yesterday. The following contains pieces from classes 4 & 5 without regard to continuity or location but since I’m in a dissociative state, you might as well be too. Driving to class last night, I pull into the parking lot of the IOP rec center and all the oxygen leaves my body. Initially shocked, I realize my cells are like the kid who’s been bullied too many times by the same kids in the neighborhood so he runs at first sight of them.

I stop at the desk to check off my name on the three pages of registered Zumbaronians but the receptionist is speaking to one of the other class members. I wait patiently, she looks up at me like a fan of the reality show “an Idiot Abroad” and says with a smirk, “I’ll sign you in”. How can she already know my name? Then, Wow, I think. I’m not even in the room, and I’m embarrassed already. I’ve only been to Zumba twice and the entire IOP rec center knows who the fat guy is taking the Zumba class.

Waiting for class to start. Lady next to me says, “first time?” “Yes”, I lie. Dale gives you quite a good workout, she says. She must be the cemetery tour guide, I think. “These are graves, these are tombstones”. What would I say to newbies a year from now I think? “When you get out of here, call home and have them remove all guns, knives and drugs from your home”. “This is fun, are all your premiums current?” ”

Class begins. Why do gyms/dance/fitness/aerobics rooms have wall to wall mirrors? I googled it. There’s an entry for each one of those. One reason is it distorts the size of the rooms by making them look bigger. I know this to be true because each week, I have run backwards into the wall, my high score being 3 times, the last time so hard I knocked the wind out of myself. But I digress. I think the mirrors are a variation of “does my ass look fat in these blank”? Mine looks like an old dominion 18 wheeler truck backing out of a narrow downtown residential driveway ripping the piazza off a charleston single house while running over a tricycle. And thanks for that image from three separate directions.

And why are workout clothes so tight? I do now understand why some people prefer the front row

Min 0-15. As I enter my usual dissociative state it’s starting to have a familiar comforting feeling like macaroni & cheese, meditation, alcohol or drug abuse or the delusions from a major depressive episode

Min 15-27 I’m actually starting not only to recognize some of these steps, but name them in my head- there’s the “dog peeing on a fire hydrant while running” and the “heel to toe DUI sobriety test for drag shows only”. (This is how I did well in school, it helps me keep up)

Min 27-30. I swear I am dancing to a disco Hispanic version of the theme song to Gilligans Island. I know, you young’uns are gonna have to you tube the song, folks my age just peed a little.

Min 45. Lovely lady next to me says, “I wish my husband could come”. “TMI”. I I think. When the Cialis commercial with the two of them in two separate bathtubs first came out I told Leah, “if that stuff really works, they’d be in the same bathtub”

Min 46-58. I wanna take a class taught by a woman dual certified in tantric yoga and Zumba. (Yes, this single thought occupied me for the remaining twelve minutes)

Class ends. “I am the Walrus, goo goo g’joob”

copyrite. Lawrence Laddaga 2013

Humor Zumba

Zumba Class Three

Get to class a few minutes early so I can snag my spot in the back of the room. Two attractive middle age brunettes come in weighing maybe, 75 pounds between the two of them total. Each one is the size of one of my thighs. One is experienced at Zumba, she get on the row in front of me, one is a newbie, she gets the spot right next to me. I try not to eavesdrop but they’re talking over me, so it’s kinda hard not to. They’re talking about what they last ate, which sounded like it was February. A chocolate crisp, and a bit of salsa in some lettuce. My mom wouldn’t let me have pets, but after years of nagging, I got one of those one inch turtles, which they brought to mind cause that’s what he ate, cept he got a little hamburger instead of the salsa. Then they included the woman to my right, who thankfully looked like she had eaten within the last week. The more experienced Zumba brunette started talking about the importance of Zumba shoes, because running shoes or sneakers are designed for forward movement and Zumba, or dance or tennis shoes are designed for lateral movement and therefore better for your knees. This discussion went on for awhile, occasionally glancing at me, as if to draw me Into their conversation about the various shapes on the bottom of one’s footwear. Not taking the bait, she finally asked what was on the bottom of my footwear. “Honey”, I said, “if I had jetpacks on the bottom of my shoes, it wouldn’t make a difference in this class .

Class begins. Min 0-10. Wow. This is actually harder than last week. Which was harder than the week before. Can this actually just get worse and worse? Is Zumba some arcane Latino slang word for marriage? I flash back to when @tanya Altagracia told me Laddaga was slang in Puerto Rican for “female short penis.” If this is another cruel linguistic joke, I wanna find out early. At least I still have oxygen in my body.

Min 15. Oxygen all gone. I have entered a dissociative state.

Min 20. I realize I am developmentally unable to move my arms and legs at the same time.

Min 25. The 75 pound newbie next to me looks pretty graceful for a newbie and has not broken a sweat. I may stab her in the parking lot on the way out.

Min 31. Only half way. Thank god I got on and bought one of those defibrillators you see in the airports now. I can hardly wait to go home and shock my heart.

Min 38 I no longer fear death. By any manner,method or disease.

Min 45. The 75 lb newbie has STILL not broken a sweat. I on the other hand am standing in a puddle of perspiration like I have pissed myself, have drenched my polo shirt like there’s a garden hose under my polo short and have wound out my handkerchief three time on my polo shirt. I am definitely stabbing her in the parking lot.

Min 55. It’s the cool down song. I have lost time-and have no recollection of those 10 minutes like alien abductees report. Maybe they just went to a Zumba class.
“I am the walrus. Goo goo g’joob”

Copyrite Lawrence Laddaga2013

Humor Zumba

Zumba Class Two

Just home from Zumba class no 2. I was driving over thinking the second class had to be easier when I remembered my second colonoscopy this summer. At least I know what a fire hose with a Nikon professional paparazzi style camera and flash up my ass feels like so I won’t be surprised. But, there won’t be anesthesia. Walked in class. Nice lady who wasn’t there last time says, “first class”? I immediately try to decide what will be easier for me, tell the truth and have her astonished that no one can be that bad, even after two classes or lie, and get first Timer credit two classes in a row. I immediately think, “Mark Sanford got elected yesterday, I should lie”. “Yep, first timer”, I say. She says, “the trick is to bend your knees so you don’t hurt your knees or back”. I figure she works for the department of corrections and this is the advice she gives to newbies going into cells with lifers. “Bend your knees…..” Class begins. Minutes 0-10. OMG. I have depleted all the oxygen in my body. Already. Yes, I’m still breathing, but I can’t replace the oxygen going out fast enough. You’ve heard without enough oxygen to the brain, brain damage occurs rather quickly. It’s true, I recognized my own brain damage immediately. I thought what a traitor Governor Christie was. The last respectable fat guy we had – got lap band surgery. And lost 40 lbs before he fessed up. Bastard. Min 33. OMG. she’s playing ICE, ICE BABY. Holy shit, it’s on 78 Rpm. and she’s dancing that fast. We used to play regular records at 78 rpm and they sounded like the chipmunks. Im trying to dance at chipmunk speed. Min 40. Ok, I’m paying more attention to these hand movements this week. They kinda look more like those guys on the runways with the flashlights bringing in the planes to the gate – if they were really high and doin it to earth wind and fire played by a Latino band. Or, I can kinda see some priests I know saying mass, to Donna summer. This is some serious brain damage I’m thinking. The bend your knees lady came over to check on me. Really? Then, the song “get low” comes on by Flo Rida. A voice in my head says, “you got this”. I immediately recognize this as multiple personality disorder brought on by the brain damage. The OTHER voice says “you got what?”. I actually try to do the whole step it up, second wind, give it all I have thing. I’m clearly mentally Ill and should be committed. Min 48 Oh, it’s cool down song with the yoga moves I recognize,thank god. Class is over. I can’t wait for next week.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”

Copyrite  Lawrence Laddaga 2013

Humor Zumba

The Torture Begins

Just got back from my first ever Zumba class. Thankfully no scarlet letters or getting tied to a stake was involved. Yes, if you’ve never been, the rest of the class looks like those happy, healthy people you’ve seen on the infomercials dancing to a joyous, driving beat. I, on the other hand, looked like a cardiac patient playing Charades to the same music and my word was “epileptic seizure”. I realized the first two minutes even trying to learn the foot and handwork together was impossible so minute 3 -29 was focused on the footwork. Minutes 30- 32 was focused on the fact my heart wasn’t racing, there was no longer a discernible pulse, it was just one of those annoying hums like from an electrical appliance that’s not quite right. Minutes 32-38 were focused on handwork when I realized I was having an out of body experience. My mother taught hearing impaired children the last 20 years of her career and she learned sign language. Being Italian she spoke with her hands anyway. I always wondered what sign language would look like if my mother took speed and mushrooms at the same time. Zumba was it. Minutes 39 – 45 were spent thinking I’d not watched a clock this much since my first prostate exam. For the last 15 minutes I was grateful to be upright and conscious. Thanks Dale Ellison. Can’t wait to come back. Maybe for my next class of charades I’ll try “drunk on a electric fence”.