And You’re How Old?

Chapter 2, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


A few days more and I would be 48 years old. ONLY 48! But people treated me as if I were 98. The more I mulled it, the angrier I got. I didn’t feel 48. Some days I didn’t feel 38. I was active. I played softball in the summer and basketball in the winter. In the basement, I had some free weights. Melinda had an elliptical machine, which I used once or twice a week.

As for a diet, I thought I ate well, you know, healthy. Lots and lots of green things and fruit. No, I didn’t feel bad. I felt all right. Hell, some days I felt 18. Well, maybe 24 or 25. Yeah, 18 might be stretching it.

And really, I didn’t drink that much.

Bottom line, I had something to prove to my wife, my kids, that butthead doctor of mine and anybody else who thought I was over the hill and in the woods. Most important, I had something to prove to myself.


So at 6:05 a.m. on Feb. 23 — my birthday — the day I turned the odometer over to 48, I sneaked out of bed to begin my Olympic Games quest.

It was official. It was spiritual. It was a big mistake.

I got up as early as I could to avoid potential witnesses. I never did like the training part. Truthfully, no one does. On cue, the tiny voice inside my head spoke up.

… OK, what if you run and the bitter cold pierces your lungs and induces a heart attack? Or you fall on the ice and crack a hip or …

That tiny voice could not resist. It was big on obsessing. I let one frightening scenario play out after another. Sitting in the middle of the living-room floor next to the beer stain courtesy of Ralphie and Nicky, I exorcised the negative thoughts one by one.

Baby boomer angst? I could do without.

Next, I did my old, high school track stretching routine. I couldn’t remember all the stretches, just the basic ones I did before softball or basketball games. It WAS 30 years ago. I doubt an old door closing on rusty hinges creaked as loud as my reluctant muscles. I couldn’t even touch my toes. That was a prerequisite for most of the other stretches.

Maybe I was 98.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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