Counting the growth rings of a tree is a way to tell how old a tree is. Counting the number of rattles on a rattlesnake is a way to tell how old a rattlesnake is, and counting the number of five-gallon buckets in a man’s yard is a way to tell how old that man is. Of course, none of this is an exact science, but it’s not too far off.
I’m getting old; there’s no getting around it. When I was a baby, Richard Nixon was president. When I was a baby, The Godfather was still in theaters. When I was a baby, Auburn beat Alabama in a game simply known as “Punt Bama Punt.” At 43, I’m a middle-aged man, and I have the five-gallon buckets to prove it.
I also have the gray hair, although not as much as I had last night, because I spent half the night in front of the bathroom mirror plucking many of those unwanted gray hairs. When one’s hair is as short as mine, it can be challenging to pluck the right one. So, for every gray hair I plucked, I plucked four good hairs. Now I have a bald spot on the side of my head and need to get to the barbershop as some point today to get all that straightened out. I actually enjoy hanging out in the barbershop. I think that’s another sign of getting old.
When I look amongst my best friends, who are all roughly the same age as me, I realize that it could be worse. One has had gray hair for 20 years. There is another one who is bald. Then, there is another who is gray and bald. Oh, and one of them is a Bama fan.
For years, there has been very little programming on TV worth watching, so like most old guys, I watch the weather and re-runs of The Andy Griffith Show; however, I’ve recently discovered two incredible shows on CBS starring Mark Harmon and Tom Selleck. The shows have been airing since 2003 and 2010, respectively. Where have I been?
I also have a fondness for keeping Cool-Whip bowls, but that’s about it. Someone recently gave me several empty name brand butter bowls, and, although I was grateful, I could only look at the label and say, “I can’t believe it’s not…Cool-Whip.” I’m strictly a Cool-Whip bowl kind of guy. I’m loyal to the end. This trait was no doubt passed down from my grandparents.
There are, however, some things about my grandparents and getting old that would suggest that I’m still young at heart. For example, nowhere in my home is there a jar of salve. Old people love salve. It’s the cure-all for everything. I can’t tell you the last time I ate a circus peanut, and I’m certainly no fan of pear salad: pear, mayonnaise, cheese, and a cherry. Who thought that was a good idea? I’m surprised they didn’t put salve on it. Also, I’ve never asked anyone to “jiggle the handle.”
I kid about getting old. I graduated from Opelika High School 25 years ago, and, sadly, there are about 20 classmates that are no longer with us. At 43, I feel better than ever, and am grateful to God for each day.
My hair turning gray is simply a sign of maturity, and I’m fine with that. I need all the maturity I can get, but when I start craving buttermilk and cornbread in a glass each night for a late night snack, just go ahead and take me to the car dealership the next day to buy a Buick. That’s when you know you’re getting old.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at For more information, please visit