Line Dancing

There are just too many well-meaning folks that feel it is their civic duty to remind a fella of all the benefits of becoming a senior citizen. Now don’t get me wrong—I’ve got a lot of respect for old people and all this growing old gracefully chatter you hear going on these days. I just don’t happen to be one of those folks that have any interest in joining the ranks of the over the hill gang. People say not to pay any mind to growing old, age is only a state of mind they say, then they throw a party and fill a room full of old people just to remind a fella he’s about to enter the stark cold snowdrift of his life. For me this settling for senior citizen status is a slippery slope and I would just as soon not be celebrating a birthday with a cake so full of candles it sets off the sprinkler system at Giovanni’s Restaurante.

I see them every week—you can’t miss them—The Donner party mulling around in front of the Seniors Drop-In Centre headed for a three-block ride to the casino. Just like clockwork they hobble up the steps of a decommissioned school bus carrying their walkers to get their roll of quarters and a 99-cent plate of saturated fat—bacon, eggs, and potatoes fried in oil that failed to make it to the boiling point. It seems to me the government bureaucrats from Queens Park are in cahoots with the Ontario gaming people to eliminate as many unsuspecting seniors from the health care rolls as possible.

Being we are on the subject of the Seniors Drop-in Center, I got to tell you this honest to God true story. Just last week I made my first appearance at that elderly establishment to get some information about those electronic air mail courses that I hearwill fetch your mail without going out to the road. I figured I better get to learnin how to operate those new-fangled computers after hearin on the radio that my home delivery was about to come to an end. They were saying that the mail delivery people were going postal and the bureaucrats from Ottawa were having so much trouble with them they were going to have to eliminate them all together.

The young woman at the desk kindly made a phone call then directed me to a local learnin center a few blocks away. That would have been just fine, but before I could get out the door a well-meaning young missy rushes over and grabs me by the arm. Oh how I love it when they take me by the arm! “Hi Mr. Baker, you must be here for the $4.00 senior’s lunch?” Before I could get my mind in gear she proceeded to rush me down the hall into a room furnished with gymnasium tables long retired from some church basement. “Today we’re having cream of broccoli soup and cheese sandwiches,” she says, givin me a grin wider than a Cheshire cat. I look about the room—not a picture—not even the one with the old fella fallin asleep over his soup while saying the blessin. Thanks anyway I say; perhaps another day as I head towards the door just as fast as my little arthritic legs would carry me. Sitting in my pick-up, I took a deep breath. My God, she thinks I’m one of them. I sped off, around the corner up East Street and had me a chicken on a bun deluxe at Muio’s restaurant as I tried to get the thought of one of those sweet old ladies reaching over my shoulder slopping mayonnaise on my cheese sandwich.

I drove by again this morning and happened to spot the sign they got poking out onto Bay Street—Belly dancing classes—sign up today. My brain went to sputtering like water in a hot frying pan as I conjured visions of my aunt Flossy with a halter-top, wearin silk pantaloons jiggling her belly like there was no tomorrow. I had to shake my head a few of times to get rid of that distressing vision.

This senior citizen business is enough to drive a man to distraction. Just the other night I was bringing this little sweetheart I met walking the boardwalk to the movies. “Two adults I said as I handed the cashier a $20. Bill. Oh, Mr. Baker you know, you always get the seniors discount.” That’s the kind of thing I’m talkin about. Damn, after hearing that I could have crawled under the popcorn machine. Anyway before the night was over it didn’t seem to make any difference to the little darlin who plainly took a liking to the old fella and invited me over to her apartment to put on a nightcap.

I have learned, never, I mean never! Go shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart on Thursdays. I circle it on my calendar and write it down on my not-to-do list. I never suspected a thing last week when I was sideswiped standing in the checkout line. This far too enthusiastic young cashier couldn’t be more than fourteen, hollers out so that everyone clear over to the pharmacy could hear. “This is you’re your lucky day Mr. Baker you get the 15% seniors discount…you just saved eighty five cents. She never asked for a senior’s card or anything—no, just like that she just took it for granted that I was one of them. I pasted on a smile and politely wished her a nice day—the kind old fella that I am. I was thinking have a nice day all-right—have a nice day somewhere else.

Line dancing, I almost forgot, that’s the title of this here story of mine. The way I see it this line-up kind of dancing without a partner is only a shuffle or two away from the bird dance, which I firmly believe is a major cause of dementia. Beware of the Trojan horse I say—line-up dancing, free coffee at Mickey D’s, free checking at your local bank, sunshine tours and free medication from Pfizer pharmaceuticals. Believe me—Johnny Baker—No one knows the day or the hour, but when you see things happening—surely the end is near. Till next time and another story keep your foot a tappin and your hands a clappin… this is Johnny Baker signing off.

Johnny Baker

© 2014



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