So, here’s me jogging in the park by my house. I’m feeling good. I check out my shadow in the morning sun. Looking good too. Standing tall, arms pumping. Then a guy passes me. Walking. Well, not just strolling, kind of speed walking. Ha! I shout at the guy, “Hey buddy! Slow down, you’re messing with my mind.” He looks back, grins, lifts his hat, releasing a tumble of gray hair. Geez, we gotta give each other a break, us oldsters.

Reminds me of a time, late 60’s, doing Scotland on $5.00 a day. Me and my buddy were climbing Ben Nevis. There was a trail and all, but still, it was a mountain. We felt badass, like we were on our way to the Matterhorn. Then we heard whistling. A woman in a dress and high heels, cruised on past us. What do you tell yourself?

So, this park where I jog (ok, slog) has a pickleball court. Me and my buddy, Al, play once a week. He’s 75 to my 80. But I out-nimble him, zooming all over the court, shagging bloop shots over my head, charging the net. But, okay, I tell myself, in the name of self-honesty let’s videotape my game. Do like the football games and see some replays of my speed and finesse. I get my grandson, TJ, to show up with his video camera and tripod. He sets up back at the fence so it’s facing me. He drops his raised finger and we’re rolling. I’m feeling pretty good out there, rocking my best moves like I was making a recruiting film for college scouts. After the first game, I wipe my sweaty brow and we all sit on the bench for the instant replay.

My first thought was that TJ had recorded me in slow motion, like when they have a challenge in a football game and they show the player moving like he has arthritis plodding one step at a time just inside the sideline. Only TJ was recording in real time. Damn. And to add insult to injury, Al pipes up with, “Whoa, nice shot of your backhand. That’s you, man.”

So, my advice, if you want to keep feeling good about yourself:

1. Don’t play sports with anyone more than five years younger than yourself.

2. Don’t ask for your spouse’s clear-eyed assessment. She’s liable to give it.

3. No videos.

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