What’s with the limp, all of a sudden?
I dunno when it began — years ago, I think — but I’m doing the Glosta Limp. I’m 63 and I had a hip replaced a while back, also broke a foot on one side and tore a liggy on the other,- all within the last few years. They mostly healed, but were replaced by the Glosta Limp.
That means I’ve joined just about every other male over 55 on the streets, at the gas pumps, in Liquor Locka, down on the waterfront. There doesn’t seem to be anyone over a certain age — and even some younger guys — without it.
It’s very rhythmic, kind of Igor-ish, totally unconscious and a natural roll down the sidewalk. Kids and dogs and baby carriages give way, as if we were completely out-of-control and a menace to be huddled from until we have passed, but we don’t take up any more room than anyone else. We just look like it.
We limpers don’t even think about it either. On we go, getting the train down the track every day. The limp is just part of the deal.
My wife is horrified, as if it really hurt or something — or that it made me feel as bad as I look (to her).
What is she so worried about? Popeye had a limp, so did Frankenstein, Bruce Springsteen, the entire NFL, half the City Council, George Bush, the Bruins, most of my church and also the guy in front of me buying gas in East Gloucester. Plus, just about everyone else around town who works, carries, hauls, chops, fishes, sails, drives a truck or ever tried running.
I have also noticed a decent percentage of old guys around town — over 60, that is — who have decided to let their hair grow. It’s a very Founding Father look, Ben Franklin, Mount Rushmore, etc. so one can see why they/we do it. I admit to letting the curls cascade down the back ‘o the neck lately — sort of an “I’m old and I’m outta control” kind of statement, I guess. But it does feel good in a tribal, let’s-hunt-buffalo way.
I’ve noticed that long hair exposed to the sun, even for an over 60-er, turns bright blond in a very natural way. Woo hoo, instant youth!
I’ve also noticed that guys with more hair get grey sooner than those who are balding up top but still have hair on the edges. Ha, revenge of the bald guys! And they can still convert sunlight into happy hair, no matter the color, in the back.
However, there is another old guy trait I’ve noticed that is not so obvious but worth reporting. Seems to me that we old guys have to guard against the tendency now to just want to stay at home in our lair and burrow in by ourselves. Have we all been watching the Red Sox or Patriots by ourselves at night? Huddling in the living room with our various glasses of poison, yelling, howling and cursing at the TV, having sports conversations with ourselves? Less and less do “the guys” get together these days to watch, as in the recent old days.
It’s much more fun to watch and dissect games with fellow fans, but it seems every guy is afraid the wife will be put off their regular TV routine and demur on watching the games. Makes for a lot of different TV’s on in a lot of different houses.
Spouses, however, don’t usually mind someone over to watch the game. Half the time, the spouse is watching something else in another room or just plain reading or gone to bed — as the old guys slump down in their chairs to root alone.
So we might be old, limping, long-haired, and isolated . . . but at least we’re World Series champs.
Hurrah for all the incredible action, you wonderful underdog Red Sox. I’ve been to 3 Red Sox World Series games now - all winners (Game 6, 1975, Game 2, 2007 and Game 1 this year). Hurrah for old Red Sox fans, with our limps, bad backs and the billowing Founding Father hair. Hurrah even for getting old!
The alternative is way worse. In heaven . . . they’re all Red Sox fans. In the other place, they root for the Yanks.
Gordon Baird is a local actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine, and producer of “the Chicken Shack” community access TV show.