You know you’re old when you stop putting butter on your roll. You know you’re old when you go for the dark meat on the turkey, instead of the white. And don’t care if it’s jellied cranberry or preserves.
You’re old when you dry between your toes after every shower. You know you’re old when you forget . . . things. You’re old when you no longer unscrew your Oreo when you open it. Old when the brilliant notes you wrote the night before make no sense in the morning. And the thought of cotton candy makes your teeth hurt. You know you’re old when your mother no longer laughs at all your jokes. You really know you’re old when nobody fights over that last cookie. You’re old when you gotta worry about dental flossing every day.
You know you’re young when your mother still doesn’t get most of your jokes. You know you’re young when you can still drink soda. You’re young when you can still change diapers, including the poops. Especially the poops.
You’re still young when you can still carry around those bellowing beasts (your children and grandchildren). And even let the babies scream so close to your ear when you pick them up. You know you’re young when you still care about which direction the wind is blowing. Or if you care about whether your ice skates are sharpened. You know you’re young if you still like a lot of ketchup. You’re still young if you haven’t had to fly on too many airplanes. Or haven’t been audited.
Or if you haven’t broken a bone or been in a trial, you still officially qualify as young.
You know you’re old when you get up first in your house every morning. You know you’re old when you’d rather serve someone breakfast in bed than get breakfast in bed. When you take all the long day through on Christmas Day to open your presents? And, oh yes, when you can make chocolate last in your mouth ‘til it melts? That’s old, pal.
Young is picking up after kids. Young is bending over 12,367 times a day for kids. Young is having kids. How else could you ever do it? Except being stupid enough to be young in the first place.
Did I cover young is picking up after your kids yet . . . and it never stops?
You know you’re old when you have to worry about schools in different ways than in the past? When insurance is a meaningful word. You know you’re old when dog food begins to look no different than cat food.
You’re old when trash has become a significant force in your life. And when cuts take forever to heal.
When you are young, you still go swimming. When you are old, your sailing buddy turns to you at a party and says “How are you fixed for diapers?” You know you’re still young when you can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.
You know you’re old when everyone in the room — including you — is talking about deductibles. You know you’re still young when your parents are talking about eating Rocky Mountain Oysters or scrapple for breakfast back in day, and you could care less. Old is when you’re on a first name basis with the pharmacist.
You also know you’re old when you’ve survived all these brutal New England winters. But, above all, you know you’re young when you still live in Gloucester.
Gloucester resident Gordon Baird is an actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine and producer of “The Chicken Shack” community access TV show.