“Cursed With Good Health”

Roger Clark
July 2024

I don’t feel old. I don’t act old. I don’t even look old, when I see that guy in the mirror and don’t sound old when I talk about cabovers, pay phones, doo-wop music, or three-in-the-tree transmissions. 

I’m very active, climbing the walls, running for cover, and jumping to conclusions, but most of the time I’m right. Or could be right. I ride a bike for exercise and don’t laugh just because it’s a 900-pound Honda Goldwing. 

I do wake up grouchy, even when she’d rather sleep because I lie awake all night memorizing my lines on the teleprompter. It’s tougher than you think. Even the most powerful man on earth and leader of the free world—that would be Casey, my guy at the bank on Main Street—has difficulty finishing the flashing words.

The truth is, I am old. I am slowing down. I am growing more impatient by the day with graduation ceremonies, incorrect weather forecasts, and computer programming. Between college kids with no sense of decorum and TV weather guys who can’t see the five-minute future, Susan can write my obituary in the time it takes me to type a new password. 

Most of my life, I’ve managed to avoid serious ills, injury, and political strife. Thanks to paved streets, good weather, great friends, and fair winds, my health has been plagued with boredom except for the annual detour to an Emergency Room. 

I did give blood recently, but only because a car door slammed on my finger. It wasn’t funny when it left the cab of my truck looking like a crime scene, but the nurse did laugh when I showed her which digit it was. 

I’ll still pass a DOT drug screen, anytime you wanna throw one my way, but now there are more drugs on my nightstand than on the corner of 5th and Broadway. My drugs are legal, of course, but the price of Farxiga should be a crime. But it’s probably okay because the pharmacist has yacht payments just like I do.

But now, close to seventy years of age, I have more ologists on the near sideline than your Minnesota Vikings. Cardiologist, Ophthalmologist, Urologist, and now even a Nephrologist, which sounds like my brother’s son, but it’s not. It has to do with kidneys, but I’m not clear if they’re mine or his. Along with my primary physician, who is a Doctor of Osteopathy, (whatever that is), I could hold a convention for the American Medical Association in my living room. 

There’s no secret—and no choice—to growing older, but what we can do is make the best of it. My mother was 90 when she rode in my Peterbilt and bragged about it for five more years. My best friend turns 92 this month, has prayed for me a thousand times, and yelled at me only once. I was looking at a Ford that day and, well, we’re still laughing about it 25 years later.

Sunday, we went out for lunch with a friend from church, and she’s everything not to like. Marilyn loves to argue, hates to drive, tolerates Republicans, and believes truckers should work only at night. She even gets feisty when I threaten to beat her up, and she’s not harmless, but she is 97. 

But wait. She’s also a private pilot with her own planes and flies off a grass runway behind her hanger. And here’s the best part. She has a 50-year safety record, documented by the Federal Aviation Administration. We never would have met, had we not relocated to Kansas, and couldn’t have come here without the trucks.

Trucking has been good for us, even at night, and especially now in the third half of life!