So, there I was, minding my own business, trying my best to be cool with this getting old stuff, when the age fairy snuck up behind me, and whacked me upside the head with the old coot stick.

What was it this time, Craig?

Well, I decided since I’ve reached full retirement age, I’d apply for Social Security. To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be this kind of ordeal, but in the process of doing the online application, it hit me. This was it. My final rite of passage. Your first kiss, your graduation, your wedding, you get a column, you sign up for Social Security and then you die. (I think that’s in the Bible somewhere …) No sir. I cannot hide from it any longer. I’ve officially graduated from geezer to coot. (The only two steps left from here are slobber monkey and finally, corpse. Again, I believe that’s in the Bible. Or maybe I saw it in a (unnecessarily perverse) fortune cookie from Panda Express.)

I get it, Craig, you’re old, but this is a bit dramatic, even for you. Think of happy things …

OK. Let’s see: At least I’m not as old as Mick Jagger; he just turned 78. Paul McCartney is 79. Bob Dylan is 80, and Joni Mitchell is 77. Look at them. Sure, the lot of them look like the age fairy whacked them especially hard with the old coot/biddy stick, but they’re still kickin’. Heck yeah! If they can handle the blunt head trauma known as aging, why can’t I? I was feeling MUCH better.

But then it hit me again. Those people are rock stars. Icons. I’m just a pathetic old coot. And yet again, I was lost in my legendary geriatric self-pity. And then, all of a sudden, as if from the Almighty Himself, came the story of a feud between two ancient coot rock stars.

That’s right. A “rock star feud,” recently broke out between Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, 71 and former Van Halen front man, David Lee Roth, 66.

It seems Roth was the opening act for Kiss’s “End of the Road Tour,” until the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and they had to postpone. But when the tour recently resumed, Roth was no longer the opening act. (Much to the chagrin of Roth’s aging female audience, who were so looking forward to chucking granny panties onto the stage. Things that make you go, “Eww!”) No details are available as to the exact reason behind the rift, but the “feud” began when Stanley accused Roth being a pathetic old man in a radio interview, and Roth responded by posting 18 pictures of a kid giving the finger on Instagram. The race to determine who is more pathetic is an emphatic ...

Tie.

Back in the day, these guys were something. Women wanted them; men wanted to be them. Throngs of people jammed into arenas, just to catch a glimpse of their rock and roll magic. And then sex, drugs and rock and roll got fussy, and needed a pathetic old coot fussy nap.

It’s sad, really. Had you told me when I was young that there’d be a feud between Van Halen and Kiss, I’d at the very least expect a good old fashioned, coot slap fight. (Says the guy who’s desperate to witness a good old fashioned coot slap fight, but not willing in any way to participate in one.) Or at least be a bit more creative. You know, wrestle in a kiddie pool full of Jack Daniels and milk of magnesia, or challenge each other to the First Annual Ancient Rock Star Coot Wal Mart Scooter Race. Winner gets to pathetically pretend he’s young a bit longer, while the other has to publicly admit his best days are far, far behind him. Next year’s race could be between Keith Richards, 77, (He’s still alive?) and the Who’s Roger Daltry, also 77. (No, seriously, they’re still alive?!)

A former co-worker put all this best, when she observed, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” Aging requires fortitude and courage. But as aging rockers Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth have shown, it doesn’t necessarily require dignity.

So, yeah. I’m pathetically old, but I ain’t THAT pathetically old. I feel a lot better. (I’m sure you were worried …)

Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.

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