Tuesday, June 20, 2006

100 Year Olds

100 Year Olds

How many 100 year olds got pissed off when Al Roker took over Willard Scott's every day role on The Today Show?

How many get doubly pissed when Willard Scott shows up to do a day of the whether, because Al's off, but that day is 2 days before their 100th birthday?

In my life, I've met 2 people that were 100 years old.

Before I name them off, though, I want to give honorable mention to an old guy named Obed, who worked as a greeter at the Goodwill in Murfreesboro. Funny guy. Any time anybody asked him how he was, he'd say "Kickin' high but slow." He went to his first Major League Baseball game in 1999, at the age of 98. He died in 2000, a couple weeks shy of birthday number 100. I don't think the baseball game had much to do with it.

One century-mark reacher was 101. She was still fairly active and mobile, although she wasn't allowed to drive by her children, much to her chagrine. It struck me as funny one day to realize that I didn't think her children, the oldest of which was 82, should have been driving, either. She was a regular customer at the Goodwill store in Murfreesboro. I had a feeling she could give most people in that store a run for their money in a fair fight.

The other was 106, and he lived in a nursing home that, as a Cub Scout, we went to sing Christmas Carols to every year. Technically, he was 104 the first time we met him. And he wasn't very mobile. The nurses would show him off like some kind of museum exhibit. "Jesse McFadden is 106 years old!" they would say. They'd tell us all to say hello to him, and we would. To me, for all the reaction we got, it felt a lot like greeting a piece of furniture. I'd have kept thinking that, except that one Christmas, he blinked while we sang "Away in a Manger," and I don't know many pieces of furniture that blink.

Upon further thought, I've decided that singing to that guy was like singing to a fish in a fishbowl. People came by to look at him, feed him now and then, and he just went on about his business (which seemed to consist muchly of breathing in a labored sort of way, and staring at the ceiling). He was much like a fish.

So today, in order to reenact the BSTommy experience, I want you to find a fish in a bowl or a tank (you can go to a pet store or a Wal Mart if you need to), and I want you to sing a Christmas Carol to that fish. And pretend that fish is a 100 year old human.

It's just about the same thing.

And I don't think that guy would have been pissed if Willard Scott didn't say Hello on the Today show. Unless you count his probable inability to control his bladder, and then who can say it was Willard Scott that caused it?


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