Saturday, March 15
Who has the oldest parent?
I was standing by the water cooler shooting the breeze with some co-workers when I happened to mention that my father would soon be celebrating his ninetieth birthday.
Franklin, from accounting, said "My Mom's going to be eight-seven next month".
Ella, the network tech, mentioned "My Dad will be eighty-nine in the Fall. He's so cute. He still says things like 'shooting the breeze'."
Nelson, my nemisis, pitched in with "My Dad will be ninety-three next week."
It was typical of Nelson to outdo everyone, so this came as no surprise.
"That's nice," I said, shamefully wishing my dad had been born just a couple of years earlier.
"He's sharp as a tack, too," said Nelson. "He actually came in today to meet me for lunch. Hey, Dad!" he hollered.
A tall, elderly man shuffled out of Nelson's office and down the hall. He had wisps of white hair exploding from various segments of his head and his skin consisted of wrinkled wrinkles. He moved slowly with the aid of a wooden cane, but he stood ramrod straight and his eyes were bright. He smiled pleasantly as he shook my hand.
"Jim here was just telling me that his father has a birthday coming up. He's going to be ninety," said Nelson. "Not quite as good as ninety-three, though, right, Dad?"
"Nope," said Nelson's father, "but ninety is pretty good, too."
"I think so," I said, defensively. "Once you reach ninety your actual age is just a number, really."
"Sure," said Nelson. "The only difference between a ninety year old father and a ninety-three year old father is that one is, let's see..." He mimed doing a calculation in his head."...three years older." He smiled and added, "Three years, Jim. Three years."
"Nelson," I sighed, "how did you get this way?"
"You know what's a funny thing?" said Nelson's father.
"What's that?" I asked.
"I think my father has a birthday coming up too."
"Oh, for crying out loud. Your father is still with us?" I was incredulous.
"Yep. And he's going to be a hundred and ten." He smiled and added, "A hundred and ten, Jim. A hundred and ten."