Jon Dawson is officially old

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

If you live long enough you’re going to get old. No matter how many gallons of vitamins, Botox or penguin venom you ingest, rust never sleeps.

Admittedly I’ve yet to experience any major issues related to the growing number of tiny torches on my cake. Sure there’s so much snow on my head that we had to install a ski lift, but what’s the big deal about gray hair? Young people are so bored these days that some of them purposefully dye their hair gray.

As soon as elective arthritis injections are available legions of hipsters will create a new economy based around decorative walkers that feature solar-powered phone chargers and BENGAY flavored gummies.

Check out the red-tag sale going on at Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

Until recently, I was considered a middle-aged guy with old man tendencies. I still enjoy loud music, but whenever a thump-mobile drives by rattling every building within a four-mile radius and three of the seven tectonic plates, I fantasize about the driver being duct-taped to the muffler of a Kenworth just leaving Kinston on its way to San Francisco. 

Another warning sign of my ageitude (not a typo) popped up just a few months ago. I witnessed someone leave a shopping cart in a parking lot when the cart receptacle was only 10 feet away. If it were within my power the perpetrator would’ve been deported to Siberia.

You may think returning a shopping cart is a minor issue, but it’s a warning sign of societal breakdown. 

If no one tells this group of dunderpates to return the carts, they’ll feel they are behaving correctly. The next thing you know these same people are carrying on conversations with their phone set to “speaker” while you’re in the checkout line. Nothing compares to trying to carry out a transaction while the person behind you is arguing with their cousin over whose turn it is to make Cheez-Whiz-Khalifa casserole for the 4th of July picnic. 

Avoid the box store blues with a visit to Blizzard Building Supply, located at 405 Walson Avenue, Kinston.

Since leaving home eliminates your ability to control your environment, the only way to combat the mental mortar shells being lobbed at you from the enemy is to outmaneuver them. Need me to go to the grocery store? I’ll be there when they open. When I’m in a store that early I’m surrounded by others who are up with the sun in an effort to do their business and retreat safely to home base before the people who take 36-minutes to order at a drive-thru slither from their primordial pods. 

While recently in the check-out line at Aldi, an older gentleman wearing shorts, black socks up to his knees and black loafers asked if I’d like to jump ahead of him in line.

“You’ve got only two items young man,” he said. “I have a cart full. Go on ahead of me.”

I thanked him at least three times and offered to help him to his car with his groceries.

“I appreciate it but I can handle it,” he said. 

This outstanding individual finally made me realize I was officially old. Let me explain. 

Our beloved Tax Deduction #2 is on a local swim team. The Wife had taken her to practice on Monday, so I was taking the Wednesday shift. I took a change of clothes to work since the practice takes place at an outdoor pool. Being busier than a funeral home fan in August, I forgot my tennis shoes, sneakers, athletic footwear, or whatever they’re being called this week.

I didn’t realize I’d forgotten the tennis shoes until I’d changed out of my Don Draper uniform and into my shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Being faced with the dilemma of either having to put the work clothes back on (to match my black dress shoes) or walk to the car dressed in a short-sleeved shirt, shorts and black dress shoes, I realized this is the point during the TV movie version of my life story where the orchestra would swell and the actor playing me would stare dimly into the distance. 

Up until a few years ago, I may have thrown the suit back on, but something changed inside me. I don’t know if it was the kindness bestowed upon me by the man wearing the black dress shoes and shorts at Aldi, or simply the passage of time. Either way, I decided to walk out in public wearing shorts and black dress shoes. 

Walking through the parking lot to my car that day, I felt liberated. I’d broken the final link in the chain to my long-dissolved youth and embraced being old. I’m not sure if the aged have one of those delightful chants that emerge at rallies, but we need one. “We’re here, we’re old, stop running your leaf blower on Saturday mornings!” – or something along those lines.

Aside from the tendency to nod off if I get too still in a recliner, everything’s pretty much the same as it ever was. I’m sure decrepitude will eventually win the day, but for now, it’s parked a few feet over the county line. I’m now going to drink a spinach/blueberry/banana smoothie and walk a couple of miles to keep it at bay, but I’m having trouble deciding which shoes to wear.

Jon Dawson’s books are available at

The entire Bryan Hanks Show archive can be found at

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

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