You know you’re getting old when they offer ‘free cremation’ instead of free vacation

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There I was, looking nice, the Whittle Way, just after inserting false teeth to take a bite of another gloriously beautiful day...ABOVE GROUND!!!

But that was before I opened the day's mail.

You know you're getting old when??? open a letter, inviting you to register for cremation.

Darn, I recognize my advancing age, to wit, 68 loooong eventful years on this planet. But, I didn't think I looked ready for to be fired up and then, sizzled and fried.

But if I do choose cremation, I want it specified 'sunny side up'!! if you get my drift.

First though, I required my newest pair of store-bought reading spectacles to ascertain they had the right man at the right address.

As the lettering slowly came in focus, the parcel was addressed to Dan Whittle, at the right street address in the right town and state.

You know you're getting old, require a magnifying glass to read the fine print of the advertisement for cremation.

Until I took out the magnifying class, I thought they were advertising a free vacation. Instead, it was to register for a potential free cremation.

"Whoopee, dog poo poo," was my first gloomy-glee-less reaction to this crematorical offer.

The offer of a 'free cremation' is the only thing I can think of being less appealing than a painful 'free hemorrhoid' surgical procedure. Not to be accused of being an old male chauvinist pig, but they could have just as aptly named them 'herorrhoids'!! But, that's an idea for a possible future column.

The cremation offer continued: "With everyone moving around, placing a loved one in a local cemetery may not be as functional as it used to be...folks are finding that a meaningful service can be held without the need of a fancy and expensive funeral allows families to conduct a simple personal service at their own convenience."

First, I don't want my loved ones and close friends scooting through with a "simple service at their own convenience."

Death ain't 'convenient' for those involved personally!!

If my family wants

convenient, why not just plant me in a gloomy old used Glad Bag, and be done with it.

You know you're getting old, when??? lose a new set of $750 false teeth somewhere near Miller's Grocery Restaurant in the heart of downtown Christiana. It really happened, not that all my stories ain't true.

Next time, you're dining and/or using the rest room at Miller's, look up over your right shoulder while on the throne, you'll find an entire newspaper column asking folks to be on the lookout for my lost dentures. But if found in a rest room, I don't think I want them returned.

You know you're getting old, when??'re on a military news assignment covering the war in Bosnia, and happen to get a thorough look at one's body in a hotel room's eight-way mirror.

That shocking first comprehensive look all around my seriously-sagging body was the first hint of how old I was looking, and that was back in the mid- 1990s. I couldn't count the sags, much less the wrinkles.

Plus, it drove home this reality: I was too damn old to be a foreign war correspondent in an active war zone where the Serbs were firing 'for real' bullets.

You know you're getting old, when??...a good friend named Demos, about my own age, is scheduled soon to have new teeth implanted, in a modern-day dental procedure. Obviously, they've come a long way since someone 'whittled' out a wooden-set of false teeth for first U.S. President George Washington!!

You know you're getting old, when?? can remember what the "S" stood for in President Harry S. Truman's name?

Will Rogers said this about aging: "We could certainly slow the aging process if it had to work its way through Congress..." Winston Churchhill stated profoundly: "Don't worry about avoiding temptation as you grow older. It will avoid you."

I'd finish this column, but I have to take my daily nap...yawn!!

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