Playing Old

When it’s time for me to pretend I’ve grown old,
I’ve decided the most important thing
I’ll need to be able to do convincingly
is slow down.
I’ve begun practicing already, channeling the spirit
of the slug instead of the cheetah.
I don’t, however, mean I need only to move more slowly.
I’ll have to be able to fake doing all manner of things slower,
such as drive slower, eat slower, put on my clothes slower,
brush my teeth slower, and, of course, talk slower.
I’ve already mastered appearing to write and think much slower.
When you are trying to fool people into believing you’re old,
nothing involving timing in any way should be remotely fast.
I take that back. There’s one exception: falling asleep.
That you must practice doing more and more quickly.
The faster you can access the Land of Nod,
the more convincing will be your geriatric ruse.
And not only should I be able to fall asleep at will,
if I’m to appear genuinely aged,
but I should be able to do it anywhere, 24/7.
Well, not while I’m driving, perhaps, but everywhere else.
In front of the TV, in a theater, during church service,
or on the bus, if I’m practicing not being able to drive anymore.
It is a particularly desirable skill, I’ve observed, to be able to doze off
while you’re engaged in a conversation with someone.
Once you’ve mastered that one, no one will ever doubt that you have grown old.
But this can be a tricky senior citizen’s ability to master.
To wit, beware: Never allow conversational partners to believe their words are dull.
Should that happen, should they believe you’ve snoozed
because you’ve been bored into unconsciousness,
then do not be surprised to learn that you’re the one being gamed
by someone else who’s practicing to be old.

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