It’s my birthday later this week. Given the title of this post, you may want to hazard a guess as to how old I’ll be….
Well done. Did you immediately think of the classic Beatles song from Sergeant Pepper?
Sergeant Pepper came out in 1967 (fiftieth anniversary next year: how scary is that?), when I was a mere lad of 15. Back then, being 64 years old was almost unimaginable. Of course, I knew people who had attained this ripe old age: I had a full complement of grandparents for a start, but I could never imagine getting that far myself. Although, to be fair, I probably didn’t give the matter much thought.
When you’re a 15 year old boy you tend to have other, more pressing things on your mind. Like ‘O’-levels and…stuff.
Now, though, I find myself having (almost) negotiated the intervening 49 years more or less succesfully and largely intact (a few of the teeth didn’t make it, but have been replaced with superior versions) and it set me thinking about how the reality of being 64 compares to the rather quaint picture sketched in Paul McCartney’s lyrics.
Unless you’re of a certain age (i.e. mine) you may need a reminder of those words. Come to think of it, when you’re 64 you need a reminder about most things.
It would be more than a little dull to reproduce these lyrics in their entirety, although if you want to check up on them, they can be found here. Rather, I thought it might be interesting to pick out their most salient points and see how they’ve turned out for me.
‘When I get older, losing my hair’ Thankfully not. It’s genetic.
‘If I’d been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door?’ Quarter to three? in the morning? At my age? You must be joking. Best not to risk it anyway.
‘I could be handy mending a fuse’ Only if you’ve got a death wish.
‘We shall scrimp and save’ Bugger that for a lark, Been there, done that. Life’s too short – especially if you’re 64.
‘Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight’ The only time I’ve been to the Isle of Wight was for the Festival in 1970. I’m sure it’s lovely, but it doesn’t feature in my travel plans.
So there are half a dozen lines of the song that don’t apply to me. However, there are others that actually chime pretty well:
‘Sunday mornings go for a ride’ Quite possibly, at least in the summer months. All those fêtes des fleurs and vide-greniers won’t mooch round themselves, after all.
‘Grandchildren on your knee’ I’ve certainly had grandchildren on my knee (which you would never imagine when you’re 15). Although they’re not called Vera, Chuck or Dave.
‘Indicate precisely what you mean to say’ Always a good idea.
‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me?’ So far, so good. Phew.
And here’s the one that nails it:
‘Who could ask for more?’ Indeed.