It’s no secret that men love to talk about how old they’re getting. Every new creak in my step, every new crack in my back, and every new crick in my neck is a notch in my belt. It’s a war wound. “I am old!” my bones yell. “Hear me roar!”

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But those cracks and pops only account for physical aging. There are some men out there whose bodies are old but whose minds are young. Until recently, I believed that I was one of them.

So, how do you know when you’ve reached Old Man status? Sure, there are physical qualifications, but when are you there mentally? After all, 90% of the game is half mental, or something.

Setting the Stage for My First “Old Man” Symptoms

A little thing happened the other day. Sure, all my joints popped as usual when I got out of bed in the morning. My grunts and groans accompanied their staccato percussion. I may have let out a little toot? Overall, it was a very musical affair.

So far, so normal as far as signs of aging. But mentally? Mentally, I was laser-focused and razor-sharp. No signs of mental aging at all.

Oh, except that I’m a dad. With my three kids running around like hooligans, I must have gotten distracted from the obvious signs of oncoming Old Man Syndrome.

The True Stages of Mental Geezerhood

After I left the house that day, I drove down the main street in my town with my car windows down.

I was not playing “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” by the Geto Boys. I can prove it: I could hear what was going on around me.

Through my open window, I overheard three girls who couldn’t be much older than 13. They were talking like sailors and dropping a bunch of “S-bombs.”

“Check that s**t out!” one girl said.

“Holy s**t!” said the others said.

My first thought was, “watch your language, young ladies!”

Definite Old Man move. As far as symptoms of Old Man Syndrome go, demanding propriety from a group of wayward youths is up there.

Although there is no cure for Old Man Syndrome, it was the first time I caught myself doing it. I’m still in the early stages, and I have a lot of time left before it gets unmanageable. Nevertheless, I figure I’m a Stage 1 Old Man now.

I’m pretty sure the stages of Old Man Syndrome go something like this when encountering younger generations:

STAGE 1: In Stage 1, the subject thinks Old Man thoughts such as:

  • ”Quiet down!”
  • “Watch your language!”
  • “Where’s my Ensure!?”

STAGE 2: In Stage 2, the subject thinks and says things like:

  • ”Quiet down!”
  • “Watch your language!”
  • “Where’s my Ensure!?”

STAGE 3: Stage 3 is identical to Stages 1 and 2, but the subject exhibits further physical symptoms, including a shaking fist, a wagging finger, and a stern glare.

Additionally, the subject may begin muttering complex, advanced phrases, such as:

  • “Why aren’t you in school?”
  • “Where are your parents?”
  • “Not in my day!”

STAGE 4: DEATH. There are no alternatives.

Anyway, I didn’t know how to handle their language. I mean, obviously, the right response was to mind my own business. I did, but only through great consternation and willpower. Remaining silent wasn’t very Old Man of me, but believe me, I’m getting there.

I guess it’s just that now that I’m in Stage 1, whenever someone runs around, chucking “S-bombs” left and right, it really chaps my jimmies.

Maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit.

Read some other of our wonderful, sometimes gross, and mostly truthful blogs here:

7 Survival Tips for New and Expecting Dads

Secret Dad Hack: Pick Your Battles

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