'Grow Old Disgracefully'
Make your morning prayer the sign
of the cross, and give two fingers
to the stuff which weighs you down.
Light up under a ‘no smoking’ sign.
Sit outside the Cathedral where the
down-and-outs gather and treat them
to a cup of tea and a beef burger.
Drink two cups of peppermint tea
after Christmas dinner and don’t
be embarrassed by your windy
emissions. Be grateful for washing
machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners,
light bulbs, microwaves, electric kettles,
your senior citizen bus pass, false
teeth, spectacles, thermal underwear,
bed socks, slippers, hot water bottles,
duvets, clean sheets, colour television,
music centres, radio, hot dinners, cups
of tea, mobile phones, internet, hair dye,
legs which can still walk, hands you
can hold, chubby babies you can cuddle,
friends you can talk to and family you
can love and worry about.
Do something you have always dreamed
of doing but never thought you would.
Talk to foreigners, learn to say ‘hello’ in
their language. Walk in unfamiliar places,
get lost and ask someone to point you to
the nearest café. Sit at an occupied table
and start a conversation with strangers.
Go up in a hot air balloon. Engage cold
callers in conversation until you bore them
with the trivia of your life and they slam
the phone down on you. Rage against
bureaucracy. Shoot water pistols at your
grandchildren. Take them to the fair,
ride with them on dodgem cars, buy them
chips, toffee apples, ice creams, candy floss
and fizzy drinks. When they feel sick take
them home to their parents. Turn the tables
on your kids; strategically place your half-
drunk cup of coffee on the floor of their
living room so that someone can kick it
over. Always tell them you love them
and hug them before you leave.
by Norah Hanson, from Sparks
(£7.99 paperback, £2.99 Kindle)
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