Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A (Gray) Heads Up

     So there I was, a passenger in a friend’s car, when she pulled up behind another driver in the fast lane. He didn’t get over, so she had to pass him on the right. Glancing over at the other driver, she saw his gray hair and muttered derisively, “Old guy.” It made me want to reach for the Grecian Formula.
     Some 10,000 people are turning 65 every day, a statistic that’s expected to hold for the next 10 years. Old guys (or gals). A lot of them. On the road. Not such a good thing for motoring in general.
     Oh sure, you probably haven’t had a ticket in years. You pride yourself on your driving skills. But the unavoidable fact is that those skills tend to deteriorate along with the rest of your body as you age. By the time you’re in your 80s, your accident rate will be roughly equivalent to that of the terrible teens. By that time, it may be wise for you to consider hanging up the ol’ license. Sad, but true.
     In the interim, though, there’s something you can do.
     First, be aware of your increasing shortcomings.
     Second, try checking out the AAA website for seniors: It offers all sorts formats for fine-tuning your skills, from quizzes to videos and slide shows. There even are brain exercises designed to decrease your risk of accidents, plus guides to comfort and safety behind the wheel and even an online driver-safety course. The best part: It’s all free. You don’t have to join AAA to take advantage.
     I don’t think I’ll try to hide my age with Grecian Formula. But neither do I want to be the aging dude in the fast lane, either oblivious to the traffic behind him or so self-righteous about obeying the speed limit that he appoints himself lane monitor. Those folks give the rest of us a bad name: “Old Guy.”
     Don’t let that be you.

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