Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's official. I'm an old coot.

When you get to be my age (206), it's inevitable to have an old-coot moment. It's when you realize that just about everybody you know is younger than you.

It usually starts with people in authority. One day you notice you're like 1,000 years older than your doctor, your pharmacist, your letter carrier and that 12-year-old policeman riding his bicycle through your neighborhood. You know, the guy with the helmet, the gun and the baseball cards in the spokes?

None of those lit the light bulb for me. Like most guys, I just continue pretending I'm still 18 and leave it at that. Fantasy is a wonderful aid to mental health.

No, for me, it wasn't the kids' teachers or the motor vehicle clerks, the cable guy or the President of the United States.

It was Dr. McCoy.

When I was a kid, watching Star Trek, DeForest Kelley was older than my dad. By nine full years. In my mind, he was always the old doctor, aging along with the Star Trek franchise. I hadn't given DeForest Kelly a thought in years. I'm not much of a Trekkie. Liked the original series (most of it), never got into any of the new series and thought most of the movies were disappointing. (Though I did like Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto's reprise of Kirk and Spock on the big screen.)

So when the original Star Trek popped up on my Netflix, I thought - hey, that would be fun. The garish sets, makeup and costumes. (Acid-trip colors were the way to go in 1966, when color TV was brand-spankin' new.) The bizarre props. (Remember the salt shakers?) The camera tricks. The creators' vision of 23rd-century electronics, all obsolete by about 1980. And Bill Shatner's inimitable 60s TV style. It's a kick.

Then Kelley showed up. And I my inner coot came of age. Holy crap! I'm older than Bones!

Kelley was 46 when the show originally aired. Even the old doctor is younger than I. And he was the eldest member of the original cast, IMDB tells me. Gee, thanks. Pretty soon he'll look like those one of those kinder-cops on a bike.

It's OK, not all is lost. I may be older than most of the world. But there's one demographic I can depend on to keep my young man fantasy alive. At least for a few more years.

There's always the Supreme Court.

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