Senioritis takes on a whole new meaning

I used to look skeptically at people who claimed they were having “a senior moment.”
I thought it was a way of making excuses for being disorganized or laughing off a mental mix-up.
Now, the closer I get to 50, the better I understand what they mean.
Take last week, for example.
On Monday, I went to the meeting of the Rio Blanco County Commission. I took some photos at the meeting to go with a future story in the newspaper. That afternoon, I received an e-mail from Pat Hooker, county administrator, asking if I was missing a lens cap for my camera. I checked in my backpack where I keep the camera and, sure enough, no lens cap.
I sent an e-mail thanking Pat for recovering my lens cap and made a comment about my increasing forgetfulness.
His reply wasn’t very encouraging.
“Hey, I have news for you,” Pat said. “It doesn’t get any better the older you get.”
Even now, sometimes I will be in mid-conversation, and my mind goes blank and I forget what I was saying. It makes me wonder what it will be like 10 years from now.
Earlier that same day, when I forget the lens cap, I had spent a good part of the morning rummaging around my office trying to find my notes for an ad that was to run in the paper. I had misplaced the notes, and it was driving me crazy not being able to locate them. I ended up having to call the advertiser, who, thankfully, was very understanding.
I never did find the notes with the ad copy. That is, until two days later when I happened to turn over a piece of paper and, bingo, there they were. I had written the ad copy on the back page of some other handwritten notes.
Then, last Friday, I received a phone call from another advertiser asking why her ad had not appeared in the newspaper the last two weeks.
I could have sworn I had turned in the insertion order, which is the form we use for ads that run in the newspaper. So, once again, I rummaged around the office, trying to find the missing insertion order. I never did find the insertion order.
However, based on the way things have been going, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up in a couple of days.
Thankfully, once again, the advertiser was understanding. You know, I’m beginning to see how these “senior moments” may have their advantages. They can be used to cover any number of screw-ups.
Now, if only I could find the pair of gloves and my favorite red pen I misplaced.
n n n
After writing about my lack of cooking skills, I noticed I started receiving curious looks from people who see me shopping at the grocery store.
As one woman told me, “Now, I want to look in your cart to see what you are buying.”
I was in the store the day before Thanksgiving, and another woman asked, “You’re not going to have peanut butter for Thanksgiving are you?”
I just happened to be in the peanut butter aisle at the time.
I did get a thumbs-up from Kai Turner when he noticed I had a pound of hamburger in my grocery cart.
I think he was giving his endorsement to red meat as opposed to my usual diet of chips and salsa, or soup, or, uh, peanut butter.
n n n
The “single guy doesn’t know how to cook” column did have some unexpected benefits.
Kris Casey, Meeker teacher and coach, pulled me aside one day to let me know eighth-grade students serve dinner every other Wednesday at the fairgrounds to raise money for a trip to Washington, D.C. On the menu this week, she said, was brisket. And, at $5 for a meal, it fits my budget.
I also had a business owner tell me, when I was in her store, “I have something for you in the refrigerator.”
Turns out it was green chili, which, by the way, was delicious. I think she felt sorry for me.
“Now I know what to do with leftovers,” she said. “Give them to you.”
And then last Sunday, I was invited to a dinner of steak and crab legs. I haven’t had this many good meals in years.
A friend told me, “You should have written that column a long time ago.”
n n n
I received some dinner invitations for Thanksgiving, which was very nice, since I don’t have any family around.
When one person called to invite me over, I asked if I could bring anything. He responded with, “No, I read your column. You don’t need to bring anything.”
My best friend back in Kansas said I should have taken a box of my favorite cereal. He was joking. I think.
n n n
Two things I told myself I wouldn’t do on Thanksgiving: Go to the laundromat and go into the office. I did both.
As one friend told me about going to the laundromat, “That was a unique way to celebrate the holiday.”
While I was doing laundry, four other people showed up, all of them from other states — Minnesota, Washington, Louisiana and Alabama. All of them said they are out here because of the demand for workers and because they can find better-paying jobs in the oil patch than they can back home.
n n n
A number of people have asked about my puppy. I’m pleased to report she’s doing better. No more crying and barking at night. Now, if only I could get her to stop chewing on me. I walk around the house like Frankenstein, with the puppy clamped down on my pant leg or biting on a shoestring.
At least I get my exercise by stepping over the baby gate I put up to keep her restricted to the back part of the house.
I just hope, at my age, I don’t pull a muscle.

Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at jeff@theheraldtimes.com.

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