My wife and I are leaving early Saturday morning to attend the high school graduation party of her oldest granddaughter.
It should be a great time – that is, as long as I map out a good game plan and stick to it.
I will be meeting a lot of people for the first time, so I want to make a good impression.
I could say that I want to be cool, but that ship sailed a long time ago and it isn’t coming back into port – ever.
Instead, all I want to do is not act old in any way, shape or form. That will be hard, because I am … well, ahem … somewhat older than her classmates who will be stopping by, and also their parents and – full disclosure – no doubt even some of their grandparents.
I can’t do anything about the gray hair, the balding and the wrinkles. They are there for all the world to see.
But at the same time, I don’t want to walk around with "1955" or "I remember black and white TV, Hula Hoops, big fins on cars and gas for 30 cents a gallon" stamped onto my forehead, either.
Man, is my forehead big enough to get all of that on there?
Probably, because my hair isn’t there to stop it now.
But I digress.
I just want to act … uh, seasoned, advanced, mature, experienced and any other word that means old but says it in a classy, indirect way.
But to pull that off, there are some definite do’s and don’ts, all of which I’ve tried to list in that game plan I’ve been putting together for the last two weeks.
Yes, honestly, truly, really, I’ve thought about this a lot lately. Like they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Anyway, here’s what I came up with for my checklist:
*Don’t wear a white sports shirt, white shorts, white tennis shoes, white athletic socks pulled up to my knees and a white ball cap that says, "We’re spending our children’s inheritance."
*Don’t say to any of her classmates, "Wow, your phone can do all THAT?"
Or, "I just got a new sap for my phone. It lets me know when I have to take my medication."
Or, "Have you listened to the new Justin Beaver album?"
Or, "So, you have a Mustang? My buddy back in high school had a Mustang, too."
Or, "I’m going to try my hardest to stay up until 10 tonight so I can really enjoy the party."
Or, "I would like to try some of that potato salad, but I’ve had to stay away from roughage every since I had that colonoscopy."
Or, "I never thought I’d see the day that they put water into a bottle and sold it for $1.79."
Or, "My wife and I are not going to leave until mid-afternoon tomorrow because we want to get the early seating for the senior buffet at the travel plaza."
Or, definitely not, "My wife and I ordered the cake special. We got 20 percent off by using our AARP card."
*Don’t begin any sentence with, "Way back in the day," or, "I remember when."
*Don’t ask them to turn down the music because, "It’s way too loud."
*Don’t drink too much liquid of any kind, because you know what happens – again and again and again – when you do that.
*Don’t yell, "Now you’re cooking with gas!" when someone finally figures out how to correctly cut the watermelon.
*Don’t say, "I’ll have to go inside and get it out of the ice box" if someone asks for the gourmet mustard.
*Don’t tuck into the collar of your shirt a napkin that’s big enough to line the inside of a 55-gallon trash can and holler, "Here goes nothin’!" as you sit down to eat spare ribs – with your fingers.
*Don’t "whisper" to your wife in a voice loud enough to hear two houses away, "The kid’s hair is so long, I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl."
*Don’t throw a jacket over the shoulders of a girl because you’ve decided that her blouse is too revealing.
*Don’t tell any "knock, knock" jokes.
Or any jokes at all.
*Don’t start any conversation with, "So, who are you going to vote for, Hillary or Trump?"
*Don’t excuse yourself to go inside and catch the lottery drawing on TV at 7:30.
*Don’t ask anyone if they saw Wednesday night’s back-to-back episodes of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy."
*Don’t eat too fast, because every time you eat too fast, you burp – loudly.
*Don’t ask if there are "any good ponds around here to get a mess of crawdads."
*Don’t say, "What in the heck is this green stuff?" if you see a food you do not recognize.
*Don’t ask anyone if they remember the TV show, "Polka Varieties."
*Don’t tell anyone about the time you used a tape recorder for the first time.
*Don’t warn her classmates to stay off Flitter because it can get them into trouble.
*And finally, at all costs, please, please, please don’t say, "I hope no one eats any more of the chicken because we get to take home what’s left."