What A Drag It is Getting Old

This is one of the things I hate about getting older. I’m realizing I just have to face facts and get on a regular schedule. The way I am living now just isn’t working- I was totally ready to go to bed a couple of (LOVE YOU EEMOM) hours ago, but I got wrapped up in this shitty trash novel and petting Lily, and I said to myself I’ll just stay up and read a couple more chapters and then go to bed. And I am not kidding, it’s a Ludlum, the Sigma Protocol, and the only reason I am reading it is because my uncle dumped a bunch of them on my mom to give to the County library and she was convinced I would read some of them and insisted I take a few. I fought her, but eventually took them and they sat in the back of my car for two months. I finally took them out when I had to move some stuff to move, and they sat on my garage floor for a while. I was down there this morning grabbing something, it caught my eye, and I started to read it.

So now I passed my sleep window, and am totally mentally ready for bed, all the animals are ready for bed, I’m too tired to even watch tv or have a twitter war with Erick son of Erick (which I did a little bit ago), and I guess my only recourse is to listen to this Daft Punk album again on my earphones.

Oh, and as to the title of this post, it is a drag getting old, but the reason that song has been in my head is I was talking to a friend who has a 10 year old daughter who is a ball of energy, and she was talking about how she sometimes wishes she was on xanax or something to deal with the rougher days when her daughter was acting up, and I mentioned that’s nothing new, and in fact the Stones were singing about it before both of us were born:

When I pointed that out, she laughed, and mentioned she had heard the song 100 times and never knew that is what it meant, and I was sort of flabbergasted. The lyrics couldn’t be more explicit, clear, and easy to understand. And then I remembered that 90% of the population doesn’t pay attention to what they hear or read or see or experience, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I may be misguided and misinterpret things and make bad decisions (for decades on end, I might end), but at least I notice things, so I guess I got that going for me. I guess the life lesson in all of this is that in life, much like music, people move to the beat of the drum.

32 replies
  1. 1
    Anne Laurie says:

    You ever get tested for ADD, Cole? Because that ‘noticing things when 90% of the population doesn’t’ is what’s called a ‘tell’.

  2. 2
    themis says:

    Cole – you’ve got it wrong. These late moments (due to flu, stuff to do, or something else that makes us want people to just get off our damn lawn) are precious. These moments are what we thought getting old was like. Here we are. It’s not so bad.

  3. 3
    eemom says:

    Thx Cole, love you too. And I’m like a hundred years older than you are. Of.

  4. 4
    TS says:

    What I like about getting old – there is no schedule. If I want to stay up late – no bother – sleep until 10 in the morning – so be assured – whatever is an issue – it is not about growing old.

    Growing old is giving up on schedules – throwing out the alarm clock, never driving at peak times – shopping during the week.

  5. 5
    joel hanes says:

    take a benadryl
    go outside and get a bit chilled
    drink half a glass of milk

  6. 6
    John Walters says:

    The classic case of Lyric Ignorance Syndrome has to be Ronald Reagan trying to misappropriate “Born in the USA” as a triumphalist anthem.

  7. 7

    I don’t mind getting old as long as I don’t start acting old. Hell, 61 ain’t so bad, considering the alternative.

  8. 8
    wil says:

    How could she not know what that song is about? It’s more than “not noticing,” she’s missing some information or a cultural reference frame or something.

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    Admittedly, there is something weird about how explicit some of the 60’s songs are. To wit.

    But she really must have been listening to the tune, and not the words, to not understand what the song was about.

  10. 10
    Eljai says:

    I was alive when that song was popular. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I should have gone to bed three hours ago, but I was at work late and then I had to unwind. I’m glad y’all are still awake to entertain me.

  11. 11
    Joseph Nobles says:

    It’s always fun singing YMCA at karaoke and watching people finally get it.

  12. 12
    kindness says:

    That song from the Stones is about Valium I always figured.

    What ever gets you through the night I guess. How’s the book so far?

  13. 13
    Nicole says:

    I recorded a textbook on bio psychology a few months ago that included a chapter on sleep- the author proposed that humans don’t actually need as much sleep as we are told- that we can get by on five hours, give or take, with a period of adjustment. I don’t know if I believe it, but it has given me great solace on nights I can’t sleep. I think, “Eh, according to that guy I don’t need 8 hours anyway so this is okay.” The reduction in stress has been worth it.

    Apparently Leonardo da Vinci only slept 90 minutes a day. Though, he did it on a very strict schedule, so your original point still stands.

  14. 14
    low-tech cyclist says:

    There had been a period after Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Kicks” when the Powers That Be were trying to convince other rock groups to come up with anti-drug songs, too.

    Until the Internet was available to correct me, I’d always assumed the Stones had written “Mother’s Little Helper” during that time, and that this had been Mick and Keith’s contribution.

  15. 15
    gvg says:

    Not everyone’s hearing is equal. Mine has always been a little less than perfect even when young and I have always had particular problems understanding words in songs. I love the tunes but I can hardly ever make out what the words are except here and there. The 2 different kinds of sounds interfere with each other-words and music notes. that is for me, not others. My teenaged friends mostly had no problem and would tell me what the words were the first time they heard a song. I noticed back then that a couple of them were much better and faster than the others though I had the most problems as far as I could tell. Some of my friends never spoke up though so they may have been having issues too and not bringing it to everyone’s attention. this was when we were all listening to new music together and trying to hear the words so I don’t think it was not paying attention.
    As I’ve gotten older it’s definately gotten worse. I need a new cell phone because I can’t hear this one well anymore.
    My problem I think was one ear was better than the other-not actually deaf, just less than optimal. It means I can’t reliably tell which direction sounds are coming from since at least my teens when I noticed. I think I can’t triangulate well because of unequal ears.
    Anyway I can’t hear lyrics well and I’ve always tried. I also can’t imagine how some people can concentrate on tasks while playing music. That is too distracting for me but I’ve seen other people do it and prefer it.
    We are all made a bit different.
    I love rock but its the music and the backbeat that hooks me.

  16. 16
    Citizen_X says:

    @Nicole: I think that guy’s kind of at odds with the entire community of circadian researchers. If it works for you, fine, and certainly stressing about amount of sleep is counterproductive. But, overwhelmingly, researchers tell us that Americans sleep too little, and most people need around eight hours. (Teenagers: even more. Let ‘me sleep, they’re growing!)

    I know I feel far more alert after being well-rested. So anyone bringing that macho crap about SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD! ROWWRR! can stick it up their ass.

  17. 17
    Emily68 says:

    I was listening to “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” with my eight year old nephew and he was laughing and laughing and said “This song is SO funny.”

    I asked him, “You never heard this song before?”

    “Oh, I’ve heard it lots of times, but I didn’t know what it meant until I asked my mom last week.”

    His mother said, “yeah. We want him to come to us for accurate information.”

    Every kid should have such parents.

  18. 18
    MomSense says:


    See I always thought it was about speed. Mom was dead tired from dealing with crazy people so she needed a jolt of something to get her through the day. Bonus was that she lost weight. Today moms get diagnosed with ADHD and get Ritalin or they steal their kid’s Ritalin and have energy and lose weight.

  19. 19
    eemom says:


    Ha….eedad and I used to argue over whether it was Valium or speed. I agree with you.

    I guess the question is, which ones were yellow, back in the 60s?

  20. 20
    kindness says:

    5 mg valiums are yellow. Speed (of that era) was either white cross (amphetamine sulfate in a small white pill), dexadrine (1/2 clear cap, 1/2 black cap), or black beauty (1/2 dexadrine, 1/2 amphetamine sulfate with an all black cap).

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think the cultural reference frame that’s missing is the spate of Valium addictions in the 1960s. It was the Oxycontin of its day, but now it’s that little pill they give you to relax you at the dentist’s. I had a friend whose grandmother had become a Valium addict (but luckily was able to kick the habit) after a doctor carelessly prescribed it to her.


    Today moms get diagnosed with ADHD and get Ritalin or they steal their kid’s Ritalin and have energy and lose weight.

    Okay, I know you didn’t mean it this way, but women are very underdiagnosed with ADHD and it’s extremely heritable, which means that at least one of the parents of an ADHD kid almost certainly have it as well. I’m not taking Concerta every day to “have energy and lose weight” — I’m taking it so I don’t lose my damn job because I can’t stay focused.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    Argh. Can I please be released from moderation for the crime of using the brand names of prescription drugs? KTHXBAI.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    Never mind — I repeated what I was saying in the moderated comment. FYWP!

  24. 24
    Paul in KY says:

    “Mother’s Little Helper” is truly one of the Stones’ greatest songs. Along with “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Under My Thumb”. Three of their golden oldies.

  25. 25
    Kevin Hayden says:

    Yeah, I’m sure the song was about valium. But soon, I suspect it’ll be a smart phone app that alternates between pictures of LOL cats and an industrial strength vibrator option.

  26. 26
    Paul in KY says:

    @gvg: Alot of times the lyrics were in the album notes.

  27. 27
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: It is about valium. Those are the little yellow pills (with the v shaped cutout in middle).

  28. 28
    kindness says:

    @Kevin Hayden: It’s been done. Jefferson Airplane’s Plastic Fantastic Lover. Played this morning via my ipod on my drive into work. Damn I wish there were rock bands like that around now.

  29. 29
    Gretchen says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was sitting in one of the many counseling sessions with my son when the counselor said “we always wonder which parent it came from”, and there was my husband, rocking silently in the corner. Why can’t that kid sit still?

  30. 30
    LT says:

    And now your friend – who no doubt will read your blog today even if she never has before – will discover that you think she’s a dull, vapor-eyed Obtusian. So there you go.

  31. 31
    Dave L says:

    The Stones are singing about valium, but the phrase is much older than them. “Mother’s little helper” goes back to at least the 1840s, when it referred to laudanum. The big difference being that 19th century moms were dosing their kids, not themselves.

    Nice post to read on my 63rd birthday.

  32. 32
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Speed (of that era) was either white cross (amphetamine sulfate in a small white pill)

    We called them crosstops. My friends and I took them by the handful in college so we could stay up all night drinking. Worked pretty well.

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