In 1966 or ‘67, Paul McCartney wrote the song “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Born in 1942, that would have made him 24 or 25. That song appeared on the album that could arguably be called one of the most significant pop recordings of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Beatle-boomers can most likely recall, with great accuracy, the lyrics to most, if not all of the songs on the album; who played what kind of guitar on which track; the number of celebrities pictured on the album cover; and the exact order of the tunes, beginning with the title track and ending with a reprise and the finale, “A Day In The Life.”
But they can’t remember where their car keys are.
T0day I turn 64, so I thought it might be interesting, if not scary, to compare myself with the man in the song, who, if it is in fact Sir Paul, passed this mark himself seven years ago.
The song is pretty much like a proposal when one reads the whole thing. Knowing him well enough to send him a card and a bottle of wine on his birthday, the girl is basically asked to go to the next step, as the chap points out all the benefits of growing old together. So let’s begin!
“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now.”
Well let’s see. My hair has turned gray instead of loose. But I could maybe substitute “teeth” or “hearing” for hair. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, though.
“Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine.”
Helpmate gives me a touching valentine and sarcastic birthday cards every year, but happily does not limit the bottle of wine to my birthday.
“If I’d been out to quarter to three, would you lock the door?”
First of all the only reason we lock our door is to keep the pain-in-the-butt cat from terrorizing the household in search of cat food at quarter to six, thankfully not quarter to three. And living here, there is absolutely no place that would entice me out of my abode until that wee hour of the morning, and everything is closed up tight as a tick by midnight anyway.
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”
Dangerous ground here. The perception and reality of “need” after three decades together is largely in the mind of the “needer” or “needee.” Not wanting to be labeled as overly “needy” perhaps stifles expression of neediness at times. I know of course that the smooth running of the household depends on my expert input, so yes, I feel needed. I am also very happy when I get fed. Both of us, having spent nearly a lifetime involved in some aspect of foodie-ness, feed each other often and well. I do not plan on that ending anytime soon.
“I could be handy mending a fuse, when your lights have gone.”
O.K., no fuses, just the occasional breaker when the waffle iron, toaster and coffee pot are all going at once, or in the case of the increasingly frequent power outage (say fellas, just how is that cable project going, anyways?) And yes, I am the one who goes down and resets it.
“You could knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings go for a ride.”
No sweaters, no knitting, no crocheting. But reading or playing music by the wood stove, yes indeed. And every Sunday morning we go for a ride, to Greenport, on the ferry.
“Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?”
I am a terrible gardener and I don’t do weeds, ever. If I could ask for more it would be a desire to get better at the former without doing the latter, ever.
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” (See above.)
“Every summer we could rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear. We shall scrimp and save.”
Happily, we don’t have to rent a cottage on an island because we live in a nice little house on the beautiful “Isle of Shelter,” thank you very much. But with retirement on the horizon there will definitely be more scrimping and saving.
“Grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck and Dave.”
One grandchild, Lucy, not Vera, already here, another one, a boy (but probably not a Chuck or a Dave) on the way.
“Send me postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view. Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away.”
Probably could be rewritten “shoot me an email, pick up your cell.” Viewpoints definitely and precisely indicated numerous times daily.
And although deteriorating somewhat, I wouldn’t say I’m wasting away just yet. But perhaps that phrase meant that the writer was wasting away as he pined for the girl. You decide.
“Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine for ever more. Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”
Got the answer 30 years ago, filled in the forms … couldn’t be happier!