When I’m 64

We liked this song in our family. My dad was a snob, but their were some valid reasons for his snobbery. He was in the army at the end of WWII, and I think rubbing shoulders with the other army guys made him acutely aware of his differences. My dad was a weird guy in some ways. I’m guessing he was too big and tall to be physically picked on, but he was never a joiner, he was very shy and even when he was young, he’d started cultivating an image of himself as an intellectual. He never fit in or let himself fit in and like all misfits, he both reveled in his differences and hated those who ignored him. He used the G.I. bill to go to university and finished with a PhD, matching his self-image with the one he wanted to give the world.

He loved classical music. Some of this was a true love, but some of it (in my opinion) was him wanting to be the sort of person who listened to classical music. (I think there’s a bit of that in all of us, like listening to punk because we want to be the sort of person who listens to punk, in spite of the headache the music gives us.)

My sister liked “When I’m 64”, and we were happy to be able to share it with our dad. I liked it because I was a little kid when my sister bought the album, and it’s upbeat and easy to sing along with. (For whatever reason, I also loved “Alice’s Restaurant”, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.)

The funny thing is that in spite of all of us pretty much liking the song, we all rejected what it represented.

My dad was not happy gardening or bouncing grandchildren on his knee. My sister, the most conservative of us, had a nontraditional profession and has recently taken up raising cows. There’s no renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight when you’ve got cows to feed. I’ve never had children and, while having the very conservative profession of teacher, still managed to add some spice to that by doing it in another country and in another language.

It’s funny how we tend to officially like and approve of things that we would never want for ourselves. Everyone should just be normal. That is, everyone else should just be normal. We’re different of course.

Foro: intello and cow about town

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