SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska





February 10, 2014
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -
Mature golfers always make a big deal about “shooting their age.”

Obviously, when you are at the height of your golfing abilities, say in your early to mid 30s, you are not going to “shoot your age.” Not even over nine holes.
jpg Dave Kiffer

Seriously, who shoots under about a 120 anyway, unless they are keeping their own score card?

But, when you get into your 70s, there is always a chance that you could somehow inadvertently shoot an 18 hole score that approximates your age.

Of course, most 70 year old golfers are actually duffing along with scores in the triple digits so the point is pretty academic.

That said, I did read that a 101 year old golfer recently shot a 99 in Palm Springs. Then again, that might have been one of those new fangled metric courses

Of course, this is a giant digression because even if you could shoot your age in Ketchikan, there is no real golf course to shoot it on.

As for me, I probably could shoot my age (see below) on a one hole pitch and putt course.

So instead, the other day I went out on North Tongass Highway and I drove my age.

Hah, you say, everyone can drive their age in Ketchikan. That is true.

You can go 20 in a school zone, you can zip along at 35 on the Third Avenue Bypass.

You can even thunder away at 50 mph on many parts of the state highway; pot holes, small furry animals and tourists be darned!

But for me it was a little “special.”

I turned the double nickel on the long stretch by the old Coast Guard towers near Point Higgins, because in real life, I have also turned the double nickel.

I am now 55 years old.

This, of course, is a somewhat horrifying turn of events. I have always thought of myself as a young guy.

You know how there are those people who say that when they were young they had an “old soul?”

Or that they always felt older than they really were?

More grown up?

An adult before their time?
That is so NOT me.
We’ll pause for a brief interruption by my long suffering wife, Charlotte.
“Yeah, duh!!”
And also a word from my mother and siblings.
“Yeah, double duh.”
Okay, let’s just say that I still feel like a youngster at heart.
It’s true that while I no longer feel like a teenager, still most days I think of myself as younger than most everyone around me.
Seriously, who ARE all these old people out and about? What happened to their vim and vigor? Since when did such a bunch of juvenile delinquents start getting so serious?
When did they become their parents?!?!?
But it is kinda of hard to look my sagging jowels in the morning mirror and not think “the bloom is off the rose.”
At 55, I feel like I have officially become a “sprung” chicken.
Yeah, I hear all of you more senior readers.
Waaaa, waaaa, waaaa, call a WAMBULANCE!
In my defense, they just announced one of those statewide “40 Under 40” groups in which “young, up and comers” are lauded for accomplishing something so early in life.
Early, I guess, being defined as any time before those dual great accomplishments of any Captain of Industry; retirement and death.
Looking at the pictures of those 40 Under 40 folks, I’m pretty sure that I “think” of myself as younger than most of those preternatural punks!
Of course, I wasn’t selected because, well, because, I haven’t been under 40 since the Clinton Administration.
Once upon a time, even 40 seemed horribly old. I grew up toward the end of the “don’t trust anyone over 30” generation.
When I was in high school 30 seemed awesomely old. I mean, some of my teachers were, gasp and moan, over 30.
Actually most of them were over 30 and, boy howdy, did they seem old.
They had families, they had houses, they had mortgages.
And they had really, really, really boring cars.
They were old. They were mature. They were geezers.
Back when I was in high school, I thought everyone over 30 ate a lot of liver and onions and wore safety underwear, underneath their old fogey striped shirts and their high-water pants.
Then, sometime during the first Bush Administration, I turned 30.
Oddly enough, it was my 29th birthday that freaked me out. After all, when I turned 29, I was a lot closer to 30 than I was away from it. Geezerdom and Matlock marathons were approaching me in the oncoming lane.
Hmmm, Matlock wasn’t even in syndication at the time. It was still in its first run. That was a long time ago. Go figure.
Anyhoo, I turned 30, and I became untrustworthy to the following generation. So it goes.
But I was still eligible for one of those “40 under 40” awards. I was still young by some people’s standards, even if I hadn’t actually accomplished anything worth accolading yet.
Still, I wasn’t in too big a hurry to make my mark, because even at 30 Something (a show that I snickered about when I was 20 Something) I still had plenty of time.
Of course, when I passed 35 and realized I had now lived longer than both Mozart and Charlie Parker, it gave me pause, if only briefly.
Then when I turned 39, I had another one of those tiny gut checks. I was creeping up on 40 and well, that was kinda old. And what had I accomplished?
Soon I would NOT qualify for any “40 Under 40” groups. But at least I was approaching being able to shoot my age in golf. Not that I ever played much golf, but at least it was something to look forward to.
Of course, secretly in the back of my mind I was hoping for a bit of grading inflation and the sudden burgeoning of “50 Under 50” groups. Or maybe even “60 Under 60.” It could happen. Although “100 Under 100” remains a distinct long shot.
And yet, now, as I anonymously nominate myself for an AARP “55 Under 55” contest, 40 doesn’t seem very old at all.
The other day I was on a flight back from Juneau and when the captain popped out of the cockpit out to use the bathroom, the woman sitting across the aisle from me said “Look how young he is, is he even 30?”
Frankly, he looked 12 to me. I was betting he didn’t yet shave and his voice certainly hadn’t changed. And he was wearing his father’s uniform for career day.
Sure, I’ve stopped being surprised by police officers, doctors, generals, ministers, judges, lobbyists and other people in power who look younger than me. These days Noah and Methuselah look younger than me.
Still, this guy was responsible for about eighty lives and a $60 million piece of aerodynamic sculpture.
When I was 12, I couldn’t even take safe care of a spider bike. Does this guy remember to lock up the plane wheels when he leaves it somewhere? I think not.
But I digress.
So just to get it straight, I don’t want to 12 again. Or even 19. Once was enough for that merry go round, thank you very much!
But it would be fun to be 35 or 40 again. Back when I felt like I had my act together and everything still worked.
Even in the mid 40s, I still felt like there was a bit of youth left.
Of course, that was before I started needed quadrafocal reading glasses to make out the big E on the eye chart.
That was also before I felt like I had to warm up my lower extremities for at least a half an hour before getting out of bed in the morning.
When did moving a knee get to be such a complex undertaking?
Used to be, you could wake up, swing your legs out of bed, stand up and immediately begin to motate about your day. Trying to do that these days does not turn out well.
Which leads me back down the “Long and Winding Road” to 55. This year several of my friends are singing “When I’m 64.”
Thank goodness, there are still real geezers out there.
So, while I can’t look forward to “shooting my age,” except in Beer Pong, At least, I can look forward to continuing to “drive my age” out on North Tongass.
On a Harley.
Take that, 55!


On the Web:

More Columns by Dave Kiffer

Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2014

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2014
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska