Hors de Combat And Do We Really Turn Into Our Parents?

Cat hors de combat!

Cat (6 months of age) is hors de combat, just like FitOldDog (70)!

Old people are cranky, slow and boring. Kids are noisy, restless and irritating. For most of us, life is about making sure we stay as awesome as we are right now — we’ll always love our video games, and music, and eating burritos at two in the morning after the bars closed. Isn’t that what all the commercials tell us, that you’re only as old as you feel?

Well, science has some bad news for you. The behaviors of the elderly that you write off as old-person lameness, and your behavior that the elderly credit to dickish rebellion, are all based in biology. And no, you can’t stop it.From: Cracked.

Hi folks, welcome to another lovely day, cough, cough!!

Hey, Ironman triathlete, if you’re sick, whether young or old, then sleep. Pretty simple instructions, but so hard to follow.

209-mile trip on a bike was a long way in those days - no 'Interstates.'

209-mile trip on a motorbike was a long way in those days – no ‘Interstates.’

Took me a while to work it out, but now I’m sick (head cold) I can drop my workout and enjoy the time to let my mind wander around memory space, and my fingers to peregrinate over the keyboard.

Humans are complex creatures, constructed of many modules or networked systems, one of which is the immune system (comprising the ancient innate and the more recent adaptive, branches). The immune system is even more complex than the endocrine system (hormones). Did I say that? No, the immune system is part of the endocrine system and the endocrine system is part of the immune system, and any separation is just an arbitrary classification to please our little minds. Biology is big, so we’re forced to break it down, just like the old physics, reducing it into component parts in order to understand what’s going on. But it doesn’t actually work reductionistically, it’s all one big happy machine called life.

BSA 650 Gold Flash, motor cycle, FitOldDog's advice,

BSA 650 Gold Flash motor cycle, just like the one owned by FitOldDog in the early 1960s.

When you study a number of apparently unrelated areas of science OR body mechanics, or a conversation for that matter, remember to try to put the bits back together again.

My happy machine, and that of Cat, is not so happy today. Our bodies are busy because we’re sick. This reminds be of a comment my mother made one day when I was only 19 years of age, and thought I knew it all. Mom always seemed to talk in riddles or quotes. I had just undertaken a long motorcycle ride across England, on my trusty Gold Flash (loved that bike), from Bristol to New Holland, Lincolnshire, to visit her. I walked into the house, sat down, then Mom came in right after me. She greeted me by saying, “I see that your steed is hors de combat.

FitOldDog's Mom, Joan Key, tying her shoes at age 93, and still no major flexibility issues.

FitOldDog’s Mom, Joan Key, tying her shoes at age 93, at which time she still had no major flexibility issues, but she used to piss me off big time –  never listened!

I had no idea what she was talking about, and dismissed it, but it nagged at me. Then I worked it out, rushed outside, and yes, my bike had fallen over, and in the time it had taken me to solve the riddle all of the gas had drained out of the tank onto the soft ground. This was no small loss to me in those days.

Boy, was I was pissed at my Mom, but am I turning into her now?

I just asked Deb, “Do I speak in riddles or use excessively long words?” Deb replied, “No, you don’t speak in riddles, but you do use a broad range of words, which exposes us to a rich vocabulary that we appreciate.” Boy, was I relieved. Then I asked, “Do I listen to you?” To this, Deb replied, “Well, you could work on that!I sure don’t want to turn into my Mom, not the irritating bits, anyway.

OK! Time to close the office, shown here, and go home and sleep off this mild viral infection.

OK! Time to close the office, shown here, and go home and sleep off this mild viral infection.

But then, I have a tendency to be a little polarized in my thinking, I often interrupt when others are speaking, I react in a slightly extreme manner sometimes, and I have little sensitivity to others in social situations – I just don’t understand why they get so upset at some of the things I say. Deb tries to explain, but it goes right over my head – her explanations never sem to make logical sense – all about emotion and feelings, I guess?

Maybe I am at the Asperger’s end of the spectrum, as someone suggested recently, who knows?

I am beginning to suspect that we are each born with a certain character type, which is to a strong degree driven by genetics, but we get to decide how to live with it. For instance, with help from some friends, I’m finally interrupting less. In my defense, often when I interrupt I fail to read the queues that permit ‘legal interjection.’ I’m not sure how to overcome this issue when I can’t read the signals – for me, they are just not there.

But keep fighting the good fight. Young or old, sick or well, you can improve each day with a little work. Your chances for becoming a better you improve dramatically if you can make yourself aware of how you actually behave, as opposed to how you think that you do.

I wonder if I think more of a conversation as the reverberations of a large network, in which I am but a single node, I’ll be able to tune in and read those subtle signs that will permit me to interject politely – any ideas?

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Ah, Grasshopper the meaning lies within the lack of meaning in it all…

  2. On a more serious point – No we do not turn into our parents. Clearly we are influenced by them but as the generations turn over so does society evolve influencing the individuals within it. Look up “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe. I am not sure their idea of a Saeculum is definitive but it is stimulating. See:
    It works for me in helping to understand Kondratiev cycles (50+ year economic cycles) but really cannot be used to analyse individual behaviour.
    In Strauss and Howe Mother’s generation are the Hero’s. Mother however was a total one off. She may have fitted better in a later more rebellious generation. Some people are out of sync with those about them. Mother was part civil war Puritan with her biblical knowledge. She was not Puritan in other ways.
    She was also a reaction to her mother whilst being equally difficult to her daughters in law.
    But I guess she made us physically and part moulded us emotionally.
    Finally I would like to sign up to the CAT fan club. What a dude!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.