Blaise Tapp writes: “What does it say, love? I haven’t got my readers on.”
With those 11 words I effectively confirmed what my nearest and dearest have long suspected, that I am now officially an “old fart”, even though I’m still five years off my half century. Perhaps the term young (ish) fogey would be more appropriate?
However you want to describe it, the signs that I have turned into my father, possibly even my grandfather, have been there for quite a while, long before the passing of time required me to give into the squint and buy some specs.
I’ve long complained that our house is like “the ruddy Blackpool Illuminations” while following every family member from room to room, while angrily switching off every light.
The delivery of our smart meter was greeted by yours truly with greater enthusiasm than the arrival of satellite telly, although I probably look at that strange little device more often than I tune into Netflix.
To be fair, the meter probably creates more drama in our house than even the world’s most popular streaming service could muster.
I’ve got to that stage in my life where the cost of things 30 years ago are my reference point for everything.
I can, just about, remember a pint being a quid, although the kind of places that sold beer at those prices were not somewhere you’d take your grandmother for a Cinzano and a Club sandwich.
Even though the insipid filth that I used to grimly down with my equally spotty mates in the mid-90s was not a patch on the craft beer that is my preferred tipple now, it doesn’t stop me moaning about the cost of going to the pub in 2022.
This behaviour mirrors that of my grandfather, who, right into his mid-90s, would enjoy embarrassing us all on family occasions by loudly asking “How much?” every time one of us ventured to the bar. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t paying for the round, his incredulity that people he knew were happy to stump up for such extortionate prices never waned.
I am not sure how he’d cope with the rising cost of pretty much everything during this very real cost of living crisis.
Another sign of my descent in decrepitude is that requests for extra pocket money are now met with the refrain “Who do you think I am, Rockefeller?”. Even though Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk might be more relevant to my two, they broadly understand the increasingly obscure cultural reference and that the old man isn’t made of money. It doesn’t stop them asking though.
The job of a parent is to keep up with trends to ensure that you are broadly across what your kids are into but I even struggle with this. I cannot fathom how my children are drawn to talentless loudmouths online, who loudly commentate on a video game that you cannot actually participate in. The huge appeal of TikTok is a mystery to me, as is the fact that my eldest can spend an entire evening talking to the friends that she has spent seven hours with at school.
But I think the glasses were the point of no return from my journey to grumpy old man in training. After years of resisting it, I had no choice but to recently visit the most famous of high street opticians, where I was given the wholly predictable news that I needed reading glasses.