Dave Simpson: A Familiar Problem For Capt. Kirk

Columnist Dave Simpson writes: "William Shatner said this week that the tough thing about going into space - where no 90-year-old man had gone before - was getting in and out of the chair in the space capsule here on earth."

Dave Simpson

October 19, 20214 min read

Dave Simpson headshot
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

William Shatner said this week that the tough thing about going into space – where no 90-year-old man had gone before – was getting in and out of the chair in the space capsule here on earth.

Who among us, over age 65, can’t relate to THAT? Only weightlessness can solve that problem.

When it comes to struggling to get in and out of low chairs, many of us have been there, done that.

There was a time when I was young and callow (definition: devoid of feathers), when I thought those chairs that lift your caboose up and on your feet were just for old people. I might have even made fun of them, maybe even in print, back when I was young, reckless, and spry. (I ridiculed diet beer, too.)

Today, however, I realize that even youngsters like me – age 70 – can sometimes use a hand  overcoming the ravages of gravity, leg cramps, stiffness and all-around cussedness when doing something as simple as getting up out of a low chair and heading to the fridge for a beer. (Not a diet beer, which, come to think of it, could be a contributing factor here.)

Maybe a chair that hoists our ballast regions into an upright position might be a good idea. Hark! The scales have fallen from my eyes.

I used to like to get down on the floor to play with my dog Mitch (a Labrador Retriever, the Cadillac of Dogs). But these days, putting too much weight on a knee, on a hardwood floor, when getting back up can result in an appointment with the orthopedist and a month of physical therapy. (No kidding. I wouldn’t lie, about this.)

It’s an ugly thought, but if you were to deposit me in one of those beanbag chairs that were popular back in the 1970s, it’s more than likely that getting me back into an upright position would involve first responders, and maybe a hoist. So ixnay on beanbags

We are not, however, alone in this plight, fellow oldsters.

Turn on the television these days and it’s a non-stop parade of advertisements for products designed to make us limber again, able to play a brisk game of tennis, able to get a good night’s sleep on $250 sheets and $29 pillows, able to let us walk into a room without forgetting what the ding-dong heck we came into the room to get, and to goose our all-around friskiness and make our spouses happy, to boot.

They say the prime targets of advertisers are folks way younger than I am, but I say the dollars spent on these ads tell a different story. Our Social Security-fired geezer dollars are in high demand.

Lately, I’ve been wondering whether to take “Balance of Nature” – two little bottles of pills – that can apparently give you the vim and vigor to become a senior decathlon champ, or an old guy who can paint swell pictures and build intricate ship models. Or should I take “Relief Factor,” which explains why Pat Boone is still so active at his age, which helps Joe Piscopo stay buff, and gets Larry Elder out on his speedboat and walking his dog on the beach.

Most enticing is the Relief Factor ad with the young rodeo champ, who says it helps him the day after getting thrown by a raging bull. That might even be enough to help me recover from getting out of a low chair at my daughter’s house.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee makes a strong case for taking something called “Relaxium Sleep,” claiming that it helps him snooze through the night, maybe even without pit stops. Another old guy says something called “Prevagen” helps him stay sharp enough to compete with the young smart alecks at work.

Take heart, fellow McDonalds senior discount coffee drinkers. If William Shatner can hoist himself in and out of a recliner in a spaceship at age 90, without taking along a steamer trunk full of these products, we can probably get along, for a while longer, without a chair that hoists our weary backsides.

(Shatner may show up in Relief Factor ad any day now.)

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.