Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?

Those iconic words have rattled around in the back of my head for more than four decades. It never crossed my mind I would someday reach that milestone. Sixty-four! Why that borders on the upper end of middle age, for goodness sake. But here I am, ready to face the music, so to speak.

The music of course comes from Sgt. Pepper, released June 1, 1967. The song was written by Paul McCartney for his father; he actually penned the tune when he was only 16 and the Beatles polished it up for their magnum opus.

How does it feel, to be 64, you may ask? Pretty much the same as 63, though perhaps a bit more long in the tooth, as the saying goes. Physically, I’m a bit shorter and plumper, though my good intentions at the Y may shave a few inches off my girth. But I feel good. Thanks for asking.

I don’t feel that old. Should I? I’m pretty content, driving my school bus with tour bus and limo jobs in the warmer months. It’s a gradual immersion into retirement, which suits me pretty well. And I continue to write, cranking out a book every so often. Plus I like to go to concerts by whatever aging rocker is in town, or within 300 miles. I figure if I can remember him from years gone by, he should appreciate my attendance at his shows.

“They say,” is one of my favorite sayings. They say people with partners are happier and live longer than those without. Joyce and I first met in seventh grade, then endured a 30-plus-year hiatus before we actually got married a dozen years ago. She keeps me balanced and focused, and hopefully I do the same for her, especially since she likewise turns 64 in seven short weeks. And both of us are still young enough to enjoy a good walk, travel and getting out to see friends. That social interaction business is another thing they say helps stave off dementia. So we’ll keep on being in the social circuit.

I’m amazed how much the world has changed technologically in the past few decades. I grew up with vinyl records, which morphed into tapes in the 1980s, then leaped to CDs and now the iPod. I grew up with a typewriter and a hand-cranked copy machine with smelly fluid no student of the 1950s will ever forget. Then word processing was born and took off in the 1990s, so that today we write, rewrite and revise with unbelievable ease and speed. I grew up writing letters by hand, which has evolved into text messages and e-mail. Now Facebook has superseded those primitive forms of communication. Of course the telephone, with its party line and unwieldy cord, reinvented itself into a tiny hand-held gadget, accessible whenever and wherever we please. I heard it even takes photos, unimaginable in my youth.

The state of the washstand amazes me. It used to be we had to turn on the faucet to get water, then wipe our hands with a paper towel. How archaic. Now just hold your hands under a faucet; the water runs automatically; hold your hands under a dryer that blows at G-force, and they dry, just like that.

Perhaps I am like one of those geezers who remembers life before the automobile and airplane, two means of transport introduced around 1900. Or maybe I’m fighting the progress wrought by the invention of the telephone and the electric lightbulb, which emerged in the mid-1870s. Just as those events revolutionized our civilization, so too the computer, the cell phone and the motion-detecting faucet have brought a new level of technology and technique to our lives.

It’s pretty exciting to have experienced these changes, this evolution. It’s been a good six decades, and doesn’t feel I’m that different from who I was only a few years ago.

Still, there is that sense that life is moving pretty quickly — can’t believe I’m this old already. So I’ll let another Beatle, George Harrison, have the last line that comes to mind: “Each day just goes so fast, I turn around it’s past. You don’t get time to hang a sign on me.” And, “A lifetime is so short, a new one can’t be bought.”


Gazette contributor Tom Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs.