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Growing Younger

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After searching for hours, the old couple had almost given up. They were tired of the same, repetitive, boring nights in the home. Bingo prizes hadn’t exceeded a dollar-fifty since three winters ago when Betty won five consecutive games. Thomas, the building manager of the “assisted living home”, gave her a ten-dollar bond. Oh, golly! “Assisted living home.” Yeah, right. The only thing that they had been assisted in since moving in was straight boredom. Ernest and Ethel were looking for a new thrill. They craved the same adrenaline rush back from the Cyclone days in Coney Island where Ernest met his life long lover, sweet Ethel. Oh, those were the days. “H*ll,” Ernest proclaimed that night, “it’s been nearly three decades since I’ve made it forty feet out of this geezer house.” Unfortunately, Ethel had to agree.




The two wanted something new, exciting. Yes, Ernest was eighty-five and had wrinkles running up and down his fragile body, and Ethel hadn’t seen six inches in front of her face since the 80’s. No, not even with her two-inch thick glasses lenses. But, who cared? Age was just a number, wasn’t it? To Ernest and Ethel, that’s all it was. Enough with the mahjong, the jigsaw puzzles, the unplanned dozing off. These two were looking for a thrill.




The lovers spoke day after day, night after night, contemplating what to do with their recreational time, which, in reality, was all day, every day. They even considered a trip back to Coney Island, but the Cyclone would surely put Ernest’s blood pressure over the edge. Ethel hadn’t left her scooter ever since she first sat down in it back in ’95. They needed an activity they could pursue in-house.




Unfortunately, the problem of boredom became so severe that one day Ernest decided to go hunting in the home’s communal medicine cabinet. He knew the prescription drugs were kept all the way at the top, so he would have to find a way to reach up high. Getting into the bathroom wouldn’t be a problem as his bladder had given out on him soon after he entered the home, and his constant visits to the restroom always occurred unquestioned.




One day, after losing six straight games of Wii Tennis, the home’s only new investment since it opened, Ernest broke for the bathroom. He was fed up. After settling in and figuring out how to lock the door, Ernest determined that the best way to reach the top of the cabinet was to climb his walker. Although this was not the safest idea, Ernest believed that the Wilson tennis balls on the bottom of his helper would keep him sturdy, and he was right. He had reached his new getaway: bottles among bottles of assorted pills, varying from depression to anxiety relief.




It was then that Ernest set his eyes on what turned out to be just the magic he needed. That short, white, timid bottle sitting in the back right corner of the highest shelf, dusted from lack of usage. Ernest had scored his first fix of Viagra. That’s right; Ernest and Ethel would be getting romantic again. Ernest ironically stuffed the bottle in his trousers, practically leaped from his walker, examined the doorknob, and managed to unlock it. He then rode the elevator to the third floor, where he would confront Ethel about his score.




After entering their room, Ernest spotted Ethel on her rocking chair taking her fifth nap of the day – it was 1:00 P.M. Ernest’s discovery was so grand that he decided to wake Ethel, to her disgust. That was until she laid her eyes on the magic, which Ernest had conveniently placed on the night table. To Ernest’s shock, Ethel was thrilled. Neither had participated in such an activity since either of them could remember. “For Christ’s sake,” Ernest thought, “the last time I got it even halfway up was back in ’59 when I saw Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot.” Those days were now long gone, and the two lovers from Coney Island could relive their youth for a moment in time.




As the two entered their bed that night, Ernest panicked. “Honey, I don’t think we are in any kind of position to be raising another child. What good will this Viagra do without any kind of protection?” “Ern,” Ethel said, laughing, “Menopause hit me before Nixon even took office. Let’s not get too nostalgic now!”




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