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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Old Age SATs

The "Old Man" Of Auto Painting

My brother had an aneurysm hemorrhage last Friday, and by the grace of God, he will be leaving the hospital today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, I sped into the medical system of the hospital my brother was recuperating in, and had a battery of tests, including ultra-sounds for the carotid and abdominal arteries, costing $70 for the lot! Since my father had also had an iliac aneurysm operated on back in 2006, I saw no reason to put it off any longer, and decided to pay the $70, then see if I could re-imbursed later.
Even if there is no way to separate the costs of the tests and to re-imburse me, it probably would have cost me almost $70 to see my doctor and go to various places for some of the specialized tests.....

So a friend wrote me and said that these test were "the SATs of old age", which I thought was pretty funny. I seem to remember gerontological groups clustered together and comparing cholesterol stats in pretty much the same way as we used to talk about which SAT percentile we landed in.

Having said this, I think it is pretty obvious that this is a clear case where the simple, strong, and direct Anglo-Saxon expression; i.e., "old age", is not the preferred means of communication.

I need another word:

The Latin "gerontology" and its brothers and sisters have been placed in a state of eternal "dibs" by the medical community, so that is out.

The Greek "presbyter" and its ilk are similarly monopolized by the Presbyterian Church, and even though it does not offend me to be characterized as being as dour and staid as a member of the Scottish Church of the Glasgow Assembly (beware the curse of Hiel the Bethelite!!), it would be much too ambiguous and people might mistakenly take me for an elder of the church.

The French "vieillesse" is precise and succinct, but given the ambivalence of Americans to things French - American fries versus French fries and the unshakeable belief that the French waiters are arrogant in their attitude to American tourists who are dressed like comedic beggars and who make no attempt to speak French - it would give the impression of being a  Précieux Ridicule. 
(this last sentence being a self-fulfilling prophecy, I suppose.)

The German "Altertum" is off the table. I would not mind being referred to as "der Alte", and thus imagining myself to be Conrad Adenauer, but it won't fly.

Ditto for Russian "старость", or "starost", and the Chinese "晚年".  They will only generate blank stares.

So I have decided on the Arabic "shaib", which means  "a state of having white hair".
Merely having white hair does not necessarily mean being old, which itself is a big plus.
Furthermore, it is pronounced just like "Scheib" in "Earl Scheib", the automobile painting magnate, who himself was of Lebanese descent.

So "shaib"... or "Scheib"...  for "old age".
If someone (not me!) were to be referred to by age, particularly "old age", they would be called  الشيب
which would be  "Ashyab", but there's no reason I could not use "scheib" for this, also.

So, the battery of tests are Scheib SATs.
And I have accomplished what I set out to do: I have totally turned attention away from my antiqueness.


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