Until recently, how much I could lift was purely a function of muscular strength. It wasn't a question of whether I should lift something, only whether I could. This is sadly no longer true. Now, how much weight I can lift has more to do with the failing point of tendons and ligaments. For really the first time, I feel youth's absence.

Last weekend, I was asked out by a girl less than half my age. So implausible was this, I didn't even recognize it. After she spelled things out for me, I found her creepy. "Old enough to be her father" understates things. In this town, odds are excellent that I'm a good deal older than him. The ew factor was very high. I try to see the compliment in her overture, but I can't. I just wonder what's wrong with her. Thanks for teaching me a new way to feel old, hon. I needed another.

• • •

The Child Bride was the weekend's Cooterville Moment I.

Moment II was at a Steelers bar, when someone seeing the score of another game asked, "How many touchdowns is in 56 points?" Egad, I thought. Show some dignity. And then every last person in the room turned and looked to me to provide the answer. Only one adult in twenty could divide 56 by 7, and worse, they all knew who it would be. I humbly submit that if I'm the consensus math expert in a room, a sterilization program is in order.

Moment III was when I was looking at real estate. I inquired about septic. "We're not primitive here, John!" the realtor scoffed, playfully slapping my arm. "We put in sewers last year."

Moment IV was a different house. A half mile away, I came upon a bunch of vehicles parked willy-nilly at the side of the country road. That's odd. They're all pickup trucks. As I passed, there was a deafening eruption of gunfire. It was an outdoor shooting range, with people firing guns maybe 30 feet from my window.

"Well, it's two weeks before hunting season," explained the realtor, as if it's my expectations that are insane.