By Ralph Hood

I thought I knew everything when I was 18 years old — I was wrong.

Young folks can’t look back to their “old-time” memories because they have lived such a short time. The older I get, the more I remember the “old times.”

Here are some things I wonder about…

The great questions of life as seen by someone nearing the end of life:

Why didn’t I? Danged if I know. Maybe because I didn’t know any better?

Is it too late? Yes, it is.

For example…

As a teen, I showed off by biting caps off of Coca Cola bottles with my teeth! Today, I have a mouthful of junk metal, fake enamel and plastic. I usually can’t even open a bottle of aspirin with my teeth. They are “my” teeth only because I bought and paid for them. It costs a fortune to maintain them, too.

That brings up the questions: Why didn’t I, and is it too late? I dunno, and yes it is.

Soon thereafter, at Clemson, I started to win bets by lifting the front ends of small foreign cars. Today? Today, I can’t bend over without being assaulted violently and painfully by my aging, complaining and pitiful back.

Sometimes I fall to the floor and lie there flopping as a just-caught fish flops on the dock. It’s terrible. I don’t even bend over unless it is absolutely, positively, necessary. After a fall, I just stay down there for awhile to rest up.

When I was 21, I parachuted out of perfectly good airplanes just for the fun of it. When I recovered from being 21, I quit doing that.

Was I finally getting smarter? Not really.

Here’s another of life’s great questions…

Why didn’t I listen?

I dunno, but kids today are the same dang way.

My father bought a new Chevrolet — a “deluxe” model by golly — in 1951. By the time I got my driver’s license, that car was six years old and was, in my opinion, a piece of junk.

I begged and pleaded with Daddy to buy a newer car. I was in the front yard with friends one day and Daddy called from the front door. I went over and he said he wanted to show me something.

Daddy said, “In 1951 I bought that Chevy for about $1,100. Here’s the invoice. See?” “Yessir,” I said.

Then he said, “That same year, 1951, I bought that empty lot right next door. Do you remember that?” “Yessir.” “Now that lot cost a little less than I paid for the car. See?” “Yessir.”

“Now,” sez he, “today, they tell me that car is worth $300, or maybe $350. Would you like to know what I can sell that lot for today?” “Yessir.”

“That lot,” he said, “is worth $4,000.”

Today, I wonder. Why didn’t I Iisten?    I dunno.

Change of Subject:

My last column was about “Hair Hurts and other Weirdos.” Many of you have said that it was mean of us to mistreat Hair Hurts that way. Be ye advised that Hair Hurts flunked out of Clemson, went back up “nawth” to live, got a cute girl friend and — listen up, now — he brought that cute girl all the way back to Clemson to visit his old friends and see where we had lived. He also told her — pay attention — that he had been happier at Clemson than any other place in his life.

So there!