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You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

“You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.”

Whoa, the Joe Biden campaign has rushed in to mop up this latest (to date) head-scratcher with an explanation like “oh, it’s a line from a John Wayne movie.” As if that explains why Biden said this to a young woman who questioned his sorry showing in the Iowa caucuses.

“You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.”

Writers on a couple of popular sites I checked aren’t asking WTF? but instead are searching through old movies as if the greatest puzzler should be Biden’s accuracy in quoting lines from movies?

More on Biden in a minute, but first……………

Have you had your first Medicare Wellness exam?

Spoiler Alert.

At the beginning of the examination, a nurse will provide three words that you will be asked to remember about twenty minutes later.

“Red, blanket, chair.” You hear these words and then you panic. This could be life-altering.

I tell you this because I am at the age when every lapse—especially the frequent “what did I enter this room to get?”—is a reminder that amyloid plaque may be homesteading in my head. This is a topic of conversation when friends get together, when we, the Sisterhood, talk. These are the advanced years or declining years or elderliness or second childhood or the winter of one’s life or dotage or die already. Even though we’ve made a lifetime of mistakes and learned enough to give listenable advice. To which no one appears eager to listen.

I’m struggling here. With age, with relevance, but, surely, I can impart knowledge that comes from experience. Something more meaningful than explaining why my malaise is more significant than your existential angst.

Isn’t this the period in life during which, according to Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs), we become self-actualized? When we reach our full potential and give of ourselves to something beyond ourselves?”

Back to Joe Biden, but, first, I need to check his age. Give me a minute. Sigh of relief. He’s 77. Maybe I have a few more years before I’m shouting, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” Still, it’s prudent to plan, confirm that my end-of-life decisions are known to my children, my siblings, and to my physicians. Reminder: advance directive.

For added measure, I’ll be nitpickingly detailed and include the following instructions: If I ever say to anyone, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier,” do not allow me to run for president of the United States, to run for a seat on my condo board, to go outdoors on my own, or be relied on to make anything more complicated than Jello to take to one of my grandsons’ birthday parties.

Could someone see that Dr. Jill Biden receives a copy of this?

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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