Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

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Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

During my career as a late-in-life columnist, I have been blessed with the opportunity to chronicle three birthdays ending in zero.

(My so-called “good” cholesterol has not exactly overperformed in helping me reach these milestones. It usually “phones in” its duties, and even then apologizes, “Sorry, driving into a dead zone here” an awful lot of the time.)

It’s six years until another “big” birthday, but as a Beatles fan, I have eagerly anticipated writing this essay about the fast-approaching day “when I’m sixty-four.”

(And as an Elton John fan, I’ve eagerly anticipated building up the nerve to tell my wife, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting the Urge to Go Shoe Shopping.” But I digress.)

Paul McCartney composed the melody of the cabaret-style song when he was a mere lad of 14. A decade later, with the assistance of John Lennon, he fine-tuned the lyrics (including “Will you still need me, will you still feed me?”) for use in the iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

Sure, maybe the upbeat song about growing old together naively glosses over the unforeseen obstacles that can intervene over the course of four or five decades. But it’s reassuring to imagine someone thinking beyond instant gratification. It does my heart good any time young people swim against the current and do some common sense long-range planning.

This foresight could involve relationships, diet-and-exercise regimens, retirement accounts, career path, backup career path, backup backup career path, best methods for disposing of the body of the ^&%$# who made your entire industry obsolete and so forth.

I try to be realistic when dispensing sage advice. It’s part of the human condition that recommendations go in one ear and out the other when you tell wrinkle-free people who feel 10-feet-tall and bullet-proof that old age sneaks up on you.

(Granted, it doesn’t sneak up on you as fast as that metastasizing kitchen junk drawer. Kids, don’t try this at home! Store your junk in a neighbor’s kitchen drawer instead!)

Commitment is commendable, but it should be based on a sober assessment of the facts at hand. Nothing against childhood sweethearts (“Hey, let’s tell the divorce lawyer about the time your dissected frog got stuck in my braces!”), but I’m glad my wife and I knew what we were looking for by the time we finally met. I’m glad we had a long engagement to get to know each other better.

Let’s face it: too many people lower their standards and rush into relationships. Exhibit A: the stereotypical Dear Abby letter.

“Dear Abby: My live-in boyfriend of 13 years, ‘Zach’ (not his real name – he won’t tell me his real name) has never spent a dime on food or utilties and in fact has me working a third job as an Eastern European mercenary to support his ex’s cousin’s air guitar lessons. I changed the locks after my pet ferret hit Zach with a paternity suit, but I relented when Zach got a paper cut from his porn collection. I’m starting to have doubts again since I learned that Zach has been harvesting my organs while I sleep. Shall I help him pack, or can I still change him before my systems shut down?”

I hope I can coast to sixty-four! My good cholesterol is breaking up like a fast-food drive-thru speaker. Mmmm…fast food…

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”

Controversial author Harlan Ellison once described the work of Danny Tyree as "wonkily extrapolative" and said Tyree's mind "works like a demented cuckoo clock."

Ellison was speaking primarily of Tyree’s 1983-2000 stint on the "Dan T’s Inferno" column for “Comics Buyer’s Guide” hobby magazine, but the description would also fit his weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades" column for mainstream newspapers.

Inspired by Dave Barry, Al "Li'l Abner" Capp, Lewis Grizzard, David Letterman, and "Saturday Night Live," "Tyree's Tyrades" has been taking a humorous look at politics and popular culture since 1998.

Tyree has written on topics as varied as Rent-A-Friend.com, the Lincoln bicentennial, "Woodstock At 40," worm ranching, the Vatican conference on extraterrestrials, violent video games, synthetic meat, the decline of soap operas, robotic soldiers, the nation's first marijuana café, Sen. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!" outburst at President Obama, Internet addiction, "Is marriage obsolete?," electronic cigarettes, 8-minute sermons, early puberty, the Civil War sesquicentennial, Arizona's immigration law, the 50th anniversary of the Andy Griffith Show, armed teachers, "Are women smarter than men?," Archie Andrews' proposal to Veronica, 2012 and the Mayan calendar, ACLU school lawsuits, cutbacks at ABC News, and the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

Tyree generated a particular buzz on the Internet with his column spoofing real-life Christian nudist camps.

Most of the editors carrying "Tyree’s Tyrades" keep it firmly in place on the opinion page, but the column is very versatile. It can also anchor the lifestyles section or float throughout the paper.

Nancy Brewer, assistant editor of the "Lawrence County (TN) Advocate" says she "really appreciates" what Tyree contributes to the paper. Tyree has appeared in Tennesee newspapers continuously since 1998.

Tyree is a lifelong small-town southerner. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. In addition to writing the weekly "Tyree’s Tyrades," he writes freelance articles for MegaBucks Marketing of Elkhart, Indiana.

Tyree wears many hats (but still falls back on that lame comb-over). He is a warehousing and communications specialist for his hometown farmers cooperative, a church deacon, a comic book collector, a husband (wife Melissa is a college biology teacher), and a late-in-life father. (Six-year-old son Gideon frequently pops up in the columns.)

Bringing the formerly self-syndicated "Tyree's Tyrades" to Cagle Cartoons is part of Tyree's mid-life crisis master plan. Look for things to get even crazier if you use his columns.