This sign was posted on the window of a local business in Philadelphia:

"We would rather do business with 1000 al-Qaida terrorists than with one single American."

You are probably outraged by such an inflammatory statement. One would expect anti-hate groups from all across the country to be marching on this business with the National Guard being called to keep the angry crowds back. On the other hand, in these stressful times it might be alright to let the proprietors make their statement; our society holds Freedom of Speech as perhaps our greatest liberty. And, after all, it's just a sign.

Just what kind of business would dare post such a sign, anyway?

It was a funeral home.



From funeral home, it's easy to move on to the aged and the aging , a process with which I am becoming quite familiar. How about these, for example:

• Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?"

"98," she replied. "Two years older than me."

"So you're 96," the undertaker commented, to which she responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?"

• Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked. She replied, "No peer pressure."

• The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.

• I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees. Fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

• I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

• An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.

"Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?"

"Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week."

• My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

• Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

• I've still got it, but nobody wants to see it.

• I'm getting into swing dancing. Not on purpose. Some parts of my body are just prone to swinging.

• It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffeemaker.

• These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."

• Don't think of it as getting hot flashes. Think of it as your inner child playing with matches.

• Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back up!

• Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

And then there's The Senility Prayer: Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do and the eyesight to tell the difference.