Older Than I Look – the story behind the song

‘Older Than I Look’ (subtitled ‘Younger Than I Feel’) is one song that is not based on a true story. It’s based on observation and experience distilled into a coherent tele-play narrative.

‘Older’ is a kind of ‘fish-out-of -water’ story. It’s the story of an older ‘fish’ who is slowly realizing that the water has changed and he is expected to change as well.

I presented the story in a series of vignettes which illustrate the quandary that the narrator and his unnamed friend find themselves living in a world of ‘Me, Too’ and gender fluidity.

The first indication that the narrator is out of step with the times is in the opening vignette and his reference to ‘a pretty little thing’. Such archaic, disrespectful terminology is frowned upon as dismissive, dehumanizing and misogynic – as well it should be.  The narrator, a member of an earlier generation, is oblivious to his social faux pas.

According to the decorum of an older generation, however, a polite gentleman was expected to tip his hat and offer greeting to women he encountered. The narrator shows that he is stuck in an earlier time.  Those cordial gestures – once seen as essential courtesies – are misunderstood and even resented by a generation who has never experienced those courtesies. The young woman in question, whom the narrator sees strolling on the street, is taken aback and questions his intentions if not his sanity.

The next episode takes place in a small restaurant (an eatery) where the narrator is a frequent patron. He, once more, is confronted by a member of a younger generation who is working as a wait staff. He greets her with what he considers an appropriate manner ‘Howdy, Hon’, which goes over like a lead balloon with the ‘20-something waitress’ who reacts with a pique the narrator does not expect. She goes on to read him the riot act heaping approbation on his glib, sexist demeanor.

More than a bit exasperated, he explains that he simply wants to place his order and intended no sexual innuendo or untoward implication; ‘I tell you this, I’m older than I look and younger than I feel’. He then gives her his order of the blandest of foods; Farina, broth, dry toast and – in an attempt at wry humor – an  order of  ‘Metamucil’, a dietary supplement used to insure regularity of bowels.

Next, the narrator’s friend joins him for lunch and commiseration. The ‘oldest friend’ whinges about his age and wistfully reminisces about their younger days. The narrator – obviously the wiser of the two –reminds him scoffingly that they had done ‘stupid shit’ in their youth. The friend then, in response, flips the title phrase on its head by saying ‘I’m younger than I look and older than I feel’ implying that he has lots of vim and vigor housed in a rather ravaged exterior.

The old friend then cracks an off-color joke about feeling like an ’18-year-old… maybe two’ – meaning two young sex partners – clearly inferring that he hasn’t yet learned, as an old fish, how to navigate the new social waters.

Older Than I Look, Younger Than I feel
DC Rapier ©2018

So, I’m strolling down the street the other day
A pretty little thing comes walking my way
I tip my hat ‘n’ say ‘Howdee do?’
She eyeballs me as if to say ‘Dad, what’s got into you?’ 

I smile ‘n’ shrug ‘n’ shake it off; I got someplace to be
Gonna meet a friend of mine at a local eatery.
I slide into the corner booth; check the specials of the day
When a 20-something waitress traipses over with her tray

(Here she comes now, traipsing…)

I say ‘Howdy, Hon! You’re new here. Won’tcha tell me what’s your name?’
She puts down her tray, cocks her head ‘n’ sneers “I don’t play that game.
Why, you’re old enough to be my dad. You oughta be ashamed.
I got a good mind to slap your face.” Yeah, she was that inflamed.

I throw up my hands, say “Ho-ho-hold it there. No need to be so rude.
I ain’t trying to make a play. I just wanna get some food.
Since you’re new, you might not know I’ve been coming here for years.
And all that time, I’ve been watching myself grow old in the shaving mirror.

I’ll tell you this: I’m older than I look but I’m younger than I feel.

Right now, I feel like some Farina; a cup of broth; some dry toast, Metamucil…”

Right then, my oldest friend comes in and he’s looking rather glum.
He says, “Y’know what I really miss the most ‘bout being young n dumb?”
I say “Tell me, son; might it be all the stupid shit we done?”
“Well, there is that, my friend, but you gotta admit it was lotsa fun!

But now; I’m younger than I look but I’m older than I feel

Right now, I feel like an 18-year-old; maybe two; one blonde, an’ …
Yeah, I know. Dream on, old man. Dream on…”

 

 

[ 中文歌詞翻譯 ]

前幾天我在街上散步
一位漂亮的小姐迎面走來
我禮貌地向她打了個招呼 “你好!”
她仔細地盯著我看好似在說 ”老爹, 你是怎麼回事?“
我微笑了一下, 聳了聳肩擺脫掉剛剛那份感覺; 我還得趕著去個地方
跟我朋友約好了在當地的餐廳碰面
我坐在靠近角落的位子; 看著今天才有的特餐
一個看起來二十幾歲的女服務生拿著托盤閒蕩
(現在她正往我坐的位子走過來…漫無目的地閒蕩…)

我說 ”你好, 甜心!“ 你是新來的. 你要不要告訴我你的名字啊?
她把托盤放下, 歪著頭並輕蔑地笑著
”我不玩那種遊戲. 為什麼? 因為你年紀大到可以當我的父親. 你應該感到羞恥. 我真想打你一巴掌.“
沒錯, 她生了很大的氣
我舉起了我的雙手, 我說”等一下, 沒有必要這麼粗魯無禮吧“
我沒有要跟你玩任何遊戲, 我只是想點些東西吃
由於你是新來的, 你可能不知道我是這裡的顧客已經有很多年
許久以來, 我一直看著自己在鏡子中慢慢變老. 我可以告訴你:
我看起來比實際的年紀年輕但是我已經感覺慢慢在變老 (x3)
(現在, 我想吃點麥片, 喝點清湯, 再來點麵包跟纖維素…)

那時候我一位老朋友進來了,他看上去有點沮喪
他說, “你知道什麼是我最懷念我們那段年少無知的歲月嗎?”
我說, “告訴我, 老朋友; 該不會是我們一起所做那些愚蠢的事吧?”
嗯, 那是其中之一, 我的朋友啊, 但是你必須承認那是非常有趣的吧!
但是現在, 我看起來比實際的年紀老但是我感覺我還是充滿活力 (x3)
(現在, 我覺得我才18歲; 也許是兩個;一個金髮女郎,一個…
是的, 我知道. 繼續妄想, 老頭. 繼續做夢…)
我看起來可能有點老但是我感覺我還是年輕

[ 此首歌的背景及故事 ]

在小時後, 我們耳濡目染當時社會中的一些禮俗及文化, 但是隨著年齡的增長, 整個風俗文化也跟著有所變化, 而從年輕人變成老年人時, 仍然會根據自已所熟悉的背景, 習俗, 言語用詞等等繼續生活, 即使其中有些情況已不再適用. 而這一首歌的故事, 最主要在表達隨著時代的變遷, 兩代溝通的差異及認知的不同, 而老一代則需要做一些調整來平衡這個落差及適應時事的變化. 而歌詞中的兩位男主角即使年紀差不多, 但因為周遭人事物的影響而造成心境的不同.

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Gigs for DC Are Adding Up

DC Rapier with Small Town Boys in performance

The recording of my first solo album, ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’, triggered my creative juices. Since the beginning of 2019, I’ve been writing like never before – certainly  not since my time as an aspiring song-writer in Nashville on Music Row.

(These new songs are far more personal than the ones I wrote way back when in Tennessee, of course. These songs are for me – but I digress…)

In a sense, I’ve been paddling in two canoes; one foot is in the song-writing canoe where I’ve written another dozen solid songs. The other foot is in the ‘band-leader canoe’ where I’ve been putting together a four-piece band, ‘Small Town Boys’, to learn new arrangements for the old songs and realize my new ones.

It’s been great fun and as well as a lot of hard work on everyone’s part. Now, comes the task of adding a third canoe to the mix; acting as a booking agent. The month of September is for solo gigs. October is a mix of solo gigs, duos with Mark Howe and band gigs. Thereafter, most gigs will be for DC & Small Town Boys, as we continue to add new songs to the ‘old’ ones.

Check the calendar (‘Shows’ on the home page) for times, dates,  venues and shows.

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Life Lessons

I’ve been asked why I’ve troubled myself to record an album of original songs at the age of 68. It’s hardly a time to start a new career after 25 years of teaching English as a foreign language in Taiwan. I should be doting over my grandkids, comfy on my sofa, drinking a beer and watching football on TV.

Why undertake the trouble and expense (!) to self-finance an album?

I can only answer that this is what I was meant to do. I know that sounds airy-fairy and metaphysical but I don’t mean it that way. I have spent years working towards a recognition of my abilities. I know that I can sing. I know that I can act. I know that I can perform and entertain. I know that I can write songs and stories.  What I desire is that those abilities are recognized, appreciated and enjoyed by others. It’s like having more food than you need; you are inclined to share it.

I want to share my experiences. I want to share my observations. I want to share what I have learned.  After being a teacher for most of my adult life, I’m teaching with my songs. ‘If It Ain’t Broke’ epitomizes that notion as does ‘Bloodied But Unbowed’, ‘Wildwood’, ‘Best Laid Plans’, ‘The Best Thing in My Life’, etc.

I’m nearly 70 years old  and have survived episodes which probably would have broken the spirit of most folks. With the loving help of my friends and family, I’ve stayed alive long enough to thrive in Taiwan. The lessons of my life have been hard won and are of inestimable value.  For what it’s worth, I want to share those life lessons.

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Sexagenarian Re-launches Music Career in Taiwan

Retired English teacher, DC Rapier, devotes his nest egg to his life-long dream of releasing his first solo album of original songs, ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’.
At 68 years old, DC Rapier has delivered a baker’s dozen of diverse tunes ranging from country/gospel to rock with nods at reggae, jazz and rock & roll.

Shunning the digital props of modern recording, DC did it ‘old school’ with no synthesizers, no multi-tracking of parts and no auto-tune. With few over-dubs; , the album is essentially a live album played in a studio – the way it used to be done when “giants roamed the land” as DC relates in the title track.

Called “Stax Records meets the American Songbook”, ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ is a masterwork 50 years in the making. Industry insiders have compared DC’s songs to David Bowie, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd.

‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ is a “welcome return to a musical generation that I missed entirely’.

‘Feeling Fifteen Again’
“shines with nostalgia, humor, and driving rock – proves that youth doesn’t have to be wasted on the young.”

Half a century ago, that DC left his home in Kankakee, Illinois to pursue a career in music – a trip that took him to Nashville and Los Angeles with stops along the way at Woodstock (Yes, he was there and has witnesses!), Denver and Chicago before settling in Taipei, Taiwan.

After 30 years of teaching English as a foreign language, DC retired to focus on his dream of recording an album of new, original material. Bringing on board fellow American, Andrew Page, as producer and music director of the project, DC used his nest-egg to personally finance the venture.

When asked ‘Why now?’, DC replies, “In trying to explain that in an off-the-cuff fashion, I realized just how complex that answer truly is. The shorter answer is that many, many facets had to come together. A myriad variables had to attain syzygy.” 


Feeling Fifteen Again’ and songs from the album are available on-line at Amazon, Napster, Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, GooglePlay and iTunes.
Contact DC Rapier at dcr.bsot@gmail.com or through his FB artist page; www.facebook.com/DCRsolo/ ,or through his website at – dcrapier.com

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‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ Official Music Video

Feeling Fifteen Again official MV.
Check out the official music video of “Feeling Fifteen Again” now!  

Music and lyrics written by DC Rapier

Produced by Andrew Page 葉祖安

Edited by Andrew Shen 沈旻賢

Videographers: Cheng Shuen-Ren 鄭舜仁, Jen Pong-Yuan 任鵬元

Art Director: Ivy Lin 林欣蓉

Lead Vocals: DC Rapier

Guitar: Jacob Liang

Fender Rhodes: Duke Page

Bass: G. E. Anderson

Drums: Chuck Payne

Backing Vocals: Queenie 黃琨婷, Suzanne 任書欣

Recorded and filmed May 21st, 2019 at Yu Chen Cinema Studios Taipei, Taiwan

Recording Engineer: Jason Hsu

Mixed by Jay Rodgers at Full Moon Studios Athens, Georgia USA

Mastered by Brian Elgin at Radpit Studios Taipei

Production Assistant: Johnnie Lin