Boy! Have I got good news for those of us growing older.

Thanks to Dr. Michael Ramscar of the University of Tuebingen in Germany and his research team, we old-timers are not nuts. Nor do we all have the start of Alzheimer's.

Whew. I gotta tell you, I had been a'feared.

According to their findings, older people do not decline mentally with age. It just takes us longer to recall facts because we have more information in our brains. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets filled up, likewise humans take longer to access information. Researchers say this slowing down is not the same as cognitive decline.

"The human brain works slower in old age," said Ramscar, "but only because we have stored more information over time. The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more."

The reason why brains of older adults slow down is because they take longer to process constantly increasing amounts of knowledge. They argue that this process is frequently confused with cognitive decline.

In other words, we are stinkin' BRILLIANT!

Of course, brilliant is not how I feel when I misplace things.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a baby shower to go to. I waited until I was almost ready to go out the door to get my gift ready. I knew it wouldn't take long. I just had to wrap a book and place the gift card to Babies R Us in a card and put them in a gift bag. I went to the computer room where I usually park stuff. No bag from Babies R Us. I searched every possible place I could have put it. Nada. Searched the spare bedroom. Zilch. Checked my closet. Nein. In desperation, I checked the car. Nope.

I came to the only possible conclusion ... maybe I left it in the store?

Do you do stuff like that? Put things away and then can't find them? Do you get so frustrated you cry? Or stamp your feet in a childish rage?

I looked at the clock. I was late in picking my mom up. I called her and told her I was running a little late and the reason why. She didn't sound surprised. Why? Because she's used to this "ritual" of my losing things. My mom is in her 80s, and she never loses things like I do. So what does that mean, Dr. Michael Ramscar?

"Ach, dis hast nothinik to do with age. Dis is a sign of just being cuckoo," I could hear him saying.

I finally made the executive decision to go to the baby shower empty-handed, pray no one would notice I didn't bring a gift and later buy another and send it to the couple.

But I knew I brought home the gifts. I knew it had to be somewhere in the house. Determined to give it one last try, I stood in the doorway of the computer room. I did a systematic search of the room with my eyes. Guess what? There was the bag. Underneath the computer desk. I simply stared at it in amazement. There was just no rhyme or reason to why I put it there.

I'm pretty sure I heard a cuckoo bird flitting around my head.

Or did it just take longer for me to recall the facts? Hmmm. Yeah. Let's go with that.

***

I love emails that try to make me feel better about getting older. Here are some pearls of wisdom. And remember, if we can't laugh about it, we might as well just give up now and let our kids set us adrift on an ice floe out to sea.

Inside every 70-year-old is a 35-year-old asking, "What happened?"

The trouble with class reunions is that old flames have become even older.

Old age is always 15 years older than I am.

You know you're getting old when your joints are more accurate than the weatherman.

You know you're getting old when you are on vacation and your energy runs out before your money does.

You know you're getting old when you need a vacation ... from your vacation.

You know you're getting old when it takes you longer to get over having a good time than it took to have it.

You know you're getting old when the girl you just smiled at thinks you are one of her father's friends.

You just can't win. When you get too old for pimples, you go right into wrinkles.

The worst thing about growing old is having to listen to the advice of one's children.

Our aim in life improves as we grow older, but it seems that we run out of ammunition sooner.

Grandchildren don't make a woman feel old. It's knowing that she's married to a grandfather.

Darn, old age is unpredictable. One morning you wake up ... and BAM! There it is.

***

For all my Irish friends, this one's for you in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Monday.

If Irish eyes are smilin', it might be from a joke,

Like told by my friend Paddy, a dear old Irish bloke.

It seems he was a walkin', in a cemetery cold,

When he came across a headstone, made of granite, tall and bold.

"Here lies a politician and an honest man," it was engraved.

"Faith now," Paddy wondered, "how did they get the two of them in just that one grave?"