August 7, 2007


Well I went and did it. I became, without any fanfare, a septuagenarian. It's the first decade I have entered where it occurs to me that I might not be around for the next. I herewith paraphrase something I read recently, I have used up all the time allotted me and will embark upon borrowed time. Sometime this decade I and my septuagenarian body will coincide with that table that insurance companies spend so much time compiling. What, me worry? Of course not. That's a lie. Of course it concerns me. If I thought it would do any good I would spend an allotted time each day considering it, but it won't. Instead I will forget about something that's way out of my hands and instead perhaps go over the imaginary list of things I want to do before I depart this premises. Which reminds me of an ad I saw in a magazine just a day or two ago. Now if I still have it....Yes I do. It's an ad in Harpers mag right on the inside cover for Visa credit card. Apropos because you would need lots of bucks to fund this list. Maybe that's the idea. You think so? Duh. I still like to say that. Sorry.

The list goes like this:


Go to the Olympic Games
Tour MoMa with a personal guide
Visit an uninhabited island
Write a screenplay
Run with the bulls in Pamplona
Go scuba diving in Belize
Take your parents on a vacation
Experience Mongolia's Naadam Festival
Bungee Jump
Read and finish Moby Dick
Swim in all five oceans
Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Ride the Orient Express
Visit the Taj Mahal
Drive on the autobahn
See Iguazu Falls
Heli-ski in British Columbia
Play Pinehurst No. 2
Ski first tracks at Deer Valley
Go to the Super Bowl
Find peace, love and understanding

O.K. there's the list, obviously for the A-List folks, the elite among us. Have I done any of them. No sir, not one. Matter of fact, there is only one I would like to do, and that is Ride the Orient Express. Maybe while I was on the trip I could read a little Agatha Christie to add that little touch. It would be fun either way.

So to the point of this little essay. I've turned seventy, is it more significant than any of the others? No, not really. It's certainly no more fun than turning sixteen and getting my drivers license, a big birthday for guys. Or turning 21 and being able to do something adults can legally do, a touchstone of a guys life, being able to drink alcoholic drinks. Now that was really an anticlimax for me, I didn't then and still don't much care for the hard stuff, no loss. One day in December 1955 was probably my luckiest day, I married a girl who became a fine lady and who helped me grow up somewhat. I shared my birthday for a long time with my mother-in-law who liked me a little bit, that was fortunate. We shared a liking for chocolate covered jellied candy, and we also shared a birthday cake for many years. Birthdays are fun usually, but their prime function is not being the opportunity to consume vast quantities of chocolate cake, but the marking of the passage of time. Like all commodities, scarcity makes them more valuable. As the September Song says, the days dwindle down to a precious few and certainly Hogey must certainly have been correct. So becoming a Septuagenarian is nothing significant but worth marking, so now I will hopefully blunder my way as I seem able to do to the day I will wake up happy to have become overnight an Octogenarian, and wonder if I could possibly survive into my nineties. It's the way of the humans, we almost all of us think this way.

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