On Sixty

    “Never introduce a friend to a friend.” That was an axiom that my dad coined after arranging an ill-fated meeting between his two best friends at the time: irascible, opinionated Irishman Joe Walsh and hot-blooded, excitable Italian Eddie Carrisimi. The two developed an instant and continuing dislike for one another, thereby inspiring dad’s words of wisdom to me. Admittedly, “Never introduce a friend to a friend” does have a certain Poor Richard’s Almanac-ish ring to it, but my subsequent positive experiences with loads of friends-through-friends put the lie to that would-be adage in a hurry.
    However, one rule of thumb dad shared with me has held true over the years: He said that most people tend to define “old” as whatever their own age is, plus fifteen. I was about fifteen when he first told me this, and I remember thinking, “30-year-olds do look kind of...worn, and are probably not to be trusted---yeah, that’s old”. I’ve checked in from time to time through the decades to see if the formula still holds true. At thirty, rather than “worn”, I felt like I was in my prime and 45 was about when the hoariness of old age started creeping in. Then at 45, still feeling great, 60 looked like the demarcation for dotage. Don’t people retire at 60!?
    Well, today I’ve turned 60, no wish nor ability to retire, and still feeling great & unwornout, thankyouverymuch. I’m gratified to report that my 45-year research project (sample population: one) has supported dad’s old-age theorem. Happy on two counts… first, the vindication mitigates dad’s “never introduce a friend” misfire and helps get his parental wisdom quotient out of the basement. Secondly, I’m grateful not to be wallowing in a “Jeez, I’m over the hill!” funk, and I feel secure in the knowledge that even as I, Godwillin’, celebrate my 90th birthday, I will still feel a hopeful vitality, dampened only by a twinge of pity for the decrepit s.o.b’s who turn 105 that day— now that’s freakin’ old!

© 2018 Tom Manche