Of late I appear
To have reached that stage
When people who look old
Who are only my age….Robert Browning.
Yep, today is my birthday. I took the day off, not to celebrate, but because I have a lot of errands to run and because I could. You’re supposed to stop counting birthdays as celebrations around about 11. But then there are those milestone birthdays: 13 Teenager, 16 Driver’s License, 18 High School Graduation, 21 Drinking Age, 30 Downhill, 50 Picking Up Speed, 75 Damn Old, 100 What The Hell Am I Still Doing Here.
“Old people are fond of giving good advice; it consoles them for no longer being capable of setting a bad example”- Francois De La Rochefoucauld. This couldn’t be more true in my case. I’ve set a lot of bad examples, but now that I can give out “good” advice no one listens to me.
Muhammad Ali said, “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” I relate to this as well. I don’t see the world the same anymore. I’m a lot more cynical. Now when you get a mortgage you know you’re probably not going to live long enough to pay it off. You start looking at retirement and realize you’re going to be retiring, literaly, at your desk. The joke is always, I’ll be a greeter at Walmart, or get on the “Hire a Geezer” program at McDonald’s so I can at least have one meal a day.
But as Henry Ford said, “You take all of the experience and judgment of men over 50 out of the world and there wouldn’t be enough left to run it.” I take some, what’s the word, oh yeah, comfort from that. And remember “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most, live the longest.”- Father Larry Lorenzoni.
Every year on my birthday, I used to play Rod McKuen‘s “People On Their Birthdays” from his Sold Out birthday concert at Carnegie Hall. Song has been in my head all day. They say you can’t get a song out of your head because you can’t remember all the lyrics. So I looked them up.
People on their birthdays all live in yesterday
before the kids grew up and went their own ambitious way
wasn’t it something that long-ago July
that’s about the time birthday people start to cry.
Happy Birthday, drink a toast to me
I’m all of ten and goin’ on a hundred twenty-three.
People on their birthdays are fond of looking back
to half remembered yesterdays when things were not so black
some other summer when playin’ ball was fun
and life’s rewards were choc’late bars and two-bit bubble gum.
There’s more, but I won’t bore you with it.
George Burns said, “People ask me what I’d most appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday, I tell them a paternity suit.” That’s what I want. George Burns lived to be a 100, drank a martini every day, and smoked a dozen cigars. I once remember him saying, “Doctor told me to quit once. Doctor is dead now.”
“There is still no cure for the common birthday.”- John Glenn. Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. They were much appreciated.