Op-Ed:SFGN’s Senior Edition Was A Hit

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You gotta laugh. Someone complained last week’s senior edition did not appeal to “young people.” Like they read?

This has been a very weird birthday week. I don’t feel a day older than I did yesterday. I am still young, nearly seven decades young. But wherever I turn, I see my friends reflecting on their lives.

I just don’t have time to look back. I have a paper to put out every week.

Meanwhile, one of our former columnists, Brian McNaught, is spending time posting columns on Facebook about all the old travel photographs he and his husband have stored in their closet, fondly recalling their journeys.

Brian was once an author, but if you read his posts today you realize he has become a prophet. He understands and relishes the importance of the here and now. Every moment is precious. He’s right, especially if you forget to take your pills on time.

My favorite cousin, Nadine Baker, just posted about her 50th high school reunion. She went to Long Island last week to celebrate it. Cherished memories re-gathered to carry forward. Life is a collection of them.

One of my legal colleagues and best buddies, Alvin Entin, who shares a birthday with me, is on Facebook this week too, writing affectionately about his wife, six kids, and Dwight Eisenhower. Talk about journeys into yesterday.

Alvin wrote that Republicans are not what they used to be. Yes, once they were just Neanderthal. Now, they are mean too.

A fellow camper from the 1960’s, now a respected comedienne, Cathy Ladman, just talked about turning 63. But she is still smiling and telling jokes, finding laughter in the living of life. May I dare suggest there is no laughter greater than the ability to laugh at yourself. You will never cease to be amused.

Speaking of which, last week SFGN’s Senior Edition failed to write about SAGE. That’s like eating scrambled eggs without bacon. Well, their letter in this week’s paper makes up for that careless breach of common sense by my all too defensive, out of touch, too comfortably married, editor in chief.

SAGE is proof positive that aging can be full of fun, fitness, and forays into the future. We can walk in the sunshine, not dwell in the shadows. We can still be all we want to be. As long as we have breath, there is beauty to see.

Reality does invade the news daily though, damn it. Just saw that Paul Allen, Microsoft’s founder, has passed away from non-Hodgkin lymphoma at an age younger than me. But wait, you can beat that one, I thought. I did. Not always, I guess.

What a great and charitable life Allen lived. What a man of character, who gave his heart and hope to so many. Just like my business partner, visiting his own 92-year-old mother in Italy this week. He’s cherishing the moments he has in distant places while I am bankrupting him here at home.

I also found out this week I have some sort of new skin melanoma that requires a “simple surgical” removal procedure. Yeah, for the doctor who has performed the surgery many times, it may be simple. Tell that to Joan Rivers. But this seems nominal.

Still, someday the story won’t be about someone else. I just don’t want to think about it now. It might get in the way of a relationship with a new intern or my trip to the World Series if the Dodgers can get past Milwaukee this weekend. The Dodgers have not won in 30 years, and I swore off sex until they do again.

I have already dealt with three cardiac procedures this year. I have my own pacemaker and defibrillator. Had them painted Dodger Blue. So this new interruption should be a piece of cake, I tell myself. Entemann’s, I hope. Then I remember that a captain on the Titanic first told a few passengers all they had done was just stop the ship to pick up some ice. You never know.

I got a call last night that my older brother was brought to the ER at 10 p.m., without ever considering that the Dodgers had loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at the time, and were down 4-0. My younger brother, who lives in Denver, texted for an immediate update. I told him the Dodgers had lost.

In the meantime, I called Alexa on Echo and ordered new hurricane windows for my home. Gotta look forward. When you are younger, you don’t think as much about the future. You just live in the present.

In youth, you just get on the surfboard and ride the waves. If they knock you down, you just rise to the surface and do it again. If you bang your head on the board, your brothers and sisters, mom and dad are there for you. You aren’t worried. You are invincible. Not when you are older.

So here I am on Facebook looking at the stories some of my friends are posting. We seem to be reflecting on what was, not of what can be. We all need to join that group Boys with Boats.” Let’s be kids again, and sail the ocean blue.

Maybe you can’t be a shortstop for the NY Yankees anymore, but I bet you there is a croquet tournament at John Knox Village you can win. Who is game?

We have wasted youth on the young, a famous writer once opined. But who really appreciates a hot dancer at the Boardwalk more, someone who is 17 or 70?

We can still celebrate age without celibacy, right? Just need a few heart and cholesterol pills along the way. Didn’t Nelson Rockefeller die doing the happy on his desk?

I am not going to think about death and dying at all. As I push towards that number 70, I am going to think about life and living. However, when I do pass to that great ballpark in the sky, I want to go peacefully in my sleep, as my grandfather did. Not screaming like the other three passengers in his car.


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