Our esteemed veteran member HaEn had a birthday last month and nobody remarked about it here. I sent him the comments below after
his birthday since some people of a certain age may no lontger wish to be reminded of their birthdays.
For those who don't know him, Andy Rooney was a noted commentator on the US TV show 60 minutes who died last month at the age of 92, a month after he retired.
ONE DAMN BIRTHDAY AFTER ANOTHER
by Andy Rooney from “Common Nonsense”
Someone said "I see you celebrated your birthday yesterday."
"No," I said, gracelessly. "I HAD a birthday yesterday. There was nothing celebratory about it."
It's true. I do not take birthdays lying down. I hate them.
It's hard to say at what age you reach the top of the hill and start down the back side. You reach the top physically and start downhill much sooner than you reach your intellectual peak. Or, at least that's what people my age like to believe because evidence of our physical deterioration is evident to everyone while any mental decline that takes place is not so apparent.
I often try to assess my intellectual powers, now that I've passed 80, and compare them with what I had when I was 20, 50 and 60. I don't notice any diminution in them although I realize I'd be the last to notice if they were gone. There are some small indications that I might be losing it a little but I dismiss those. They are based on minor memory lapses on my part and I don't deny those. forgetting a few things doesn't bother me. I have filled my life full and have a great deal to remember.
The clearest evidence of age is how eagerly I look for evidence that I haven't slipped. I relish the newspaper story reporting the success of the 94-year-old scientist, novelist or marathon runner. At football games, I used to cheer for Ottis Anderson because he was the oldest running back in the league at 34.
There has always been propaganda in favor of the idea that wisdom comes with age but you can bet no one young started the rumor. The truth is that a person 80 is a totally different person than a person 20 and a comparison of their intellect is as impractical as comparing the home-run hitting ability of Babe Ruth with that of Sammy Sosa. If the young person makes the mathematical calculations quicker, the old one says he understands what they mean better. At my age I take the position he's right. Old people shouldn't let young people take the world away from them.
I look back, with some satisfaction, on what an idiot I was when I was 25. When I do that, I'm assuming I no longer am one. Were I to live another 80 years, I'm sure I'd look back at 2003 and wonder how I could have been so stupid way back then.
If there is one sign of my age that bothers me more than others, it's my tendency to become more conservative in political and social opinions. I admire liberals more than conservatives and am concerned to see myself, more and more often, in agreement with the conservatives with whom I've always disagreed.
There is nothing good about birthdays and true friends would ignore them. My birthday was announced on some radio and morning television news broadcasts and, perhaps I'm too sensitive, but I notice a certain gloating in the voices of the people making the announcement. You seldom hear them give a birth date for someone younger than they are.
It's widely assumed that age is a defect and one from which no one ever recovers.
I don't feel physically or mentally infirm and the only thing I reluctantly concede about my age is that I am, statistically speaking, closer to death than someone 70, 60 or 12.
When I was in high school, I got all choked up reading the poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay's verse:
I only know that summer sang in me,
A little while, that in me sings no more.
I no longer choke on that, I gag. Pardon me for saying so, Edna, but these days your verse strikes me as pretentious hot air. Life--summer, winter, fall or spring--sings to me as it always did and I hate birthdays because 1 don't want the music to stop.