artistic rendering of muscular male body Actual body may differ from that pictured

Three score and counting

It's my birthday!

Three score years ago today, I was born in the town of Hastings, Minnesota. Although I have no recollections of the day — let's face it, at my age there are a lot of things I don't recollect — I assume that I greeted the world with a lusty scream, and some would say that I've been complaining ever since.

My attitude toward birthdays has shifted somewhat. There was a time — say, for the last forty years, give or take a few — when I looked forward to them with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. In fact, for a certain period of time I eschewed birthdays altogether, so much so that I actually lost track of my true age.

horse laugh

Living so deeply in Denial about birthdays led to a rather embarassing incident about a decade ago. I had decided to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of my birth by running the Vancouver Marathon, which fell that year on my birthday. The organizers of the race noticed this coincidence and made a big fuss by announcing it as I crossed the finish line, causing the spectators to erupt in cheers. I was chagrined at the time, because it meant I had to raise my arms and act like I was having fun, when in truth I would have taken a taxi if I had had any money on me. But even greater chagrin arose a few years later when I realized that it had, in fact, been my 51st birthday, not my 50th.

This attitude also provoked a bit of a dust-up at work. Dear, sweet Linda, the self-appointed keeper of the birthday list, became so distraught at my refusal to reveal my birthday that she finally said, "Fine. If you won't tell me what your birthday is, I'll make one up for you: May 15." Now that was spookily close.

birthday cake

But all that is behind me now. My new attitude is to look at birthdays as a significant accomplishment. A birthday means that I have eluded the grasp of the Grim Reaper for yet another year. A birthday means that I am one year closer to being able to use Social Security to pay my mortgage, at least while there are enough Boomers and Gen-whatevers still working that the system doesn't go bankrupt. And birthdays mean that I'm one step closer to being portrayed on a label of Smucker's jam by Willard Scott.

Life is good.

It also seems like a suitable time to answer several of your frequently (un)asked questions:

geezerdoll Geezer gift from Bob, who got it from Ray, who's likely get it back again next year
Q: Are you of sound mind and body?
A: Could you move closer, please. I can't find my glasses, and it's hard to read lips from so far away.
Q: Oh, sorry. So, how is your health?
A: I think I've answered that already.
Q: You retired to Palm Springs. Has living there made a difference in your life?
A: I have a lot more houseguests now than ever before.
Q: What do you miss about the "good old days"?
A: Tomatoes used to have flavor. Now they just taste like pale red cardboard.
Q: Do you have any regrets about your life so far?
A: I still haven't been able to pin anything on that black cat living next door.
Q: How do you see your life for the next 60 years?
A: Dimly. Very dimly.
Q: What's been the secret of your long life?
A: Don't die.
Q: Do you have any vices?
A: Some. Not nearly enough.
Q: Of all the things you haven't done yet, what would you most like to accomplish?
A: Win the damned lottery.
Q: Do you consider yourself old?
A: Well, now, it's all relative. Sometimes I feel old in the morning. Or when I think of all the things that weren't even invented yet when I was born, like television, or automatic transmissions, or velcro. But then, when I compare myself to someone like Bob Hope, or Mick Jagger, I think I'm pretty young.
Q: Excuse me, but isn't Mick Jagger younger than you are?
A: Well, technically, he was born after me, but look at my face and then look at his face — that's a face that aged in dog years, I say.
Q: I couldn't help but notice, mainly because I was snooping, that you have a lot of bottles of wine in that hall cabinet with a lock on the door. Do you drink?
A: For my heart. Red wine is good for the heart. And it makes people look younger. If you drink enough of it, everybody looks good.
Q: You live by yourself. Why do you have a lock on that door?
A: In case the black cat sneaks in the house and likes wine.
Q: I don't mean to be indelicate, but—
A: Then don't.
Q: Who's been the biggest influence on your life?
A: Sammy Davis Junior. When he kissed Archie Bunker that time, it just showed that even Republicans deserve love and tolerance.
Q: What do you think of kids nowadays?
A: They need to work harder and have more kids themselves, or Social Security's going to run out of money before my mortgage is paid off.
Q: What did you think of Cher's final tour?
A: That girl's had more than her tummy tucked!
Q: But did you like her costumes?
A: I'd like to borrow that black stringy one for Halloween, but I'm afraid it'd make my butt look big.
Q: What do you think is the best part of growing older?
A: You can say or do almost anything, and people just think you're being eccentric.
Q: Do you have any final words of advice for the rest of us?
A: If you see a waiter bringing me a martini, get the hell out of the way.