I was at an outdoor mall the other night with a friend and his college-age nephew. We were on our way to see a movie, walking down a street that’s only for pedestrians. Canned yuletide music was playing. “I can’t stand it,” I complained. “I don’t want to hear music when I’m outside. Bad enough I have to hear Christmas songs inside every store and supermarket and when I’m on hold on the phone.”
“You’re such a curmudgeon,” the nephew said to me.
I had lunch with a friend last September who’s a few years older than me (I’m 64). He and his wife are in advertising. We hadn’t talked for a while, so I looked forward to our catching up at a local bistro. From the moment we sat down to eat, he began telling me about their rejuvenated sex life. You’d have thought he was 18 the way he carried on, a glow in his eyes.
If I thought my high school physical education coaches were still alive, I’d write them all demand letters:
I want the C’s you gave me every semester changed to A’s. In so doing, my GPA would be raised to where it should have been. I was an athlete, even if you didn’t know it.
Things you do come back to you As though they knew the way —from “Where or When,” by Rogers & Hart
When I first met Hal Schaefer in 1978, he was in his early 50s, which then seemed old to me. I was barely 30. He had just moved from New York to my hometown of San Francisco with his second wife, Brenda, a singer in her late 30s. Hal was a famous jazz pianist. In his younger days, he had made his mark as a protégé of Duke Ellington,
who routinely introduced him on stage by saying, “Now you’re going to hear a real piano player.” But rumor had it that Hal’s career was later thwarted by alcoholism, although he had been sober for many years by the time I met him.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, my landlord showed up on my front porch, ringing my doorbell. He was adamant that I come outside. “You need to see this,” Sean said. Although of different generations (he’s 20 years younger), we both appreciate things that have a history.
There are some things in life that you never get tired of, no matter how many times you experience them. Train whistles, fireworks, lunar eclipses, rainbows — they retain their original thrill. That also applies to a just-picked, vine-ripened tomato. With its cool interior and sweet-acidic juice, there’s nothing better to eat on a hot summer day.
I was on the Stairmaster at my health club Saturday afternoon when I looked up at the bank of TV monitors in front of me. On the scrolling CNN news banner at the bottom of the screen were the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I immediately thought, yeah, Neil Armstrong, you try climbing 200 steps on this thing.
When, for the heck of it, I typed in “What makes a person sexy?” on my browser the other day, I was directed to a “Yahoo! Answers” discussion site. All of the replies were from young men and women whose predictable insights included: “A pretty face, not too chubby,” “Hot body,” “Voluptuous figure” and “Beautiful eyes and a nice body.”