Saturday, October 23, 2010

At Least It Only Lasts 24 Hours


Of course I can't predict which of my days will wind up better or worse than the others. But one thing I do know is that of the next 365, 364 of them will start out with a built-in advantage. One of them in fact will have to climb harder than all the rest, since it will always begin several hundred yards farther down the hill.

Now I don't mind celebrating other people's birthdays. Those give me the opportunity to rejoice that the calamity of age is ruining the lives of my friends at the same steady pace that it is ruining mine. Which reminds me. When asked about it, maybe one in ten seniors will say they enjoy getting older and wouldn't want to be young again - which is really just their way with dealing with the reality that they have no choice about it. Unless you are a fool, why would'nt you want to be young again? I mean, if you instantly became young again, you would in due course arrive back to where you were before and then get to experience that pleasant old age, which you claim to be so hot, twice.

And by the way, I've always considered the standard bon mot to be rationally impossible. It is like wishing a man emerging from a knife fight, "happy stab wound", or another awaiting sentencing, "happy incarceration". In fact, although we don't know it at the time, each of us can have only one truly happy birthday: that being the one at which the entirety of life lies before us. Each year after that we have less and less of it to consume.

Conditioned as they are by Hallmark and American Greetings, which would make the sinking of the Titanic a national holiday if they could, most people would say that apathy, or even outright depression on one's birthday to be plain humbug. I find this as convincing as the idea that a man should say, "Oh look, my arm has fallen off. How marvelous!". So let us be more reasonable than that. Today is my birthday. I'm dealing with it with fortitude. But don't expect me to be quiet about it...


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