Sunday, March 25, 2007

I combined the last two posts, made some revisions, and shipped the following out to a few newspapers.

Sixty is the Hardest Word

By Terrence McCarthy

Reginald Kenneth Dwight, AKA Elton John celebrated his 60th birthday recently at a small party with a few friends...In Madison Square Garden.

Reggie and I are the same age. Well, to be more precise - he's 60. As I write this, I'm 59 years, 11 months and 361 days. But who's counting? I'm going to be honest here. I hate the thought of turning 60. There will be no parties and I'm discouraging people from sending cards. Flowers would be appropriate, since I'm going to be dead before you can say, " Too old to die young. "

Sixty? The mere thought of that number gives me ( I guess that’s why they call them ) the blues. It's worse than 13. It's worse than 666. It's worse than whatever draft lottery number you got back during that war in southeast Asia.

Sixty. I'm going to be 60! I know, I know. This isn't exactly the right attitude. It shows a lack of maturity ( That’s a BAD thing? ) But someone once wrote that getting old is like a long, slow, slog through enemy territory.

Tell me about it. It gets longer and slower every day. And not just for me. Remember when we baby boomers ran 26 mile marathons? Now “ Half marathons “ are in vogue. Deep into the second leg of our lives, we’re still running, but able to handle only the first leg of the race.

If that.

I watched Elton John on TV the other night. I don't know. I think I look better than Elton. I'm just ten pounds heavier than I was in high school. I still have ( my own ) hair. Yes, I wear glasses. But not the kind of glasses he wears. And I don't have a thousand pair in a room just for them. But he's handling turning 60 a lot better than I am. Throwing a party in Madison Square Garden. Televising it.

Me? I'm in the closet. With all those old ties ( Older than my nieces and nephews ) With all those old shoes. With those bell bottom pants I wore in the...60s.

Maybe I should try to be more like him. Change my ways. Change my look. Have Elton John surgery. I know, I know. That's about as insider baseball as it gets. The only ones who might get it are the genius from Jacksonville, Terry #1, Jake and Jane. And, of course, Donna.

But who cares? I'm in the last throes of my fifties and anything goes.I can't be worried about people not getting the joke. It comes with the territory. We geezers say what's on our minds, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Onward! Press ahead!

Yeah, but my knees are killing me. It's gonna be a very long, very slow slog, but I'll get there. Slouching and limping toward Bethlehem. That’ll be me.

Or maybe, if the legs fail me, just somewhere south of Pawtucket is as far as I’ll get.

Terrence McCarthy is a writer who lives in Rhode Island


momula said...

At 44, I've passed through some but not all of the memorable birthday years that you write about . . . . I've decided - I'm sure you've heard this before - that getting older is, at least, better than the alternative - not getting older. . . . besides, I like my internal self a lot better now than I did 20 years ago, and I hope to like my self even better 20 years from now.
Happy birthday! ( :

Terry said...


Terry #3 said...

oh , and yes I get the Elton John surgery, got actually. And for the record- you are little like Elton- I can't think of fewer more self-indulgent than he (does he have a blog?)

Terry said...

Yes, I'm very much like Reginald. I could go on and on about myself here, but I have to get back to my blog.