“People say believe half of what you see, son and none of what you hear.”

              — Marvin Gaye, et al

“It’s better to look good than to feel good.”   — Billy Crystal


In the past, days gone by, the good old days, in my day, in my time, … and similar clichés, people would tell me that I didn’t look my age.  And, while I usually don’t believe what people tell me, I believed that.  I still have most of my teeth, all my hair which is still brown, and just a small pot belly.  I still walk pretty much upright pretty much all of the time, and I don’t ever use phrases like ‘in the past, days gone by, the good old days, in my day, in my time’.  Well, I never used them before, and probably will never again.

When I retired from one of my jobs, my boss from another job asked how old I was and told me that I looked ten years younger.  “You are a very discerning woman,” I said, “and your eyesight is excellent.”

But I was brought up short the other day, or perhaps it wasn’t ‘up short’ but rather ‘up to date’ by my barber.  Nino, about whom I have written before, happened to ask how old I was.  When I told him, he didn’t say, ‘Well you look much younger’, which I certainly expected.  He said, “Oh, well, don’t worry, I’m older than you.”

‘Well,’ I thought, ‘of course you’re older than me.  Everyone is older than me.  That’s just the natural order of the universe.’

But, in a trice, or perhaps even a nonce, somehow the subject had changed from how old I look to how old I actually am.

I am not a person that reads obituaries or has anything close to a fascination with age and death, but I do find myself checking, on occasion, the ages of famous persons that come across the news.  John Glenn made his final orbit at 95.  Leonard Cohen sang his last impenetrable song at 82.  Robin Williams blew us away for the last time at 63.  

What is a little scary for me, maybe not scary but meaningful, is that I think they all looked good for their age.  

Or, in those immortal words of I-don’t-know-who, ‘Sometimes you’re Gladys Knight, and sometimes you’re just one of the Pips.’