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The ex-Russian’s calendar on the wall counts down the days.


We are now a week away from that annual celebration known as Alderson’s Birthday. Finished your shopping yet?

This year’s Alderson’s Birthday carries a bit more significance sure to enliven the various parades, speeches and parties that generally mark the momentous day. It will mark the 60th anniversary of my debut on February 13, 1952. I’m 60? Yikes! How did this happen?


It seems like just yesterday I was a strapping lad of 40. Where did the years go? I have noticed and often remarked to myself how old members of my approximate generation now looked, but whenever I looked into a mirror I saw the same youthful face I had always seen. That seems to be a minority view.


That was hammered home recently in a local watering hole when an attractive young lady with whom I was conversing kept saying ‘Yes sir,’ finally ending the conversation with ‘you’re pretty funny for a middle-aged man. I wish my Dad was more like you.’ While you have to admire the degree of politeness she displayed, it did reinforce the unhappy truth that I have seen quite a bit of the last few years, that the attractive young ladies that pique my interest now find me to be some aged relic of their parent’s day.


I’m not exactly sure why this is called ‘middle age.’ I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to 120. While my stated intention is to live forever or die trying, human longevity patterns, family history and personal habits  will probably mitigate against it.  These are very likely my latter years, not my middle ones. Oh, well.


That I would even make it to 60 seemed in doubt not long ago. The malady I incurred during football season and was generally ignored by me had finally hit in full force. It has been waxing and waning in intensity ever since, never entirely going away, even as this is being typed.


Shortly after I made the decision that spending a ton of money to attend the Sugar Bowl would involve more time spent sick in an expensive hotel room and less roaming the French Quarter discovering if my ability to determine which attractive young New Orleans ladies were actually attractive young New Orleans ladies had improved and watched the latest Frank Flop on a big stage on four feet worth of crystal-clear High-Definition from my Den, I made the decision to visit the Quack.


I discovered that not only was he putting aside his distaste for having to deal with sick people to see me, he was doing it for a lot of other people, too. He happily informed me that business had been so good recently from so many miserably-sick people that he had decided to upgrade his Mercedes to the SL model.


After our usual conversation about how amusing I found a Jew driving Hitler’s favorite ride and his response that when it came to German automotive engineering, he was willing to let bygones be bygones, he got down to business. I was paraded around the various rooms of his clinic for x-rays and various tests that included enough blood being drawn by one of his vampirish nurses to feed the cast of True Blood for a month, the Quack finally announced, “You’re sick as hell and Danny Coale caught the ball.” It took all of the knowledge gained from his Iowa Biology and Duke medical degrees to come up with that diagnosis as well as a television at least as good as my own.


I replied that it never should have come down to that catch in a game in which Tech appeared to be the dominant team by far and exactly how did he plan treatment. I was quite surprised when he replied, “Show me your hands.” It was my lungs and intestines that were giving me trouble, not my hands. “Exactly,” he exclaimed. “You can type. Update your Web page.” I considered responding that I would update the page when he actually cured something before realizing that given his track record, that would mean I would never write again and the Web site has been paid for for another three years.


Shortly before bounding out of his office for yet another trip to Barbados financed by his windfall from the up-tick in illness, he handed me a stash of antibiotics and pointed out, “You know, you’re not getting any younger. Come back and see me in two weeks; no, make it three as I’m heading back to the Caribbean.” This manner of lifting a patient’s spirits was very likely not considered by Hippocrates when he developed his oath.I accepted both the antibiotics and his invitation to meet him for drinks so that he might chortle at what seems to be my increasingly-unbroken track record of getting shot down by younger women. While the antibiotics seem to be accomplishing little other than enriching the stockholders of GlaxoSmithKline, my watering-hole conversation did provide the Quack with quite the infusion of laughter therapy.


While the Quack relaxes on a tropical beach sipping island rum, I pound out these words between coughs, sneezes and sniffles. I also ponder that very shortly I will be 60. Assuming I make it this last week, I will hit the big six-oh if not exactly running, still walking at a brisk enough clip that I can cover my customary two miles in the morning in about half an hour. Never mind that on my 40th I was turning four miles- we all make allowances for age. It could be worse, as I was reminded while attending the funeral of a long-time friend who recently and suddenly died. I have out-lived both of my ex-wives as well as what seems to be a steadily-increasing number of friends and relatives, some who didn’t make it even close to 60. It could be worse.


As you take advantage of all of the retail sales and promotions to do your last-minute Alderson’s Birthday shopping, be advised that I have a specific present in mind. The problem seems to be, as I grow older, of finding attractive young ladies who will gift it. Damn old age!




















  1. Chuck Vipperman — February 6, 2012 #

    Were you at Dickie’s funeral?   If so, sorry I missed you.

    Good read! 


  2. JDanWuff — February 7, 2012 #

    Punk.  I did the 60 thing 3 years ago.  I am a legit ’49er.  As my Dad once said “If you plan on getting old, you better toughen up.  Old age ain’t for sissies.”  Happy Birthday, Hokie Jim.


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