Williams: Reflections on turning 60
By Mack Williams
For the Salisbury Post
I recently turned 60 years of age, joining many of East Rowan’s Class of 1969, who have already turned 60, or will do so this year. I guess I can officially add one of Maurice Chevalier’s songs from “Gigi” to my repertoire: “I’m Glad That I’m Not Young Anymore.”
Sometimes for co-workers in the past, I have impersonated Jimmy Durante and sung “September Song” to them. I guess now I’ll have to perform to the mirror.
I didn’t have to work yesterday, so I skipped shaving, but instead of looking “hot” like today’s young male stars, I just looked like an old man who forgot to shave. I think I’ll shave today on my birthday, not wanting to receive unsolicited change from passersby on the street.
Oftentimes, when someone turns 100, there will be articles in the newspaper describing what technological advances were made during that person’s lifetime. Reference is often made to their seeing the advent of airplanes, television and the spread of the already-invented telephone.
In the case of my 60 years, all of these things had made their advent years before, but I remember some of them in their cruder versions compared to those of today.
I remember television sets before they became skinny.
With telephones, I remember when the verb “dial” was also a noun representing something turned round with the forefinger, and I also remember when telephones, most properly, remained at home.
While writing this, it is close to 2 a.m. on my birthday, and I have already turned 60, having been born but a few minutes after midnight on March 5, 1951, a “midnight baby.”
At the risk of sounding as if in detox, while writing I noticed something crawling slowly up the wall. Fearing that it was a spider, upon close inspection, I was delighted to discover that it was a stinkbug performing its own solitary home invasion. Feeling especially magnanimous, and not wanting another living creature to die on my birthday, I trapped him in an empty blood pressure medication bottle and let him go outside (this also shows that I always write from life, and that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction).
Yesterday, I had a tooth extracted (another one). My daughter called and said that for my birthday she would take me to Outback Steakhouse. Thinking of my most recent extraction, I asked her if they serve a chopped steak. If they don’t, I’ll bring a blender.
When an elephant’s molars give out, he dies, since he doesn’t have the option of dentures or Progresso.
My father passed away just three months after his 60th birthday, in November of 1966. When I look in the mirror now, I seem to look younger than I remember him looking at this age, but that is probably just a case of wishful thinking, a case of the subjective having its influence over the objective. I remember his funeral at Summersetts (what a peacefully descriptive word for a place, but in actuality, it is a proper noun instead of an adjective). People said that he had died “young.”
As with other people of my age, my years sometimes seem like a lengthy time to me, but at other times not so long, especially when I am left with a haunting feeling as to the seeming shortness of that same number of years when it was in my father’s possession.