My friend Dan and I grew up together. He and his wife are the godparents of our sons, and they have two children about the same ages. Not long after Wolfie had been born, two years ago, Dan and I were sitting at the kitchen table in his parents’ house, each of us holding a baby. Dan’s dad turned and said delightedly, “You middle-aged guys with your infant children….” Dan looked up in surprise, and I thought: The poor sap doesn’t realize he’s growing old. And: I'm glad I'm not middle-aged.
My birthday was in May, so if my father’s death this year at 89 is any measure, I’ll turn precisely middle-aged next week. In addition, Norman Mailer died a couple of days ago, after 60 years as a working writer, which made me realize I won’t accomplish the same until I turn 104. I started to worry just a little—that my career isn’t in shape, that I haven’t written my big book yet (as Mailer’s escaped him, he said), that Mrs. Churm and I have only two of the six kids that I used to kid her we’d have.
Then I saw these people on TV, who seem to have a plan for living to 130—and beyond—by eating fewer calories. I grew cheerful when I did the math and realized I still have another seven or eight decades to live. There’s time. Time for tenure, time for books, “Time for you and time for me, / And time yet for…the taking of a toast and tea.” There’s plenty of time for everything, that is, but my beloved scrapple.
(Photo courtesy of Stu Spivack)