This past Sunday my second “Summer of 69” ended. August 19 was my 70th birthday. I celebrated with a big party, not my party, but a party for my new great nephew Cooper, who was getting baptized on that same day. How convenient was that for me! I had a party, and I didn’t have to do anything ahead of time, during the party, or after the party, and, best of all, there was food and beer. Cooper’s parents did all the work. All I had to do was give baby Cooper a present, and just for a laugh I thought about making out the check to him, to see how many years it takes until he learns how to endorse it.
There are no special benefits for turning 70. At 62 I became eligible for Social Security. At 65, I got Medicare, and free rides on Pennsylvania buses. Not only do you not get anything new for turning 70, but you’re no longer allowed to say you’re “getting old.” You’re already there. That ship has sailed. The only possible benefit is that now when you have a “senior moment” everybody understands it and actually almost expects it.
Age is just a number they say. They, of course, are in their 20’s, or 30’s, or 40’s. They are not in their 70’s. Age may be just a number, but 70 is still a mighty big number. To me, 70 sounds like you’re on the wrong side of the life cycle, rolling downhill, picking up speed rapidly, and headed for a dirt nap. I feel much younger than that, so, I’m not going to accept that I’m turning 70. I’m just gonna switch to Roman numbers. I’ll be LXX. That sounds a lot better and it has the added benefit of being my size, backwards. How’s that for cool (and easy to remember)? Roman numbers worked well for Super Bowls and made getting older just sound more classic. Maybe it can work for me, too. Maybe I’ll even change my name to something Roman like Earlus Pearlus and start wearing sandals and a toga. If I switched to togas, I wouldn’t have to worry about my weight anymore, either. It worked for Marlon Brando (sort of).
Maybe, if I go into a complete Roman phase, I could finally get some use out of the Latin I learned in High School and never used. The only trouble is that the only phrase I still remember is “Gaudiamus igitur juvenes dum sumus.” It means, “Let us be merry, while we are young.” What the hell? 70 may not be young, but it is the youngest I’ll ever be ever again. So, I might as well embrace it.
So, party on friends, Romans, countrymen, and family. Happy LXX Birthday to me, and thanks for the party, Cooper.
Toga. Toga. Toga.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,