June 09, 2004

Easing into old age
Posted by McQ

Well its that day again. What we of the older generation would just as soon ignore forever more. Ye olde birthday. Today I hit the grand old age of 56.


Hell, when I was 23 I never thought I'd live to be 56. Of course at 23 I was a 2LT in the infantry which meant that thought had some immediate relevance.

But some time and some distance have made me understand that being 56 is really a pretty good thing. It certainly beats the alternative, that's for sure. Its a bit bittersweet ... it'll be one of the only birthdays I've ever had where my mother won't call me a precisely 5pm and say "I remember this day x number of years ago so well. The retreat cannon (at Ft. Knox) fired and you were born." It was always a special moment, me being her first born. It was also my last grand entrance.


I'm not ready to be written off yet, but I'll tell you, now that I'm an "old fart" I get to be crusty and dispense a little wisdom. Today seems like a perfectly good day to do that. Its a good day to pass along some truisms, or if not truisms, at least some observations I've made passing through life.

One -- if you can find a good woman and stay with her, your life will be profoundly changed ... for the better. I've been with my sweetheart for almost 30 years. I don't know what I'd do without her and don't want to find out.

Two -- Grandchildren are your reward for raising your children. You should (and will) always enjoy how precious and wonderful they are. You should be a part of their lives if you can.

Three -- One of the more profound things I discovered plowing through life is this: Never, ever let someone else define happiness and success for you. You'll never live up to their expectations nor will you ever be happy or successful ... those are things YOU have to define. Do so and be happy AND successful.

Four -- Be a man of your word. Without it you're not much of anything. With it you're someone others will seek out and trust.

Five -- If you have 5 true friends in your life, you are indeed a rich person. Strive to find them and when you do, cherish them. Sounds cliche, but there are friends and there are aquaintences. Friends are rare.

Six --- And this is really passed on from my dad ... "You live between your ears". I can't tell you how many times remembering that has literally saved my life, or if not my life, the situation I was facing at the time. Its amazing what one can do when they remember that.

Enough. I'll try to come up with another four to round it out to ten by the time I hit 60.


I may be 56 but I still can't conceive of 60.

It is said that "old age" is all in the mind. Well I've got news for everyone ... it may be a state of mind, but it is also a physical reality. But such is life.

Let the good times roll.



Happy Birthday, sir, and many returns of the day!

Posted by: Craig at June 9, 2004 07:31 AM

Happy birthday. Here's to the next 56.

Posted by: Curt Mitchell at June 9, 2004 07:46 AM

Happy Birthday, McQ.

Posted by: Jon Henke at June 9, 2004 08:05 AM

Oh, my...all my best wishes to you and yours, McQ. I always see you in this perpetual 38-42 range. LOL Personally, I still feel like the 26yo I once was and am constantly irked at the years that seem to appear in the flesh. It betrays us. LOL

I hope you have another 56 wonderful years! Well, maybe not if I have to change the diapers but...well, Happy Birthday!!

Posted by: LauraN at June 9, 2004 08:37 AM

Seven: A big brother who is and always has been your best friend.

Happy Birthday Bro

Posted by: DMcquain at June 9, 2004 09:41 AM

Hey, enjoy a big slab of birthday cake...

Posted by: shark at June 9, 2004 09:43 AM

Good for you, Daddyo. You go, man.

Love ya.

Posted by: Billy Beck at June 9, 2004 10:39 AM

Happy Birthday, and here's to many many more.

Posted by: Ted at June 9, 2004 11:42 AM

Hey McQ-

Miss your presence on the rotten old newsgroups. Have a happy one. Fifty-six isn't bad. The secret is not to get old. Now, drop and give me 20.


Posted by: Martin McPhillips at June 9, 2004 12:47 PM

Billy informs me its your birthday. You inform me that your mom recalls the retreat cannon being fired at the moment of your birth. I think you should acquire a retreat cannon and fire it off, once per year, at that moment, to commerate your birth, and your mother's memory of it. Best, and may you live, until you die, relishing life.

John V

Posted by: John Venlet at June 9, 2004 02:39 PM

To all, old friends, new friends and my beloved brother --- Thank you!

Now, as to 56 more, er, uh, well ... we'll see.

Posted by: McQ at June 9, 2004 03:04 PM

Fifty-six? And you are making a big deal out of it? Keerist, wait until you clck into your eight decade before acknowledging that you are being processed by time rather than processing time!

What was the question? Oh, yes, the removal of that tacky Dome of the Rock off Israeli real estate so that the Temple can be rebuilt. And the establishment of Saudi Arabia as an American protectorate, something like what we did to Puerto Rico to insure a steady supply of cheap rum and excitable people, as well as a place where we could drop practice bombs without putting American lives or property at risk.

My plans for North Korea and Iran involve the Vatican and classified notes from General Curtis LeMay's diary and secret wish book; code name: "SALVATION NOW -- KA-BOOM!"

My compassion will be my undoing.

And on these tightly reasoned innuendos I wish you a happy birthday. Fifty-six and you can still manage the i before e rule! Congratulations!


Posted by: Lorenzo Q. Squarf at July 2, 2004 12:29 PM