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Dealing with the double-nickel
Captol Hill Blue ^ | Dec 18, 2002, 07:29 | DOUG THOMPSON

Posted on 12/18/2002 7:01:30 AM PST by dts32041

On most mornings, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. That’s 0530, also known as “oh-dark-thirty.” My friend Adrian Cronauer, who used to wake up the troops on Armed Services Radio by shouting “G-o-o-o-o-o-d Morning Vietnam,” always said it was called “oh-dark-thirty” because it stood for “oh-my-God it’s early!”

It isn’t that early for someone raised on a farm and who spent his later years working for an afternoon paper where people went to work at 7 a.m. Waking up at oh-dark-thirty became second nature, no matter where I was in the world or how tired I might be.

Not on Tuesday, though. The clock on the wall said 8:37 a.m. before the throbbing sounds of the stereo shattered that I seem to remember was a nice erotic dream. But dreams can’t survive a pounding bass or the screeching sound of Sammy Hagar singing I Can’t Drive 55.

I Can’t Drive 55? Just my wife’s sick way of wishing me a not-so-young 55th birthday. Maybe she’s looking to trade up to a younger, faster, model.

Terrific. I turn 55, the official age of Senior Citizenship, and oversleep for the first time in years. I should have turned over, gone back to sleep, and missed the entire day.

Age, Satchell Paige once said, is simply a case of mind over matter. “If you don’t mind,” he said, “It don’t matter.”

Sorry Satch. It does matter. Spending an extra 30-minutes under the hot water in the shower just to limber up the old muscles and dull the ache of arthritis matters. So does trying to work out the kinks of a stiff ankle broken months ago but still not healed and fully functional.

This is the time when names of friends appear in the obits. Friends the same age as you. Friends younger than you. This is the time of life when your doctor ends every sentence with "for your age."

Age is God’s way of reminding us we are inhabitants of this Earth for only a finite period of time, a life sentence that may be long or short, depending on factors too often out of our control.

We enter life full of youthful enthusiasm and hope. With luck, we manage to blunder through that life without too many missteps and might even accomplish a thing or two before giving in to the ravages of age. Then we creak towards the end of life with the hope that somehow, somewhere along the way, we managed to make a difference during our brief moment in time.

Too many of us approach life as something that owes us, demanding returns on an investment not yet made. But the truth is, we owe life more than we can ever pay, a bill that will come due when God calls in the loan and grants no further extensions.

At 55, I think about payments still due on that loan called life. You can’t just keep making payments on the interest. The principal can come due any day. Did you use the loan of life as intended or did you just squander it away?

Those thoughts dominated as I stood under the hot water after oversleeping on the morning of my 55th birthday. What, I wondered, should I celebrate on this birthday – a life well spent or a future where more needs to be done?

After more than an hour under the steaming water, the dull ache of arthritic bones remained.

So did the question.

The books are still open.

And the account is not closed.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: age; death; life; therant
Maybe it is about how you play the game after all?
1 posted on 12/18/2002 7:01:30 AM PST by dts32041
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To: dts32041
Don't blame the game, blame the player. I would like to copy your rendition about 55 as I will be that also in about 5 more months. I enjoyed the way you expressed your morning and how life seeems to play. I realize every day how lucky I am to be working and enjoying my wife and children. Life isn't bad its only what we choose to make it, I am throughly enjoying mine. I hope you and yours have a nice Christmas and a Healthy and Happy new Year, Hell if I don't live to see a hundred I am going to express my dissapointment to my own ears as I drift.
2 posted on 12/18/2002 7:16:54 AM PST by cav68
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To: dts32041
It is not the cards you are dealt, but how you play them.
3 posted on 12/18/2002 7:17:05 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: dts32041
"It's not the years, it's the mileage."

- Indiana Jones

4 posted on 12/18/2002 7:17:25 AM PST by Jonah Hex
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To: dts32041
The wonderful Doug Thompson turns 55.

I have always liked his writing, especially the work he did at DC Darkside .

A true professional.

5 posted on 12/18/2002 10:12:43 AM PST by texas booster
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