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7 January 1996

Fifty-One, Not Forty

I've been talking with friends about turning 40. Marge says "my grandmother is 87 and happy as a clam. I saw a story about a political cartoonist today who is still publishing daily at the age of 84. I had dinner Christmas eve with a man who is 74 and still painting daily."

Jim sounds a bit more realistic. "I've heard it said that one really doesn't start living until they're 40. From experience, I would say there is some truth to this myth. It's just that when you wake up in the morning it hurts a little more than it used to. Maybe it's because a person becomes more sensitive to such things as pain, humiliation, and our ultimate demise."

I'll have to accept their reports since I'll never be 40. It's true that I was born four decades ago today on the seventh of January in 1956. As I approached what would have been my 39th birthday, though, I decided to be--and to remain--51 for the next 20 years. I did this because I enjoy beginning a new decade and dislike ending one. Although I don't have any empirical evidence of my nonexistent forties, being 51 is great.

I'm not sure what comes after 51, if anything.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart