Category: Life

Young at Heart

Back when they used to write songs the way they no longer do today, the composer Johnny Richards penned these words: “Fairy tales can come true/ It can happen to you/ If you’re young at heart” and the penultimate stanza, “If you should survive/To a hundred-and-five/Think of all you’ve derived/ Out of being alive.” In...

Accepting Suicide

To we the living — those of us who rejoice and suffer, work and play, ruminate and act, love and hate, laugh and cry — willfully bringing about a premature end to this absurdly wonderful experience of being alive seems unfathomable. Anyone who would commit suicide, whether because of despair, political conviction, or religious brainwashing,...

Specializing in Everything

Ours is the age of specialists. To be better than average at anything requires a mono-maniacal dedication to that one thing. Should you wish to be a successful professional golfer, you need to devote most of your waking hours to hitting dimpled orbs. Should you wish to be a successful oboist, you need to devote...

The Voracious Appetite

Recently we spent two weeks away in Central and South America, including a visit to the country of Ecuador, which, among other tourist attractions, offers visitors an opportunity to visit the “Mital del Mundo” — the middle of the world. It’s an obelisk with a painted orange line on the ground bisecting the northern and southern...

Screaming the Loudest

The benefit of teaching young people that the world is a meritocracy is that this enduring myth encourages people to try their best. As long as they believe that the cream eventually rises to the top, they’ll continue to toil diligently, confident that there’s a demonstrable correlation between dedicated effort and eventual reward. Once the...

The Elderly

The surrealist artist and poet Dorothea Tanning is 96 years-old. The gentleman who organizes our local golf club tournaments is 82. Countless people in their seventies (do the Rolling Stones qualify?) lead full and active lives. My father is in his sixties. At this point in his life, numerical age is irrelevant. After surviving two...

Chemicals

Just as devoutly fatalistic folks ascribe everything that happens – or doesn’t happen – to an omnipotent author in the sky who meticulously scripts several billion not very interesting biographies every day, we have a friend who transfers responsibility for the course of life to a different higher power. Chemicals. Our pal believes that human beings are...

All Five Senses

There’s some sort of problem in my left eye at the moment, the details of which I won’t bother to enumerate. Suffice to say it’s concerning enough that I’m going to see a doctor — something I almost never do. And then, one presumes, everything will be all right. I couldn’t help, though, imagining what...

A Blessed Life

Capitalism requires that we consumers feel as though we never have enough. Our lives will be fuller, richer,better if only we might acquire, chew, possess that which we don’t yet have. The media reminders that constantly bombard our senses teach us that more money, more fame, more fabulousness will magically enlighten our days as friendship, love...

Foretelling the Future

Knowing in advance, whether through precognition, special access, or heightened powers of analysis can be both profitable and impressive. If we could predict with certainty the winner of this weekend’s Masters tournament, the biggest gainer on today’s New York Stock Exchange, or the six numbers in the Powerball lottery, we would reap a handsome profit....