“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
- Bob Dylan
By DAVID GREEN
What’s so important about reaching a new decade, anyway? I don’t recall any big deal about turning 10 years old. It was just another birthday.
That’s how I tried to portray last week’s event when I reached my sixth decade. Just another year—with fewer left ahead.
Actually, when I reached 10 years old, I had already completed a decade and was embarking on my second one. So now, at 60, I’m starting on my seventh. Suddenly I feel older.
Birthdays are different in the age of Facebook. People who never before knew your birthday are wishing you the best.
“Hope today was as great as you wanted it to be.”
“I will always remember you as my ‘young neighbor’ when I was a child.”
“Holy crap! It’s your birthday!” (that was my wife)
“Happy birthday, even if it is deadline day.”
That one came after my preëmptive warning that my birthday was falling on a busy Tuesday this year. After a couple “happy birthdays” arrived early, I stated that I would not be celebrating. I suggested, instead, that people observe Spiro Agnew’s birthday.
“Hope you have a great day celebrating Spiro T. Agnew’s birthday, just as I celebrate Fidel Castro’s birthday every year.”
For years I’ve pointed out that Spiro Theodore Agnew’s birthday is also Nov. 9. We share that day, but little else. Younger readers won’t remember him as vice president under Richard Nixon.
Eventually, not even Nixon was satisfied with his choice of Agnew. When he was asked by an aide why he decided against replacing Agnew on the ticket for his 1972 reëlection, Nixon reportedly joked by saying that no assassin in his right mind would kill him because then they would get Agnew.
Here’s your political trivia item for the day: The other vice presidential candidate in 1972, Sargent Shriver—the driving force behind the Peace Corps—was also born Nov. 9.
There are several lists of celebrity birthdays and it’s interesting to see how different they are. Queen Isabella of Valois—a celebrity from the 1390s if ever there was one—made the famous birthday list from HistoryOrb.com but failed to be mentioned at BrainyHistory.com.
Both websites list Agnew as “39th vice president, crook.” Very well put.
Maybe it’s time to ditch Spiro and go with someone new. There are so many choices. Ivan Turgenev, Russian writer. Emile Gaboriau, father of the French detective novel. Lewis Lewin, father of pyschopharmacology and the first scientist to undertake a methodical analysis of the peyote cactus.
Actress Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (Heddy Lamarr). Singer Tom Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Singer Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Singer Choi Dong-Wook, known as Se7en in Korea.
Baseball manager Whitey Herzog. Blues singer Carl Perkins. Baseball pitcher Bob Gibson. Ohio senator Sherrod Brown. Victoria Keil, 1996 Miss Universe candidate from Cook Islands. Child molesterer Roger Lee Jones.
Here’s the youngest one: Cheyenne Pyle, youngest heart transplant patient at age 90 minutes.
I’m sure it’s the same for anyone’s birthday if you check it out. A host of famous political figures, writers, military leaders, sports stars, actors, criminals—they’re born every day of the year.
Instead of Agnew, maybe I should go with astronomer Carl Sagan or comedian Ed Wynn known as “the Perfect Fool.” Or better yet, poet Anne Sexton (“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”)
My wife slipped the “geezer” birthday ad into last week’s paper without me seeing it. There was a lot in last week’s paper that I didn’t see. As deadline day progressed, it became more and more challenging. Believe me, it was no birthday. We were 40 minutes late and slapped some things together pretty quickly at the end.
Looking ahead, I’m expecting some injuries in my 60th year as I try to prove that I’m not a geezerly 60. Climb a water tower? No problem. New hobby? Why not tight-rope walking.
And you know what they say: Never trust anyone over 80.