Senescence Round 7

Regrets I have a few but then again too few to mention…
If I could enter a time machine that could take me back 55 years and with my current knowledge and life experience, I would still repeat 90% of my lifetime decisions and actions if I had the chance to relive them.


What convinces someone of the value of your judgement and advice is not by what you say but by what you have accomplished.


Sanskrit is more decipherable than an angry woman.


Most men pursue the second prettiest woman at a party.


The best parties often involve only two people.


Flirting, like intimate conversation, has become a lost relationship art.


Those who strive to impress the least, impress the most.


Caring what other people think of me is a blessing and a curse.


I’d rather be the underdog than the top dog.


What would cure many ills and problems is a good night’s sleep.


There is no antidote to grief except time. However time does not heal all wounds but masks like a scab to cover the pain.


My mind often creates an illusion that my body understands is just a delusion.


Picture by EAB

Senescence Round 6

For older guys, Pickleball: Exercise = Viagra: Sex

Ukraine: Their legislators are dodging bullets.
USA: Our GOP legislators are dodging ballots.

Hollywood: A slap results in one suffering a 10 year ban from the Academy of Arts and Sciences
Washington: An attempted overthrow of the government results in one being the favorite for the GOP nomination for President in 2024

I am a hoarder of cluttered life experiences and emotional baggage including insults remembered, disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, envies, failures and missed opportunities. Time to declutter…

My most irrational belief is that people should act and think like I do.

Most men should be ending their political careers at age 70 not beginning or renewing it.

Voters are doing a poor job of eliminating politicians whose ages may be less than 70 but so are their IQs.

In their teens and 20s, baby boomers crammed to study for exams and finish class papers. In their 60s and older, baby boomers now cram to complete their bucket list while they are still healthy and active.

In their teens and twenties, baby boomers pulled “all nighters” which was staying up all night to study or finish papers. In their 60s and older, all nighters usually represent the hours between 10 p.m and 7 a.m. where baby boomers try to get a good night sleep.

Who is our Zelinskyy?

We exist in a game of lifelong dodgeball. Life throws a lot of challenges and problems where we have to bob, weave, duck and adjust. However well we dodge what is thrown at us, the last throw always hits us and eliminates us from the game.

Antidotes for anxiety and depression: a warm shower, a long walk, favorite music, and leafing through old family pictures.

I had a conversation with my 95-year-old uncle a week or so ago. He mentioned to me that he never feels angry anymore. He views it as a waste of time and given how short of time he may have left, he has downsized useless emotions and feelings. Anger does seem to be one of the top items that all of us should downsize no matter what our age.

If I had a choice and given the unity and bravery of the people and leadership in Ukraine, would I prefer to identify myself as an American? Or as a Ukrainian?

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) at Trump’s Save America Rally in Commerce, Georgia tonight: “And you know what? Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycles and he and his husband can stay out of our girls’ bathrooms.” The crowd actually applauded this line…

List of women (Trumpunts) who have me reaching on my remote for the Power Off, mute or change channel buttons…
Marjorie Taylor Greene
Lauren Boebert
Ginni Thomas
Laura Ingraham
Jeanne Pirro
Kayleigh McEnany
Maria Bartiromo
Marsha Blackburn
Toni Lahren
Candace Owens
Ann Coulter
Sarah Huckabee Sanders

It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart

It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart by Jennifer Senior in The Atlantic is a timely article for me. The subtitle of the article suggests that “The older we get, the more we need our friends—and the harder it is to keep them.” I can’t agree more! I might add that it’s not only friends who can break your heart but family too. The pain is indistinguishable.

It is a long article but worth reading. I have listed points of the article that I agree with and are worth sharing…

“You lose friends to marriage, to parenthood, to politics—even when you share the same politics.”

“The unhappy truth of the matter is that it is normal for friendships to fade, even under the best of circumstances. The real aberration is keeping them.”

“You lose friends to success, to failure, to flukish strokes of good or ill luck. One could argue that modern life conspires against friendship, even as it requires the bonds of friendship all the more.”

“Most of withered friendships can be chalked up to this terrible tendency …not to reach out.”

“This is, mind you, how most friendships die, according to the social psychologist Beverley Fehr: not in pyrotechnics, but a quiet, gray dissolve. It’s not that anything happens to either of you; it’s just that things stop happening between you.”

Senescence: Round 5

Sorry Neil Young…but not only love can break your heart. 💔 (Disappointment can)

Even when a singer or musician dies, their music and songs are their cryogenic legacies keeping them alive.

Despite getting much older, the shadow of the young shy boy I once was still walks besides me…

Age I feel when I play pickleball: 35. Age I feel when I stop playing pickleball: 69.

Most people have two versions of their life story. The first version is the highly edited story they wish to communicate to friends, associates and family. The second version is the unedited story they occasionally retrieve and reflect by and for themselves.

As one ages in the party of life, one may feel like an uninvited guest… events and conversation swirl around and not with you as you blend into the tapestry as a monochromatic spectator.

Maybe the best advice for marriage that I have read: “Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.” (English proverb)

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels

What quickened my pulse (1972): thump-thump of bouncing basketball on a court
What quickens my pulse (2022): thwack and pop of pickleball hitting a paddle.

When having to choose between an old movie or TV show that I viewed and really enjoyed or a promising new movie or TV show that I might enjoy, I usually opt for the former.

Stupidity continues to spread faster than omicron in this country. Stupidity offers many variants and there is no proven vaccine, not even a high dose of education.

NFL = WWE
In professional wrestling, Vince McMahon largely directs which wrestler (or entertainer) will “go over” and win. Now we are hearing allegations that owners of pro football teams in Miami and Cleveland have directed their coaches to lose games in order to improve their positions in upcoming drafts. pro wrestling is defined as “entertainment” as the outcomes are scripted and pre-determined. Is pro football different?

If you are a sports bettor, do you worry less about the performance of a team’s Quarterback or focus more on the competitive mindset and financial status of the team owner?

2022 China Winter Olympics Game = 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics Game
These Olympics weren’t so much sports events as propaganda displays for the promotions of Messrs. Hitler and Xi. The screams of repressed Jews and Muslim Uighurs are drowned out by the cheers and applause for the athletes.

Stock market is largely driven by narratives (agree with Professor Bob Shiller) less on fundamentals, data and financial results. For many companies, the role of the CFO has taken a back seat to the Director of Communications and Media.

Observations that I have read and found worthy of sharing…

Having been retired for about three years, I look back on my “career” in various positions as defining a job as an inconvenient interruption between weekends. Phil from Philadelphia (comment on NYT article Public Displays of Resignation: Saying ‘I Quit’ Loud and Proud)

“To keep Trump and his epigones away from high office, it isn’t enough to have the moral high ground. It’s like something Adlai Stevenson supposedly said once when a voter told him that every thinking person was on his side. “I’m afraid that won’t do,” he replied. “I need a majority.” Democracy needs a majority.” (Bret Stephens NYT Covid 3.0, Biden 2.0 and Trump Number …1/10/22)

The Big Push

In my youth I read a book about Vince Lombardi, the fabled coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi was able to motivate a mediocre or average team to world championships in pro football. One of his favorite motivational methods was to urge his team towards “the big push” by exerting more effort.” Lombardi employed this motivation towards the end of the season when winning games were critical if they were to get into the playoffs.

When a class paper needed to be written in a few days or having to cram for upcoming exams I used to amuse my college classmates by solemnly announcing that it was time for “the big push.” I also used this as a rallying cry in a tightly contested sporting event to finish strong at the finish. This was useful at the end of a 5 or 10K race so I could summon the energy to sprint not jog at the finish line. Partly motivation, partly advisory, “the big push” was my mantra when there was little time, and significant effort needed to be extended as an assignment, a project, a finish line or objective was imminently due.

I remember blearily typing a college paper (this was before computers and word processors) the night before it was due. My fingers cramped up from all the typing and my brain froze from fatigue. The words blurred into the paper and I could barely keep my eyes open. I learned my lesson. (No, reader, it was not to wait until the last minute but to find a girlfriend who could type my papers a lot faster than I could.)

Photo by Vlad Chetan-Pixels

The mantra followed me into my career. How many times sensitive projects and assignments required me to expend a lot of effort and time at the end to successfully complete it? I confess that the mantra often was a result of procrastination on my part.

One of the benefits when retiring is that the corporate big push disappears. No work deadlines! No demands from bosses to be met! No late and hurried meetings! No changes at the eleventh hour or rushing to edit/revise a spreadsheet, presentation, flowchart or report.

So does “the big push” disappear at retirement??

The answer is “No.” In fact the mantra becomes more incessant, more personal and more time sensitive.

In our younger days, our efforts were largely to fulfill or meet the expectations of others (employer, client, manager). The target dates for completion could be arbitrarily changed. When we stop working, our focus is on fulfilling our personal dreams and goals. Maybe there were things we put off while working and did not have the time to do. Along with a Medicare card and social security check, retirement provides a mental bucket list of plans and dreams to get checked off. For many of us, this list includes travel, cruises, adventure,  relocation, endless golf and pickleball, philanthropy, and more quality time with family, children, grandchildren and friends.

Regrettably there is no guarantee particularly as one gets older that the vagaries of time, good health, capacity and circumstance won’t interfere with our plans. For example, my stepfather intended to fish and live down the shore when he retired. Unfortunately he had health issues with his heart and with cancer and he never fully realized his dreams dying only a few years after his retirement.

My closest friend’s parents died relatively early. He is obsessed with living as fully as he can daily. He doesn’t need to say the big push mantra, he lives it. Life and experience have taught him the uncertainty of guaranteed future time and opportunity.

Many of us want not only to pursue our pleasures and hobbies  but to leave a legacy, whether it is a result of our charity or community efforts or to serve as an example to our children or grandchildren. This is our big push, indeed it may be our final big push. Let’s not look back at this time with regret but with satisfaction that we used the time and opportunities we had to enjoy life and make life enjoyable and better for others.

The “It” Factor

Clara Bow was an actress in the 1920s who was labeled “The It Girl.” She was the predecessor to Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch and a number of sex symbols who were on TV and movie screens as well as posters on many men’s collegiate dorm walls. Clark Gable, Paul Newman and Brad Pitt might be characterized as having “it” by women.

What is “it?” “It” is a mixture of attractiveness, charm, personality, sex appeal and confidence that radiates from the person. I don’t think that “it” is only a phenomenon or brand for just Hollywood actresses or celebrities. I think that all of us have “it”. “It” are the qualities that make us attractive and what attracts us to a potential spouse, partner and opposite sex. It may also be defined differently as to its constituent qualities.

“It” is not inexhaustible and some people are blessed with more of “It” than others. There are peaks and valleys of “It”. Some people run out of “It” faster than others. Some lucky people never lose it no matter how old they get.

Here is my unscientific, totally subjective and undocumented (no data) analysis of the peaks and valleys when most men and women exhibit IT. Apologies to George Clooney, Morgan Fairchild and Christie Brinkley in advance…

Women acquire “it” earlier than men as they mature more quickly. Women may also lose “it” at a faster rate than men from age range 40-70. The peak age range for both men and woman is from 20 to 30. Again these are generalizations. Depending on one’s heredity, health, financial status, plastic surgery and desire to maintain “It”, results can vary.

Senescence: Round 4

A shower of passing thoughts and thunderous ruminations…

With apologies to Rodney, five jobs where you don’t get any respect: 

  1. Epidemiologist 
  2. Eagles football coach
  3. Governor of a largely populated state
  4. New host of Jeopardy
  5. 44th U.S. President

Summer is coming to a close. I won’t miss the heat, the humidity or the mosquitos. I will miss the early dawn sunrises and the late dusk sundowns.

On deeper reflection, I have lived through 70 summers, how many summers do I have left to enjoy?

The French showed more resistance in 1940 to the German invasion of their country than the anti-vaxxers have demonstrated to the invasion of covid in the United States.

Long running TV Talk Show in the 1960’s and 70’s that would not last 13 weeks today: Dick Cavett.(That’s no reflection on Cavett, it’s a reflection of our culture and the limited sophistication and education of today’s audiences).

RIP Markie Post. She was a beautiful distraction on one of my favorite comedies in the 1980s, Night Court.

Celebrity whose death affected me the most? John Lennon

Current Five Overrated Sports People and Events

  1. Pickleball ratings
  2. NBA Draft
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. The Process (not Embiid but the tanking by the 76ers)
  5. Sports Talk Shows (worst show is Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp)

While I enjoyed the Gold medal victories of the U.S. Men and Women’s Basketball Teams in the Olympics, I became a fan of the 3 on 3 Women’s Basketball competition (also won by the U.S.)

Two late Summer 2021 Book Recommendations:

  1. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
  2. The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation and The Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell

Another 1970 high school classmate passed away recently. My class had 481 students. Based on what I know, approximately 10% of my class has passed away in the 50 years since graduation. Given our stage in life now, it’s possible that 50% of us will die within the next 10 years.

Health, opportunity and time. The older we are, the less certain and smaller window to take advantage of them.

With possible apologies to W.C. Fields, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia than anywhere in Florida.

Observations on reaching the last year of my seventh decade

From left to right, Sandra, Eric, Joanne and two other unnamed cousins

Feeling wistful, ruminative and a bit thankful…

If life is a train ride, my station may be coming up soon. Regrettably most of us don’t know when our ride will end. A few friends and family members have disembarked too early, leaving me sitting sadly alone in the train car. 

All of us have an “aha” or life changing moment. Mine occurred on the morning of February 14, 1960 when I was told about my father’s sudden death. At age 7, I learned about impermanence, self reliance and responsibility. Some people never receive those insights no matter their age.

I have not measured my life’s success based on my net worth, corporate executive titles or possessions I owned. Simply I wanted to be the best husband, son, brother, uncle and friend I could be. Largely that meant I needed to be “present” when someone needed help or encouragement.

My 44 years of marriage to a wonderful woman represents the best decision and greatest commitment of my life. The joy and love from this woman more than offset any disappointments, failures, and travails I have experienced. Life does not always offer an easy road but I am grateful for my constant and supportive companion.

Some of my life’s biggest disappointments, socially and in business, were as a result of women. This is not an indictment of women as much it shows my lowered expectations of the words, promises and actions of my brother man.

Coincidentally, but not surprising, my biggest supporters and influencers, in my youth, were women. Besides my wife Chris, my sister Sandra was a source of encouragement, love and motivation. Sandra’s death twenty seven years ago is my greatest personal loss.

Two biggest trends in my lifetime: (1) the explosion, breadth and advancement of technology in business and personal life and (2) the disintegration, coarseness and division of our politics and civility.

I have no heirs but I am sad about the type of world that my generation is leaving to those generations behind us. We’ve left them problems with government debt, climate change, rebuilding infrastructure, improving public education etc. Those are issues that we should have been focusing on instead of building walls, creating conspiracy theories and disputing fair elections.

I was looking at some pictures of birthday parties for me or cousins when I was 6 or 7. The black and white pictures were a bit faded, many of my family in the photo are deceased but the memories remain. Was there anything more exciting for a young boy or girl than to look forward to a birthday party with friends and family?

The basic evidence of humanity among people is simply sharing a smile.

I’ve lived 25,202 days. That’s a lot of opportunities to appreciate sunsets, sunrises, great conversations, varied travel experiences, meet new friends, and make social and business contributions. Success and appreciation of life are often measured by how close our results = opportunities.

Sign of the Times:  We need a Facebook prompt to remember and celebrate a friend or relative’s birthday. 

Why is it that despite much improved personal training and sports medicine that today’s pitchers can’t go beyond five innings and basketball players can only play half a season?