Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Age is such a variable thing, a number that won’t hold still. Today with my back bent I am going on 82, at least. Two weeks ago I was no more than 52. By next week I hope to be back in my 40s. Aging may be nothing more than a weather report with patches of sun and clouds approaching.

I’m in my Quasimodo phase looking for a belfry to bong. I know how Jake La Motta felt, a raging bull taking the nine count on his back.

The Green Hornet had Kato (Bruce Lee) for his assisted living. Tonto was always there at the Lone Ranger’s side. I could use either one or both this morning. Rimsky-Korsakov’s, Flight of the Bubble Bee was the one cue and Rossini’s William Tell Overture brought Hi, Ho Silver galloping. Music inspiring enough to either lift me into a saddle or peel back a wall leading to an underground garage where my shiny car awaits. 

Unlike today there was always crime to fight. A stream of two-bit thugs, cattle-rustlers, syndicates, goons, shady night-club owners with casinos and card sharks in the back room. It’s enough to make a guy nostalgic. No one could escape the long arm of the law. When the bad guy had the good guy cornered in an abandoned warehouse on the other side of town someone always had his back. Now I can feel my own back reverting as I speak.

Here I am leaping higher than a pop fly. Now I’m the glue-fingered receiver making a circus catch on a bullet pass. Or driving to the basket twisting off the dribble with a hang-time of ten minutes, give or take an hour.

I’m writing myself out of my backache shedding years with every sentence. Kelly and Astaire never ached or better yet, Baryshnikov.  These were anti-gravity guys who glided up walls in one take. I’m getting weightless as Busby Berkeley floats me up a stairway to the clouds, winged feathers and all. Wait, this is getting too close heaven. Let me down.

I’d rather be scooting around like Groucho overthrowing the order with a raised eyebrow and cigar as my artillery. I’m almost ready to be stealing home with Jackie Robinson or hopping a freight train with Woody Guthrie.

Why exert myself? Maybe I ought to just settle for Cary Grant, ever suave and debonair, who never worked up a sweat. His death at 82 is just a rumor. No number could really be attached. Trouble, like water, fell off his duck’s back. Where do I get myself a duck’s back?

Maybe I should be thinking, Mickey Rooney. At age 11 he was 5 ft, 2 and never grew which is probably my height at the moment. He lived to 94 close to the ground, and when asked how he won over all those statuesque woman (8 wives) said that he lied about his height. If my inner Daniel Day Lewis has become Al Pacino there must be a way back. With Peggy, hobbled though she is, at my side like Kato, I'll think of something.

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