Old Age is a Disease

People are more interesting when they are seventeen or twenty seven than when they are seventy seven, which is the age I have just achieved. At seventeen, they wonder about what kind of person they will be and what kind of occupation they will hold when they grow up; at twenty seven they think about whether they are good husbands and wives and whether they are any good at what they do for a living. People are concerned at twenty seven with whatever project they have taken on in life, whether that is a career goal or simply a way to provide support for the family they now hold up as the dearest thing in the world to them. But at seventy seven, as I just found out at my high school’s sixtieth reunion, people want to talk about their grandchildren, as do I, and what diseases are knocking off the people you and your interlocutor may know. It is not that the younger person is still not there, deep inside, but the self has become sufficiently polished so that only externals show.

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