The Swinging Sixties

Not the 1960s, this time, but the time when you enter your sixth decade of life.  This article talks about it, somewhat superficially, but  number of items had me nodding along.  Here are a few examples:

By age 60, you should have acquired almost everything you need, or learned to live without it. Possessions start to feel like an albatross, so you don’t blow as much money on dumb stuff like clothes, makeup, new phones, and cars.

Very true in my case.  Just about every thing I own is old and still works.  I don’t remember the last time I bought a new shirt, for instance — even though I take considerable pride in my appearance and always make sure I look presentable.  New Wife has almost given up on making me wear short pants in public, and thank gawd that fall and winter are coming so that this clothing choice becomes less viable.  I have too many pairs of shoes, certainly “dress” shoes (a hangover from my time as a corporate executive / business consultant) and considering that I have only one suit left, I can’t see any reason for owning more than one pair of my old black Johnston & Murphy toecaps.  I practically live in Minnetonka moccasins — I own three pairs in moosehide tan, dark brown and black, and just replace them as they start wearing out, about every three years or so.  I hardly ever wore denim jeans after my twenties because I found denim less comfortable than gaberdine or even linen trousers.  New Wife has prevailed on me to start wearing them again because she says I look good in them.  I discovered Target’s stretch jeans and now have a pair each of “washed out” (light blue) and normal dark blue, so these are my “go to the supermarket” choice nowadays.  Also, the belt loops are wider than my “dress” trousers, which is a Good Thing because it accommodates my 1911’s holster better.  I never wear T-shirts except around the house — that habit, like wearing denim, disappeared once I left my teens, and I have (too many) short- and long-sleeved cotton and linen shirts.  Even those… sheesh, some of them are close to twenty years old, although they don’t look it because when I find a shirt I really like, I buy three or four of them, in different colors if available, and rotate them so that they don’t wear out.

Sorry, that’s all TMI and getting boring so let me get on with some of the other stuff.

You get smart about people. I can now tell far more easily whom to trust versus who is trying to take advantage of me. These were things I was oblivious to when I was younger, but now I see things a lot clearer.

When I was younger, I pretty much always took people at face value and trusted them to be decent.  This was reflected in my circle of friends, which was vast.  Now?  I’m a lot more suspicious — sometimes incorrectly — of people and their motives, and this is reflected in a much-smaller number of people whom I can truthfully call friends.  I don’t care about that, especially;  I have about a dozen people (scattered all over the globe) whom I consider good friends, but even among them, only half or so are people whom I would allow to show up at my front door without warning and be welcomed into my house.

There’s a certain, almost dangerous, level of personal liberation. Kind of like, “I’m only gonna live for a few more years, so what could anyone possibly do to me?” This liberation in me, at least, has manifested in almost extreme levels of mouthiness. I say what I am feeling and thinking, I am NOT sensitive to anyone’s attempts to hurt my feelings, and I don’t really care if I hurt their feelings, either.

I will admit that this didn’t come to me in my sixties:  it’s been my attitude pretty much my whole life.  I have absolutely no concern about other people’s opinions of me, to the point where I literally don’t care if I offend someone and they never want to talk to me again.  Frankly, the only people whose opinions I care about are those of my family and very close friends.  Interestingly enough, my friends know this about me and indulge my occasionally-thoughtless outbursts.  Strangers, I don’t care about and never have.

Knowing that you are fully formed. You don’t have to take on any more self-improvement projects, even though you surely can if you really want to. But I don’t need to improve my posture, my vocabulary, or my attitude; I can do whatever I want now.

By 60, I felt as if I had my life figured out. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I no longer had the feeling that I had missed the ‘life manual’ everyone else seemed to have.

I came to terms with myself at about age thirty:  my character, my flaws, my strengths and so on.  I also made the decision that I could live with my flaws, which is a little dangerous.  I can be very cold-hearted or indifferent at times, for example, and that I do try to temper but without much success.  Frankly, it’s one of the reasons I don’t do well living by myself:  I need what’s been called the “gentling effect” of a woman in my life, and fortunately I have been blessed by having two of them for the past couple of decades.  As a single guy, I tend very close to the psychopathic, but as a married man I’m not too bad a guy.

Anxiety. At least for me, I’ve gotten quite better at managing the anxiety of the unknown and keeping it in its rightful place.

In his wonderful TV series After Life, Ricky Gervais’s character and actions are shaped by the fact that he literally does not care if he lives or dies after the death of his beloved wife.  As I’ve lived my sixties, I’ve become accustomed to that fact — not because of loss of a partner, but because I know that my time on Earth is going to end at some point in the foreseeable future.  I have little fear of that, so should catastrophe come calling — say, in the form of an incurable illness — I know that I’ll always have the option of popping a few tabs to relax me, and climbing into a hot bath with a bottle of gin and a razor blade.  The only thing that gives me any pause is that unlike Gervais’s character, I have kids who would miss me and might even be horribly saddened by my passing.  So I do want to spare them that, but at the same time, if things really got bad and my life truly turned into total shit, I’d hope they understood my situation — especially my absolute resolve never to be a burden on them.  I should point out that New Wife shares my attitude completely.

I’ve had a full, satisfying and very exciting life, and I have few if any regrets about it.  Stuff that other people only dream about doing or experiencing, well, I’ve done most of it myself and other than a few things I’ve missed out on and wouldn’t have minded trying (e.g. skydiving), my life has been pretty complete.  I’ve never been competitive, and always had a lazy streak to where “good enough” has never been the enemy of “perfect”;  I simply lack the drive to be “the best” at anything, and to be honest, I’m not sure that my capabilities would have been sufficient anyway.  And that’s one of the things that came to me much earlier than my sixties:  understanding that “nothing is impossible” is total bullshit.  Often, striving to reach the impossible involves making compromises that to me at any rate are not only unsupportable but insufferable.  As the saying goes:  nobody ever lay on their deathbed thinking:  “If only I’d spent more time at the office.”

I was a competent (occasionally more than) as a businessman, ditto a bassist, ditto a writer and ditto just about anything I’ve ever done.  My goal in life has always been “as long as I don’t make a fool of myself, that’s good enough.”

And that’s enough about me.

Worse Ways To Go

I have to admit that I’m not only sympathetic, I’m a little envious of the way this guy decided to go out.

Porn was being filmed onboard a retired doctor’s party yacht before cops swooped and arrested him on suspicion of drug and gun charges, according to new police documents. 

Authorities raided his 82-foot-long yacht called the JessConn, named after his two children, on September 5 in Nantucket after a woman on board called a friend for help. The woman told the man, ‘they were doing drugs all weekend long and people on the boat had been making pornographic films’. She added that she wanted to leave the boat before passing out, causing her male friend to contact authorities – telling them that she had overdosed.

The man told the Nantucket Police Department that the boat had ketamine, Adderall, ecstasy and cocaine on board.

Law enforcement sources told the Current that several prostitutes were found on the boat. No charges have been brought on these claims.

Scott Burke, 69, was charged with one count of trafficking a Class B drug, one count of possession to distribute a Class A drug, one count of possession of ammunition without a license and four counts of possession of a large-capacity feeding device.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ‘extremely uncooperative’ when police boarded the yacht and was placed in handcuffs and detained because of his behavior, according to an affidavit.  The married father-of-two claimed that the woman who overdosed had been working for him for a few weeks, and her female friend was staying on the boat.

But here’s the kicker:

Burke was released on a $200,000 bail last week after his lawyer told Plymouth Court that he has terminal stage four cancer — and just months to live.

So if you know you’re going to die soon, and if you have the money, why not go batshit crazy and spend it on one last over-the-top sex orgy?

The charges, by the way, are bullshit.  He’s a doctor, so presumably he has the Rx prescription for all those drugs, and the “unlicensed ammo” charge is idiotic — but it’s Massachusetts, so anything’s possible.

And by the way:  I want to know what a “large-capacity feeding device” is, and why possession thereof is illegal.

Now that he’s out on bail, Burke might just off himself with an OD of drugs they didn’t find, rather than letting the cancer take him.  Under the same circumstances, who wouldn’t do the same?

One More Kindred Spirit

My loathing for seagulls has been well documented (here, for example), so when I saw this little snippet, I was mightily pleased, oh yes I was:

A blue plaque has been installed to commemorate a man made famous – for swearing at seagulls.

The honour was cheekily bestowed on Huw Davies – who was renowned for shooing the pesky birds away with expletives.

Huw, from Aberystwyth in Wales, was previously honored with a joke plaque on his favourite bench when he passed away.

And the new one (which is not as funny because OMG swearwords doubleplusungood):

I wish that I could achieve such fame, for so trivial a cause.

I suspect that

Kim du Toit
Used to sit here and shout
FUCK OFF!!! at authority figures

would be tripleplusungood, even though it’s a very accurate summation of my lifelong attitude.

But yet, we persevere.

Lovely Stuff

I know we’re all supposed to act our age, but this is just priceless:

A Massachusetts woman was arrested and charged after the Townsend Police Department said she crashed into a building and then left while driving under the influence of drugs.

Deborah Gyles, 61, was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and unregistered motor vehicle.

Sixty-one?  And massively stoned?

It’s a kind of reverse precociousness.  Wonderful.

I was having a bad day until I read the article (courtesy of Reader Mike L., who should know better than to send me stuff like that).

I just want to know what drugs they were.