Forty. By this point I was not merely standing firm, I actually was a firm: Giles Mathews, Ltd., software consultancy for the discerning corporate IT manager. (Make that half a firm: In British law a registered company must have minimum two principals. My sister, who couldn”t tell a computer from a rhododendron bush, was Co-Director and Secretary.)
Revenues were good. I had a flat in London’s West End, patronized a traditionalist gents” tailor whose suits I still wear”that bespoke stuff lasts for ever”and had a subscriber’s ticket to Covent Garden Opera House.
The main doubt in my mind at this point was whether I should get married or not.
Fifty. Family man. Best decision I ever made. If you”re not married, get married. If you”re married, stay married. No, those are not the decrees of Heaven, just sincere suggestions for the general increase of human happiness.
That chubby tot in the picture, who had just gotten through eating several mouthfuls of Long Island beach sand, is now a man: a soldier and a patriot, strong and smart. If life has a purpose, that’s what it is: to make more life.
Sixty. Raising kids, writing books. My ear an obedient organ for the reception of truth? I hope so. At the very least, as by this time an established member of the stone-kicking fraternity, I flatter myself that I know a pretty lie when I see one. Reception-of-truth-wise, that puts me ahead of the great majority. Pretty lies are popular.
Seventy. Had that picture taken the other day at the drugstore when renewing my Suffolk County pistol license. “Apples in your cheeks,” said Mrs D. Who put them there, honey?
It’s a funny business, this being in the world”what Charles Darwin’s granddaughter called “the long littleness of life.” You fuss around for a few decades, then you”re gone; and after a few more years, in the overwhelming majority of cases, you and all that you did are utterly forgotten.
Ah, well. “Towards the end of the run you can overact appallingly,” said Quentin Crisp. Perhaps I”ll give that a try.