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On Turning Sixty


Robert Levin

 Although it's brought me that much closer to transforming into worm food, I've found that turning sixty is not without its compensations.

While it's true, for example, that my member isn't getting a proper supply of blood anymore-and that I can no longer write my name in the sand and must settle for my initials-I can still have lots of fun with it. Thanks to a prostate gland the Museum of Humongous Prostate Glands has already put in a bid for when I buy the farm, my urine stream now bifurcates at the exit point. This means that I can pee into the toilet and the adjacent bathtub at the same time-which is a kick. My urologist says that while he can make no promises, there's a good chance that in the not too distant future I'll be capable of trifurcating. This will enable me to pee in the toilet, the bathtub AND the laundry basket simultaneously.

I can't wait.

And by making it possible to legitimately ignore questions that have always annoyed the hell out of me

"When are you getting a job?" is a persistent one that's never failed to spill some really nasty chemicals in my brain, my newly developed hearing loss has a terrific upside as well. Not, to be sure, that its downside isn't just as major. I mean, how many invitations to lunch have I blown? How many people have said, "Let me buy you lunch," and I've said in reply,

"But we still don't have Bin Laden"

 As thorny as this problem is, I've managed to ease it somewhat by saying, maybe a dozen times a day to people with whom I come into contact, "Thanks, that's great." Though probably 500 of them have looked at me in a very askance kind of way-and one, I'm not sure why exactly, punched me in the stomach-I've gotten six lunches doing this that I would otherwise have missed out on. Not to mention a free ticket to a Robert Goulet concert!

But if the benefits and drawbacks of my hearing impairment more or less cancel out each other, the short-term memory loss that's accompanied my sexagenarianism has a plus side that actually outweighs its minus side. I'm speaking, of course, of the guarantee it can afford me that a movie I'm going to will be a good one. I'll notice, for instance, an ad for a movie and tell a friend about it. The friend will advise me that I saw the movie just a week ago. I'll ask him if I liked it and if he says, "Yeah, you couldn't stop talking about it," I'll think, hey, how often does a movie come with THAT kind of recommendation and I'll go immediately to see it. I'm told that I've seen Pearl Harbor eight times now.

I might add here that being strictly of the short-term variety, my memory loss in no way affects my ability to remember the last time I had sex.

But probably the best of the many compensations turning sixty provides is the comforting knowledge that while I can still croak at a RELATIVELY early age I've been spared the embarrassment of expiring at a TRAGICALLY early age.

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