“The score then, to date is that I am deaf in the left ear, bald, subject to mysterious giddy fits, and practically cock-eyed. I suppose the moral of the whole thing is that I have simply got to realize that I am a few months off being seventy.”
I try to keep my giddy fits private. No sense in disturbing the public. I’ve been largely deaf in my left ear since 1974. Mercifully, the hair remains intact, though now the color of a Confederate officer’s uniform. Jean-Paul Sartre is the poster boy for cock-eyed-ness, not me. And today I enter my seventieth year. P.G. Wodehouse continues his July 1951 letter to his doctor:
“I had been going along as if I were in the forties, eating and drinking everything I wanted to and smoking far too much. I had always looked on myself as a sort of freak whom age could not touch, which was where I made my ruddy error, because I’m really a senile wreck with about one and a half feet in the grave.”
Never a smoker, I’ve made it this far because I no longer drink. The key to longevity is Newton’s Second Law of Motion. I’ve grown to rely on momentum. Inertia will kill you, at any age. The freakishness Wodehouse describes is yet another comical human delusion. Trapped as we are in who we are, we can’t imagine otherwise. My sense of self froze at age thirteen. I’m still that kid with a mild case of acne who gave up on science fiction and discovered Tolstoy and girls.
From the time he wrote the letter to his doctor until his death at age ninety-three on Valentine’s Day 1975, Wodehouse wrote at least twenty-two more novels and collections of stories.