For the past two years my wife, who was once one of the top female runners in New York, has suffered with a debilitating deterioration of her left hip. Today, this morning, we are at the Hospital for Special Surgery where, though the miracle that is sometimes modern medicine, it will be replaced by a high-tech contraption that will, in all likelihood, be better than the Original Design.
It's tough going through something like this. As my ex-boss used to say, you're staring down the barrel of old age.
As regular readers of this space know, I've had my own flirtations with mortality, culminating last summer in pneumonia, a car crash and pericarditis. Later on in the year, I took a tumble in a dog playground, breaking my Ozymandias-like fall with my outstretched arm. That resulted in a torn rotator-cuff, which still visits me with pain. Especially on days when I'm scheduled to pitch.
All these ailments suck.
But they're part of life, they're part of growing old.
I have legions of friends in their 30s and 40s and I'm sure these woes--which are normal and natural--seem as alien to them as black-and-white television or a rotary phone. That will never, that could never happen to me. That's the kind of thing that happens to ack ack ack my parents.
Well, I've got news for you, Bucko.
Judging by the subway-like hordes of middle-aged people in the waiting room this morning, my wife's woes, and my own, are by no means unusual. (What's unusual is actually having insurance to pay for it.)
When the advertising industry exploded in the 60s, the median age in the US was 28. Today it is pushing 40. We are getting older as a population. That's a statistical fact.
When I watch TV at night it seems like every commercial features some kid who does a series of standing back flips or one who breaks out into spontaneous gregarious dance.
This is not the way the world looks except for perhaps a few square blocks in Williamsbeard.
As they say, growing old sucks. But it beats the alternative.