I turned fifty last fall.
My husband marked the occasion by sending a solicitation to virtually everyone I’ve ever e-mailed, asking them to mark the date with a card. While I enjoyed hearing from lots of friends, I was embarrassed to realize that some very obscure acquaint- ances had received the request. Like the grandmother of a kid I barely knew who used to be in my son’s Boy Scout troop. She surely thought I was really hard up for pals. Alas, she took pity on me and sent an amazing card.
I share this memorable milestone with some very notable (notorious?) folks.
Most famous (infamous?) is no doubt Michael Jackson. I’ll never be as wealthy, but at least I’m still alive.
I must mention Madonna. I may not be so well known that I can get by with just one name, but I can happily report that I am still happily married.
Then there’s Barbie. I certainly can’t claim to have the hourglass figure that Barbie has maintained well into middle age. To my credit, I am supposedly just six pounds away from my ideal weight. The problem is that it’s not distributed as auspiciously on me as I might like.
As renowned as these prominent public figures are, when it comes to having an impact on our world, none can possibly hold a candle to the invention that has recently joined me, Michael, Madonna, and Barbie in crossing the half century mark: the microchip. Who would have imagined fifty years ago where that little slice of silicon would lead us?
Anyway, being old (or, more optimistically, being closer to being old) has finally paid off. Yesterday I called to register for a body toning class sponsored by the hospital. The lady noticed from my birth date that I was fifty and hence qualified for a fifteen percent discount. I was momentarily floored as I digested the significance of the occasion. But the shock quickly passed, and I thought, “That wasn’t so bad. Now when do I qualify for free coffee at Wendys?”