All is vanity and striving after wind, and goodness am I vain

OK. So this is the height of exhibitionism. Don’t read it if that bothers you.

I am in the beginning of my senescence.

I’m fond of the second (scientific) definition of the word—the word comes from the Latin senēscere (“to grow old”) which comes from senex meaning “old.”

Cell Biology . (of a cell) no longer capable of dividing but still alive and metabolically active.

Whatever characteristics have fallen by the wayside these days, I am still alive and metabolically active. However, I have several challenges that may test my activity. This morning I have a marathon appointment with a neuro-ophthalmologist. I see double. Well, mainly at distances. Whether I’m covering one eye or not. There are, for example, always two moons.

Then there’s this hip thing going on. For six months I’ve had sharp pain in my right hip when I do almost anything. A torn cuff, a bone spur, and arthritis. So on Wednesday, cute young Dr. Steven Thornton is going to stick his camera and scalpel in there and clean things out. Crutches for a couple of weeks. Care for three months. A pain in the, well, yes, the ass.

So these things are part of my version of getting older. I expect to live to 90 if my genetic heritage plays itself out in spite of my smoking for 20 years, drinking alcoholically for a not completely simultaneous 20 years, and being overweight for a majority of my 68 years.

I want to say with the Teacher (although my silver cord is far from being snapped):

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;  before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with the rain;  in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly;  when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low;  when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets;  before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern,  and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, NRSV).

So I’ve been collecting my vanities. This is, of course, the height of vanity. So don’t look at these pictures (I bet you will). Me, from not quite the days of my youth. The odd thing is that the days of my trouble were my youth. I’m happier, and in some ways healthier, than I’ve ever been. Go figure.

So while I’m waiting for my friend to come to pick me up to go to the neuro-ophthalmologist, I’ll ust upload some random pictures from over the years.

About 1983. The days of my youth.

About 1983. The days of my youth.

1987. The days of my greatest creativity. Off of booze and onto work.

1987. The days of my greatest creativity. Off of booze and onto work.

About 1990. A program of 19th-century music at the Beverly Historical Society I organized.

About 1990. A program of 19th-century music at the Beverly Historical Society I organized.

About 2005 playing an organ program in Fresno, CA, with my sister turning pages. Some spirituality in my playing, finally.

About 2005 playing an organ program in Fresno, CA, with my sister turning pages. Some spirituality in my playing, finally.

2012 An old man joking around remembering 1990 and his students' production of a bizarre play.

2012 An old man joking around remembering 1990 and his students’ production of a bizarre play.

2011 On a solitary getaway in Oregon. Finally having learned to "invite my soul."

2011 On a solitary getaway in Oregon. Finally having learned to “invite my soul.”

2001 With my parents at the top of Scotts Bluff, all of us remembering the '50s.

2001 With my parents at the top of Scotts Bluff, all of us remembering the ’50s.

2012 Playing the way an old man plays. Again, finally.

2012 Playing the way an old man plays. Again, finally.

My 67th birthday. Finally relaxing.

My 67th birthday. Finally relaxing.

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