Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Age Gauge

Robert J. Freemyer
We humans measure everything. From the day we’re born (will he measure up to his father?) until the day we die (he climbed the ladder to the top) we consider most everything by measure. Recipes (Grandma used her hands to measure ingredients: a pinch of this a hand full of that), lubricants for our cars, the temperature, rainfall, the river, school grades, how we feel (Lord, his temperatures up to a hundred and two), and on and on. We measure people we meet by ‘sizing’ them up and that’s when our personal gauge kicks in (he’s a pleasant person; he’s an ugly guy; she’s a gossip, etc.). That’s okay unless you’re fool enough to judge a person you’ve just met by this gauge. But this morning I was thinking about our Age Gauge. There are many ways we measure our ago (graying hair, wrinkles, PMS, etc.) but I think the most important gauge of our own age is our Icons. No, not the ones on your desktop; the people we grew up with: our schoolmates and teachers; our musical singers, bands and sound; our political heroes; our war heroes and others who impressed us with their knowledge, talent or largesse. You and I can just about guess someone’s age by noting the music they enjoy, the movies they talk about, the political leaders they idolize, and, of course, that non-war hero who symbolizes all war heroes: John Wayne.
Someone sent me an e-mail the other day and asked me my age. I sent them one back that said: Rudolph Valentino made my grandma faint; my mother swooned over Frank Sinatra; Elvis was and still is the king; rap music is the biggest put on teenagers ever fell for; the three greatest presidents who ever held office in my time were Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy (a true war hero); Eisenhower and both Bush’s were elected by the default in American: the Republicans; I graduated with a high school class of 347 students of whom twenty percent are now buried; the greatest movie actor who ever lived was Richard Burton and the last actor who fit the classification of ‘Movie Star’ was Clark Gable. Mel Gibson is the only actor who deserves the title nowadays. Sex should never be under-rated as good exercise. Now, can you guess how old I am?