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Monday, September 18, 2006

Feeling Old

The other night I was discussing classic TV shows with  Ben Chorin and MoChasid when I experienced one of those truly sobering moments in life. 

I had mentioned in passing that 'Leave It To Beaver' was one of my favorites when Ben casually let it drop that both Ward and June Cleaver (as they appeared in the TV show) were younger than I am now (actually, he was talking about himself... but as usual this is all about me).

Yikes, I thought to myself... I'm older than Ward Cleaver!!!  How is that possible?

It took me a few days to get over the shock, but I was finally coming to terms with that one when I stumbled upon a factoid in a news article that provided another mental set-back.

The article was about how Theodore Herzl's children are going to be reburied near their father in Jerusalem in keeping with the terms of his will.  All very heart-warming... but as the article went on to provide a little background info for the reader, it mentioned that he had died in 1904... at the age of 44! 

That can't be right... I'm 45!

They can't be talking about the same Theodore Herzl... the father of modern Zionism.  I grew up with pictures of him.  He was this elderly man with a huge, imposing black beard:

Herzl

Herzl2_1

Herzl3_1

... and apparently I'm a full year older than he was when he died.

Great.  Just great.

In less time than I've had on this earth, Herzl had managed to create the blueprint for a modern Jewish state, and was a household name around the world.

I work in relative obscurity... and my secretary can't be bothered to remember how I drink my coffee.

I'm feeling old.

221_16_5_130

Posted by David Bogner on September 18, 2006 | Permalink

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Join the club! But just think, it could be worse: Loretta Lynn was a grandmother when she was 28!

Posted by: Yael | Sep 18, 2006 1:50:34 PM

that is a very sobering thought...

Posted by: Rafi G | Sep 18, 2006 2:10:09 PM

Yael... Um, your intention was to make me feel better, right? Just checking. :-) Actually Loretta Lynn could make anyone feel like a late bloomer.. until you consider the fact that she was married at 14 and had 4 kids by the time she'd reached the current age of consent in about a quarter of the 50 United States. No, in that respect I like my time-table just fine.

Rafi G. ... actually, now that I think about it, it is enough to make one run from sobriety. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 18, 2006 2:13:00 PM

You can't let things like this get you down. Think of how old the founders of Google are, or lehavdil, the Rambam when he wrote most of his works.

Abraham Lincoln said: "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

A couple of years ago, around Rosh HaShana time, I heard Rabbi Riskin quote the Chafetz Chaim as saying:

"Man manages his life like a person writing on a picture postcard while on vacation. At the top of the card, he writes the date; then he writes the salutation; and whatever other formal introductions. Before he gets to the message to tell you about what he really wrote about, he is out of room on the postcard! So, desperately, he starts writing in tiny, tiny letters; starts writing into the side, into the margins; turns it all around."

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Sep 18, 2006 2:58:56 PM

I was feeling your pain until the line about your secretary bringing your coffee. :)

Posted by: seawitch | Sep 18, 2006 3:25:28 PM

Wait a minute!

Hugh Beaumont (who played Ward Cleaver) was born in February of 1909. And "Leave It To Beaver" ran from 1957 to 1963. By my calculations, that means Beaumont's age ranged from 48 to 54 during the series.

Feeling better, yet?

Posted by: Drew | Sep 18, 2006 3:27:32 PM

:-) It's the beard man! keep a beard that size and reality will ‘shockingly’ hit you. Great Post and Pics.

Posted by: pk | Sep 18, 2006 4:05:00 PM

It's ok, Trep, when Mozart was your age he....had been dead for ten years. Oops. Never mind! ;-)

Posted by: Kayla | Sep 18, 2006 5:10:43 PM

Not you are old. Your chain-smoking secretary is. You need a new secretary.

;)

Posted by: a. | Sep 18, 2006 5:14:01 PM

Personally I like hanging out in this crowd because you all make me feel young.

At the office I am one of the older guys, but here I just a babe in the woods. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Sep 18, 2006 5:26:22 PM

Don't feel bad--I'm almost a decade older than you are!

You know, of course, the definition of 'old age'? Old Age is whatever you are now plus 10 years. We're all going to be middle aged forever ((-:

Posted by: aliyah06 | Sep 18, 2006 6:27:59 PM

I was with you, Dave until you brought up the secretary issue... you don't live in Ward's time frame, so your secretary (and I can't believe that you have one) should not be responsible for your coffee creation!

Oh and thanks Drew, for pointing out that I am more Hugh's age... NICE... real nice! ;)


Posted by: val | Sep 18, 2006 6:35:22 PM

I think you simple need a new secretary.

Posted by: weese | Sep 18, 2006 7:20:15 PM

... and I am your age and don't even have a secretary.

Posted by: Ben-David | Sep 18, 2006 9:49:13 PM

On the other hand, Rabbi Akiva didn't know the Aleph-Bet until he was 40.

And not everyone needs to be a world-famous world-changer. In the final judgement, we are asked if we were honest in business, not if we created the blueprint for the modern Jewish State!

Shana Tovah

Posted by: abbasegal | Sep 18, 2006 10:16:53 PM

Old...and obscure.

But I have the better part of a decade on you, so no whining, snivelling, and feeling sorry for yourself.

Posted by: Elisson | Sep 18, 2006 10:41:06 PM

You just reminded me of when I was in junior high, I think, and we were learning about Herzl, Zionism, etc. and the teacher mentioned that back in the day, he was considered to be quite a hottie! None of us giggling pre-teens could believe it.

Well, I'm older now...and I still don't find him to be attractive, but yeah, the fact that he achieved such extraordinary accomplishments in such a short life is very impressive.

I always loved "Leave it to Beaver"- I think my favorite episode was when Beav got his head stuck between the bars of that fence.

Posted by: RR | Sep 18, 2006 10:52:45 PM

Well, it all depends on perspective of course... I'm sure that although to me Herzl may seem, er, not as young as I um, if and when I get to be his age, I'll find that I'm quite young still. So cheer up! You have many years ahead of you to get famous! : )

Posted by: Irina | Sep 19, 2006 1:42:33 AM

Kayla: dangnabit, I thought *I* was the one who made the Tom Lehrer references around here.

Yeah, so you're old... suck it up! It still beats the alternatives... :)

Besides, I think I got it worse. When I got married five years ago, my wife was two years older than I was. Now, she's four years younger. At this rate, I'll be passing you by mighty quickly! :)

Posted by: efrex | Sep 19, 2006 4:02:42 AM

at 12 years old my daughter created her own "Little Old Peoples Club" if you are a member she will sit with you durring minyan and make sure that you get to your car when minyan is over. Membership is by invitation only and the requirments are: you have to be nice to her and be over 56. Being old is based on the person looking at the calendar. I hope that helps.

Posted by: Renee | Sep 19, 2006 4:32:55 AM

I'm turning 45 later this week, but I don't truly feel old...until I'm at my kids' school and see that I exceed many of these mothers by a good 10-15 years! (I was a late bloomer, what can I say!?)

I did feel old when I discovered that "middle age" hovers around age 37!

Posted by: Pearl | Sep 19, 2006 5:09:44 AM

We're not old ... just chronologically challenged.

(Gee whiz, Beav, you're 58 years old.)

Posted by: Yaron | Sep 19, 2006 6:55:25 AM

don't complain to me...turning 51 in 2 months.

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Sep 19, 2006 7:18:21 AM

So, ummm.... this is probably not the time to tell you that one of your good musician buddies became a Grandpa a few days ago?! =;-P

Posted by: zahava | Sep 19, 2006 8:12:36 AM

What is strange for me is to look at pictures of rock/hollywood legends who had died. I really feel old when knowing that I grew up hearing all about them and now looking back at their pictures and realizing how young they really were, such as Janis Joplin or Marilyn Monroe.

I also remember as a child watching One Day at a Time, and Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) always complaining about being 35. That was soooo old - something I wasn't looking forward too.

Posted by: jaime | Sep 19, 2006 8:29:32 AM

'here i am back from the days when we were...now i'm still and they're not' ahhhh mel brooks the 2000 year old man...you old? 44 then is like 83 now...so you still have time to touch as many stars as you want...my money's on you...stay safe

Posted by: marallyn | Sep 19, 2006 9:56:13 AM

What a coincidence that you wrote this post on my 45th birthday! I think that feeling "old" is more a matter of what you think you should have accomplished at a certain age, than a chronological number. I have a few things that I think I should have done by now, but on the whole I am pretty happy with myself.

Posted by: westbankmama | Sep 19, 2006 10:18:13 AM

Dave... It isn't all about accomplishments. I'm just shocked that I've caught up with (and even surpassed) many of the people I once viewed as 'grown-ups'.

Seawitch... See today's post.

Drew... Yes, that helps... just a little. :-)

pk... I'll try to keep my beard under control. :-)

kayla... I like to think of that as his 'decomposing' period.

a. ... See today's post.

Jack... Your time will come.

aliyah06... I never thought of it that way, but you're right.

Val... See today's post

Weese... Very funny.

Ben-David... Sometimes I feel like I don't either. :-)

abbasegal... The whole accomplishment thing is really a side point. The main thing that shocked me was realizing I am the same age as someone I once viewed as 'old'.

Elisson... It's my party and I'll snivel if I want to. :-)

RR... Herzl... Hottie? I didn't see that one coming.

Irina... As I said earlier. Fame is besides the point. It is the age identity that has me a little wigged.

Efrex... That must be that new math everyone's talking about. :-)

Renee... Your daughter sounds like a very special girl.

Pearl... 37???! Your intention was to make me feel good, right? Sheesh!

Yaron... Well put.

Cruisin' Mom... and like wine, I'm sure you're getting better.

Zahava... Gee thanks honey. :-)

Jaime... Funny, but I've never been aware enough of the hollywood set (TV is another story) to really get caught up in how old anyone was.

marallyn... Thanks, I appreciate it.

westbankmama... I wish I could say I did it on purpose. I'm pretty happy with myself as well. I just don't see myself as Herzl's age.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 19, 2006 1:22:25 PM

That was a low blow, Zahava... :-). Play nice.

Posted by: nrg | Sep 19, 2006 1:48:42 PM

David, just be thankful she wasn't trying to tell you that you were going to be a grandpa!

Posted by: jaime | Sep 19, 2006 4:48:41 PM

Nope, you'll always be much older than I am. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Sep 19, 2006 6:13:59 PM

Hi! He looks so old, because looking old was a sign of wisdom in the Germany of the 19th century. Young students drank a lot of beer, not only because it was 'cool' at that time, but also because it would give them a belly. (Herzl probably did that in his early years as well.)
It is also interesting that the German wikipedia article shows him as a strictly Jewish person, while the English version shows him (correctly) as a German nationalist (which was no contradiction at that time).
;)
Oh well, history is just the version we all agree with.
Regards

Posted by: Chris | Sep 19, 2006 11:55:40 PM

So sorry for my bad English and the rubbish I wrote. He was not a German nationalist. He was just fascinated by their newly gained unity and sympathized with them. It's quite some time ago I read his books.

He DID drink German beer though. :)

Posted by: Chris | Sep 21, 2006 12:27:28 AM

You have probably done more in your 45 years to popularize the term Treppenwitz than anyone else EVER. Herzl can't say that, now, can he? Great beard he had though...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Sep 28, 2006 8:27:08 AM

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