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Happy Birthday to Me: In My Extreme Age

Turn around, half a decade is gone. 70?71?727374 75? It doesn’t feel so old. I’m told that it is but it doesn’t feel that old. At the same time, I confess I’m not exactly sure who this geezer is who shows up in the mirror every morning — or where he came from. The thing is he keeps writing notes like this and leaving them where I can’t help finding them:

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Skin planed to glassine,
Bone buffed to crystal,
Light locked in the marrow,
And memory melded to images only…

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Thoughts thinned to one
And dreams dimmed to soul;
To that one shred of thread
Which stitches the shroud

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In that age extreme,
That extreme edge of age,
There shall still
In such stillness
Ring in my ears
One echo of now;

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In our age extreme
Your echo shall glimmer
Ever on the river that streams
Through time’s silted canyons
Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

Of our extreme age —
In our age extreme.

— Vanderleun for Emma Jean.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn December 26, 2017, 12:49 PM

    Many, many, many more. Happy Birthday, Gerard.

  • Terry December 26, 2017, 12:51 PM

    Happy birthday Gerard! And I wish you many more!

  • Dave December 26, 2017, 1:18 PM

    You have three weeks on me, Gerard, however, I prefer to think of it as forty-something. It just happens to be forty-thirty-two.

  • Sam L. December 26, 2017, 1:45 PM

    It’s those Damned Chinese mirrors being snuck into our bathrooms, replacing the American-made mirrors that show us how we really are!

  • MOTUS December 26, 2017, 2:12 PM

    “How terribly strange to be seventeeeeeee…two”

  • Rob De Witt December 26, 2017, 2:34 PM

    You’ve caught up at last; with any luck I’ll surpass you again in four months.

    Congratulations, old man, and many happy returns of the day, whatever that means.

  • Howard Nelson December 26, 2017, 3:19 PM

    Gerard, you keep brightening in the Light.
    We all wish you to keep on keeping on.

  • Dr. Jay December 26, 2017, 3:34 PM

    Be thankful: You still got the body of a 71 year old.

  • w barna December 26, 2017, 3:51 PM

    Happy Birthday! I’m not far behind you. Thank you for your wise and occasionally snarky rhetoric….keeps me thinking and laughing.

  • Leslie December 26, 2017, 4:06 PM

    Has it already been a whole year? Happy, happy Mr V!

  • Bunny December 26, 2017, 4:12 PM

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Getting old beats the alternative,
    Happy Birthday to you!

  • pbird December 26, 2017, 4:24 PM

    Happy Birfday GV. We’re all pushing it.

  • Bill Cox December 26, 2017, 4:49 PM

    Happy birthday Gerard, I hit 70 a month ago. It’s a little strange.

  • Phil in Englewood December 26, 2017, 5:44 PM

    Happy Birthday Gerard! Something wonderful indeed… Here’s to many more, buoyed by your enthusiastic readers.

  • Julie December 26, 2017, 5:53 PM

    Happy birthday, Gerard. May you be blessed beyond all reasoning in the coming year.

  • Ga Gator December 26, 2017, 5:58 PM

    A tip, Gerard. When I hit 69 I started counting backwards.
    I’m 64 now and feeling a helluva lot better. Cheers anyway!

  • Joan of Argghh! December 26, 2017, 6:50 PM

    Fortunately, you’ve chosen your parents wisely. I wish you many more happy returns of the day!

  • ghostsniper December 26, 2017, 7:52 PM

    Happy birthday to you….
    I don’t care what they say, you don’t look a day over 70.
    But then, I stopped caring about age about 20 years ago.
    Except to just stay away from people that appear to be 40 or less due to inherent incompatibility.
    ….and many more!

  • ChrisP December 26, 2017, 8:25 PM

    I’m right there with you brother.
    Strange days, and, who is that old man in the mirror?

  • KMM December 26, 2017, 8:41 PM

    Happy Birthday Gerard!

  • JohnPeg December 26, 2017, 11:11 PM

    Happy Birthday, sir. I’m older than you . . . . and always will be. And you’re still the best writer in America. Come north and visit some day and we’ll have a blast!

  • Mumblix Grumph December 26, 2017, 11:12 PM

    Hey, happy birthday and all the requisite sentimental folderol.

  • leelu December 27, 2017, 7:09 AM

    Happy Birthday. Here’s to many, many more!!

  • Monty James December 27, 2017, 7:12 AM

    Happy Birthday.

  • Kevin Dickson December 27, 2017, 7:26 AM

    Nice words.

    Have a happy happy!!

  • Snakepit Kansas December 27, 2017, 7:56 AM

    Happy birthday sir! I wish you many more years to continue your writing! Thank you!

  • Jim in Alaska December 27, 2017, 8:47 AM

    In my extreme age…
    At 79 I still read and laugh
    At that young whippersnapper

  • John The River December 27, 2017, 8:51 AM

    72! Never!
    I myself look forward to the 29th Anniversary of my 39th Birthday.

    But Happy Birthday anyway Gerald!

  • BillH December 27, 2017, 9:39 AM

    Have a good one kid. I was a shiftless 14 year-old when you came along.

  • NealinPomerene December 27, 2017, 11:08 AM

    I will be 19 this January and wish you a sincere Happy Birthday. My suggestion is to just start over with the age thing when you turned 50 (that’s what I did). So you are 22, correct?

  • Phil in Englewood December 26, 2018, 5:30 AM

    Happy birthday, Gerard! I will drink a toast to you of whatever Keith Richards is drinking. We should both be around for another hundred years or so.

  • jwm December 26, 2018, 6:54 AM

    Happy birthday, Gerard. At this point in the game every day is a gift.


  • Hangtown Bob and Peg December 26, 2018, 7:43 AM

    Wishing you the Happiest of Birthdays……..
    I always think that each day that one awakens not looking UP at the sod is an accomplishment and a gift from GOD.

    May you have many more such days!

  • Sam L. December 26, 2018, 8:11 AM

    Your age is not extreme until you’re dead. Hang in there!

  • Terry December 26, 2018, 8:40 AM

    Happy Birthday Gerard. You and I are of equal age again.

  • Dr. Jay December 26, 2018, 8:47 AM

    Rejoice! You still have the body of a 72 year old.

  • Everyman December 26, 2018, 9:45 AM

    Age-old problem, unchanged since we shared an evening meal in Seattle several years ago. You look no different than you did then, and you have spent some time among the dead since then. Thank you for your return to our precincts and your writings here. Enjoy your remaining days which, although many, are meant to be limited by He Who Makes the Rules.

  • MOTUS December 26, 2018, 10:45 AM

    “How terribly strange to be seventeeeeeee…three”
    Wait, what? I might have sent the same sentiment last year about this time. Of course you were much younger then (than now).

    Okay, I’m done talking to you in songs.

  • Eskyman December 26, 2018, 12:42 PM

    So you’ve got six months on me! Good to know that your words are well-seasoned: with age comes wisdom, and a young whippersnapper like myself needs to hear from someone of an age.

    When my daughter turned 40, she told me that 40 is “the new 30.” So with that yardstick, we’re just entering early middle age!

    Many happy returns Gerard, and all the best to your Mum!

  • MIKE GUENTHER December 26, 2018, 1:25 PM

    Well, I just turned 60, but according to one of those health machines in the local pharmacy, I’ve got the health of a 73 yr old.

    Happy birthday and many more to come.

  • Denny December 26, 2018, 2:15 PM

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Poetry is hard
    Happy birthday anyway

  • rabbit tobacco December 26, 2018, 4:46 PM

    here’s the secret:You want to get older, you just don’t want to get old. lengthen your telomeres

  • lendie December 26, 2018, 5:16 PM

    Old myass. You are 10.42 years in Olive units. I figure you have
    another 6-7 lives left as well.
    Happy BDay!

  • Kerry December 26, 2018, 6:02 PM

    Happy birthday!

  • Janet Miller December 26, 2018, 7:38 PM

    Well, you look pretty good for an old geezer. Happy Birthday and I sure do enjoy your writings.

  • R Daneel December 26, 2018, 8:35 PM

    Happy Birthday! I wish you many more.

  • MMinLamesa December 27, 2018, 12:23 AM

    Happy BD dude. Enjoy.

  • Theduchessofkitty December 27, 2018, 1:20 AM

    No, the seventies are not an extreme age! My own mother is 85! My grandma passed on at age 99.75. Besides, I’m getting the impression that longevity might well be somewhere in your genes…

    Happy Birthday, Gerard!

  • H December 27, 2018, 4:04 AM

    “Ve Git Too Soon Oldt Und Too Late Schmart”

    I’ve still miles to go on the last half of that equation.

  • ca December 28, 2018, 6:20 PM

    Congrats, man.

    Thanks for all you do (and have done).



  • John the River December 29, 2018, 7:15 AM

    Happy Birthday, belated. I didn’t realize it had been a few days since last I rolled by.
    Got some Gerard reading to do.

  • RosalindJ December 26, 2019, 6:19 AM

    From one member of the Christmas season birthday club to another, I hope you enjoy this one, and many more to come.

  • RosalindJ December 26, 2019, 6:19 AM

    From one member of the Christmas season birthday club to another, I hope you enjoy this one, and many more to come.

  • Dave in PB December 26, 2019, 6:54 AM

    Happiest of Birthdays to you Sir!

  • Phil in Englewood December 26, 2019, 7:10 AM

    Happy Birthday, Gerard!

  • John The River December 26, 2019, 7:14 AM

    Happy Birthday!
    I’ve got a few months before I enter the seventies, but at least this year I didn’t arrive late to this party.

  • brinster December 26, 2019, 7:36 AM

    Happy Birthday Gerard. You have me beat by 4 days and 4 years and feel just as you do. You have alot more hair than I do. It’s why I wear a hat.

  • jwm December 26, 2019, 7:41 AM

    Glad that we can all wish you another happy birthday.
    Grateful that we’re all here to do it.


  • bfwebster December 26, 2019, 8:03 AM

    Happy birthday, and glad we’re all still here for another trip around the Sun.

  • Julie December 26, 2019, 8:31 AM

    How good it is to be able to wish you a happy birthday again!

  • dave drake December 26, 2019, 8:53 AM

    Happy Birthday and wishes for many, many more!

  • Terry December 26, 2019, 9:43 AM

    Happy birthday Gerard!

  • James ONeil December 26, 2019, 10:08 AM

    Gerard, another year older and deeper in somethingorother.


  • rabbit tobacco December 26, 2019, 10:09 AM

    Most all doctors agree 85 is OLD, so
    you got a ways to go. God Bless

  • captflee December 26, 2019, 5:09 PM

    Warmest wishes for a happy birthday, Gerard! Given the clamor and tumult of the past sixteen months, may your next sixteen years be calm, happy, and filled with love.

  • captflee December 26, 2019, 5:25 PM

    …and a happy St. Stephen’s Day, as well. Keep on spinning that curious sense of your own!

  • OldTexan December 26, 2019, 7:38 PM

    Holy Crap, where did they go, I will be 75 years old in 2020, one more decade under the belt and I talk to my older brother who is 85 and he has the same problem. Truth is we have all had a lot of bumps and bruises but here we are, one more freaking New Year.

  • Snakepit Kansas December 27, 2019, 7:40 AM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR!!!! I look forward to many more years of your writing.

  • Nowut Ameen January 3, 2020, 12:51 PM

    It is possible that you might be the inspiration for Ezekiel Emmanuel’s desire to off us old people at age 75.

  • Francesca Dricot December 26, 2020, 5:49 AM

    Happy birthday and Merry Christmas. 75 is the new 40.

  • Snakepit Kansas December 26, 2020, 5:57 AM


  • Andrew R December 26, 2020, 7:09 AM

    Happy 45th anniversary of your 30th birthday! Have a god one.

    P.S. My favorite Indiana Jones quote: “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

  • jd December 26, 2020, 7:21 AM

    Happy Birthday wishes, Gerard. I love Andrew R’s typo,
    a perfect gift on your special day.

  • Phil_in_Englewood December 26, 2020, 7:22 AM

    Happy Birthday Gerard! Thank you for sharing The Best Blog Ever with us all 🙂
    Today is something wonderful indeed.

  • Brady in Texas December 26, 2020, 7:33 AM

    Have read you for many years. 75 is not old. You look wonderful “at your age.” Let us hope for more years!!!

  • jwm December 26, 2020, 7:35 AM

    And one more year…
    Thank you once again for the light you provide in this darkest of seasons.
    Happy Birthday.
    Keep gettin’ older.


  • Kevin Shaughan Dickson December 26, 2020, 7:38 AM

    I have enjoyed your blog every day for well over a decade. Happy birthday…….may you continue forever.

  • John The River December 26, 2020, 7:40 AM

    Happy Birthday! I’ve finally joined you in the Select Seventies, not everyone is privileged to enter that club. My late dear wife did not. None of our cats, not surprisingly. BTW how old is Miss Olive?

  • rabbit tobacco December 26, 2020, 7:46 AM

    “you’re only as old as the woman you feel.”
    groucho marx

  • TrangBang68 December 26, 2020, 7:47 AM

    Happy birthday Gerard. I ain’t too far behind you. One thing I figured out this year is what the hell can they do to me at this stage of life? Might as well go all in to mock, ridicule and resist these filthy leftist bastards.

  • Terry December 26, 2020, 7:48 AM

    Happy 75th Gerard ! Stay well for us, you are a key to our sanity. And a great friend !

  • Nobody Atall December 26, 2020, 8:08 AM

    Best wishes on your birthday! Prayers for blessing this Christmas and New Year season! Gratitude for the joys and insights you have given me and many others over the years — may there be many many more to come.

    P.S. We celebrate our wedding anniversary today – 39 years, pretty old for a marriage these days, and amazing how we never quite spun apart at several particular junctions in our journey. The Lord wills it, is all i can figure.

  • captflee December 26, 2020, 8:20 AM

    Happy 75th, G!

  • Sam L. December 26, 2020, 8:23 AM

    I got two years on ya, and all I can say is, my memory ain’t what it never was…as best I can remember…

  • Uncle Mikey December 26, 2020, 8:26 AM

    Love from Texas

  • Geo December 26, 2020, 8:52 AM

    Happy Biethday, Gerard, I’m not far behind you.

    I tell my Doctor…..’If I only knew I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself”.

    De Oppresao Liber!

  • Auntie Analogue December 26, 2020, 9:02 AM

    Happy Birthday!

    MISSION CONTROL: “You have a GO for orbit number seven-six. Copy?”

  • EX-Californian Pete December 26, 2020, 9:12 AM

    Hey Gerard,

    I’m not calling you “senile” or anything, but are you absolutely SURE you’re 72?
    Because the photo above looks like some dude in his mid 50’s.

    Have a great birthday, brother. Enjoy it to the fullest.

  • Jay Worth Allen December 26, 2020, 9:19 AM

    ditto! . . . one through eighty eight.

  • Hangtown Bob December 26, 2020, 9:48 AM

    Happy Birthday, Gerard !
    For me, it’s even worse when I realize that 3 weeks ago, I turned three quarters of a CENTURY of age…..

  • James ONeil December 26, 2020, 10:00 AM

    Repeating what I said in 2017, with only the age changed to rub it in more;
    In my extreme age…
    At 82 I still read and laugh
    At that young whippersnapper

  • Boone December 26, 2020, 11:57 AM

    Happy birthday! And keep em coming!

  • John Fisher December 26, 2020, 12:25 PM

    Happy birthday, Gerald! Thank you for providing a refuge from all the crazy out there.

  • George_Banner December 26, 2020, 12:40 PM

    Roses are red
    Decent people are cool
    Getting old sucks
    All the best to cool you.
    And many more.

  • The Universal Spectator December 26, 2020, 1:11 PM

    I grow old … I grow old …
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    I do not think that they will sing to me.

  • The Universal Spectator December 26, 2020, 1:13 PM

    Finding your blog has been a blessing for me as it probably is for so many.

    Happy Birthday, Gerard. I’m only 11 years behind you…

  • julie December 26, 2020, 1:28 PM

    Happy, Happy Birthday!

  • Elmo December 26, 2020, 4:28 PM

    Keep on Truckin’, Gerard. That’s me behind you, pushin’ ya up the hill!

  • Motus December 26, 2020, 6:40 PM

    I want to be just like you when I grow up!

  • Casey Klahn December 26, 2020, 7:29 PM

    Continued good wishes.

  • Jewel December 26, 2020, 7:30 PM

    Live forever O Bard! Happy 75th birthday!

  • buddhaha December 26, 2020, 8:28 PM

    Happy birthday, whippersnapper.

    Accept the changes coming, for they will. Accommodate, not acquiesce.

    Every day on this side of the grass is another opportunity. I know you will grasp them.

  • Stiiv December 26, 2020, 10:34 PM

    Happy Birthday Gerard!

  • Sally December 26, 2020, 11:34 PM

    You are consistently fascinating and I love the ka-ching postings too. Happy Birthday, you lovely man.

  • Geri December 27, 2020, 2:24 PM

    Happy Birthday! I’m wishing to you a healthy and happy year. 🎉

  • Willyruffian December 27, 2020, 6:51 PM

    Happy birthday. Thanks for the great content all these years. Don’t retire from this.

  • mmack December 27, 2020, 6:52 PM


    You have nearly a quarter century on me and you have many weird and wonderful stories to share with all of us. May you keep going and sharing those stories with all of us, and meet new people and friends and make more new stories.

    “No man is lost if he can share a drink, a story, and a laugh with people.”

  • Jeff Brokaw December 28, 2020, 9:06 PM

    You look pretty good for an old guy Gerard 😉

    Wishing you a Happy Birthday and many, many more!

  • Joan Of Argghh! December 31, 2020, 2:24 PM

    Wishing many happy returns of this day to Real America’s poet laureate.