PAGING PONCE DE LEON

Carly Simon is in my head a lot these days singing, “You’re So Vain”. After decades of seeming perpetual youth in my career as a reporter, the portrait in my attic has become an illusion. It’s something with which most people who work in the public eye must come to grips as time goes by.

Live from Martha’s Vineyard – July 2009

Juan Ponce De Leon was a Spanish explorer who came to the Americas in search of the fountain of eternal youth which he was sure was located on Bimini. Needless to say, he did not find it.

First, it was my hair turning salt and pepper, then predominantly gray. And, then, oh horror! A bald patch atop my head which has crept ever forward. Mother of mercy!!

72-Garry-Fenway-Sox_01

As a TV news guy, I was on the air several times a day, five or six days a week. For 31 years. I remember walking into an electronics store and seeing myself on dozens of TV sets, surrounded by a throng of appreciative people. From an ego point of view, it just doesn’t get much better.

The hair crisis was paralleled by my body telling me I could no longer work such long hours, nor party with little sleep and questionable dietary habits.

Understand that I’ve been retired for 20 this October, but I’ve been very slow to accept the guy I see in the pictures on our wall no longer exists. Last week, I visited my two younger brothers at our family home. Our mission? Prepare the 60-year-old house for sale. Huge cleanup. My body cried for relief the first day. My brothers were sympathetic. I was grateful but my ego took a hit.

Three brothers and a cousin
Three brothers and a cousin

The drive home from West Hempstead to Uxbridge was out of “The Twilight Zone”. Bumper to bumper from start to finish. More than five hours! I used to relish such trips, regardless of traffic. It was fun in those convertible days, top down, letting memories blur the idiotic, incompetent motorists around me.

My convertible days are history along, with my tolerance for long hours on the road.

Credence Clearwater Revival rode shotgun the final hour of the drive, keeping me alert as I finger tapped the steering wheel. “Midnight Special” played a half-dozen times, right into our driveway as I arrived home and allowed myself a long sigh. I slowly — very slowly — extracted myself from the car. I tried to stretch.

Oh, the dismay. The fear and trembling. Where the hell was Ponce De Leon when I needed him? Probably still in his eternal search for that elusive fountain of youth …



Categories: Garry Armstrong, Getting old, Humor, Music, Personal, Retirement

Tags: , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Surprising how much more upset I am about losing some of my hair than suffering other more physically painful signs of age. Always loved that Carly Simon song.

    Like

  2. I met Ponce once – in a bar in Vancouver.
    I asked him what was it like? – eternal youth and all.
    But he just kept mumbling: “los mosquitoes … los mosquitoes …”

    Maybe eternal youth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be???

    Like

  3. Too funny, Garry. Just for you…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post Garry, it resonates with this woman of a certain age. But what’s the alternative? The Picture of Dorian Gray isn’t so appealing. And frankly I wouldn’t want to be 29 again. Now if we all could age like Georgia O’Keefe. On her, those wrinkles were a sign of beauty and nor age. Thanks for this thought-provoking post. Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I KNOW ONLY TOO WELL. MY FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH DRIED UP YEARS AGO.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent. Know that feeling only too well!
    But mind you, you are still very ‘presentable’…. to us readers anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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