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I Missed Out On the 60s

Woodstock Opening ceremony at Woodstock 1969 (Wikipedia Commons)

My buddy Yisroel called me.

"Can I come over right now? I need to talk."

"Sure thing," I answered, and he was at my door in minutes.

"What's going on?" I asked him.

"I never said anything to you but when I turned sixty a couple of weeks ago it was not necessarily a happy birthday, significant but not happy. But then I had a breakthrough."

"Really, that's great. Tell me about it."

"Well, growing up I always felt terrible that I missed the 1960's. I was five when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show [1964], I was eight during the summer of love [1967], and at ten I remember teenagers talking about going to Woodstock but I was too young to go [1969]. But I realize now that I own the sixties - I have the whole decade to myself. I'm on the threshold of enjoying sixty, sixty-one...all the way to sixty-nine-wow, this could be exciting!

"A few days later it was Purim, and we went to hear the megillah. Afterward, we moved to the lobby to break our fast on a splendid blend of cold pizza and warm soda before moving into the social hall for a concert. At that moment, with Haman a heartbeat behind me and the pizza and soda fighting for domination of my belly I wanted nothing more than a cold Heineken or single-malt scotch. There was a bar in the corner, but no bartender, just a grand galaxy of macho males and vigorous Venuses gathered a few feet away. In a bold attempt to help myself I reached for the Dewars when a seductive satellite broke away from her galaxy of stars. 'The bar is for young, single professionals only.'

'What?' She repeated her directive more loudly and I was unable to feign hearing trouble so I sheepishly moved away from the bar to graze with the more terrestrial members of my tribe.

"As the band played my mind weighed the Jewish attitude on aging. Here are some of my thoughts:

Sarah was ninety when she gave birth to Isaac.

Jacob was eighty-four when the seminal son of the twelve tribes was born.

Methuselah lived to be almost a thousand which means he was about two-hundred when he got his drivers` license. What's the big deal about being sixty?

"Buoyed by these reflections, I enjoyed the rest of the show. The next evening, still on a high I went to another Purim event, and at this show there was a lot of dancing. [Separately of course.] Rabbi Aharon pulled me out of my seat, we danced to the freilichen rhythms, and I thought I matched the young rabbi step for step until we broke ranks and he commented, `you dance pretty well for an old man.` Now I was stung to the core. Hearing this from a learned rabbi was a lot harder than receiving a mandate from the seductive satellite the previous evening. Surely Rabbi Aharon knows Moses lived to be one hundred and twenty, at sixty I should be considered middle-aged."

I listened intently to everything Yisroel said, and after pausing a moment to make sure he was through I asked him, "What is it that you want out of life?"

"Well, it's funny you ask. When I was twenty, I didn't know what I wanted or how to get it. When I was thirty, I knew what I wanted, but I still didn't know how to get it. When I was forty I knew what I wanted and how to get, but I was too tired, and-"

"But what is it you want today-now that you're sixty?" I interrupted.

"Well...I don't think I want anything."

"Really, nothing at all? You have everything?"

"Everything I need."

"Are you tired?"

"No, I'm not tired."

"Well then," I surmised, "why worry about what other people say? Happy Birthday, buddy, you've got everything you need." 

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