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A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

Okay, I admit it, I’m not dealing with the aging process equanimously. I may seem devil-may-care, with smiles for every babe, but inside there is a tipped bag of tumult.

Vanity has never been one of my problems, not where my physical characteristics are concerned. I long ago accepted the fact that I’d stopped growing at 168 cm like my dear old dad, though I’d once have sold a twin for an extra 5 cm. Forget athletic prowess. While I could always sink a basket, making my way down the court was a congenital problem. The same with bowling balls and their habitat.

Hair: I don’t give a fig for its colour. I am accepting of gray, even white’s onset if the hand that wields the paintbrush dunks accordingly. Diminished hair is another matter; there I am not at one with my universe. Hence The Look.

We won’t galumph among the traditional and even mystifying infirmities that seem to afflict one’s post-MA years. Too many of my buds can match me ache for ache; I can do without the contest. Besides, when you’ve a mid-octogenarian parent whose conversation is a pained litany of all that’s externally and internally defining, you know you’re still junior league.

I admire and envy people who improve with age, so to speak, and am frankly inclined to question appearances. But it’s their business. Mine ought to be my own.

I’ll be in Toronto shortly after you read this, for the first time in three years. I used to visit every several months. Treading much of lower Yonge Street, in search of dry goods and music, used to be worth the anticipation. This time I’ll have to pace myself. It’s come to this, Heywood.

Ann is prepping for her July trip to Wales, with our daughter, by treadmilling at the fitness centre of current choice (where I recently wreaked havoc on two separate muscle groups). Gwynedd is hilly, she has the right idea, and it’s been 15 years. The same daughter can complete her prep training with me, in Toronto the month prior.

Milestones: last June marked the 25th of our officially arriving on PEI from the New Brunswick wilds. And to think that I discouraged us from acquiring property because I didn’t think we’d be here all that long. Home is where you begin to take too much for granted. This summer’s themed by two more biggies: my __th birthday and our 35th anniversary. Numbers must, in the end, mean something; these keep chinking like chimes within my tonsured vertex. I’d say this must be time for reflection and self-assessment, but who pays me to torment myself?

It was writer’s block that geysered this final column before election summer sets in, with its slurry of unknown factors and quantities, including, fellow Islandites, the weather; and with it, the speculatory number of necessary tourists. Jellybeans in a jar. I have been driven just far enough inward to find such truths as I am prepared to share at this dewy-eared moment. Never mind the bravely creative and helpfully imaginary, this is an opportune time for a sidelong glance at the funhouse mirror hanging in my sanctum sanctorum. It plays the very devil with certain physical manifestations of…maturing. Good, now I can go on.

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