The aging of Bob

Bob
Bob Wakeham
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Age - that definitive marker of time above the turf - has never been a source of much worry on my part.
My early, devil-may-care lifestyle killed, so to speak, any thought of longevity and, even in my benign middle-aged years, there were conditions that appeared guaranteed
to provide a premature departure
to nothingness, scenarios that reduced dramatically any thought I might have given to the aging process.
However, I recently turned 60 - a birthday of no interest to consumers of this Saturday slot, I'm sure, but a bit of a shocker, nevertheless, to me and many of my relatives and lifelong friends - a disrepute of the predictions made way back in my mid-20s by buddies and co-workers that I'd be lucky to make it to the ripe old age of 30.
So now my age has become not so much a major, melodramatic crisis, but, at the very least, a matter I think about for the first time, and certainly am reminded of constantly.

Impossibly old

As a member of the baby boomers, the generation that included many who believed they would drink, dope, dance and fornicate their way into eternal youth aboard a one-way flight to Shangri-la, 60 has a God-awful ring.
Ironically, I feel better now than I have in years, having been declared an official "survivor" on a number of fronts, the relatively decent health not disconnected to the fact that I'm free of the daily, stressful grind of a newsroom, but still able to coax a few challenges out of my old noggin, and that I continue to remain active, in the woods especially, despite a paunch that long ago declared permanent resident status on my frame.
But there's no getting around the aging process anymore and I recognize frequently how out of touch I am with a wide-ranging "younger" crowd.
Take the recent Juno Awards extravaganza.
I've never been much of a fan of musical awards shows, although I unabashedly cheer any event that displays - even when our island is enshrouded in rain, drizzle and fog - the truly magnificent place that is Newfoundland. But I did catch enough of Canada's greatest musicians and singers to realize I could hardly recognize a soul, or call a "star" by name.
And mildly disconcerting was the fact that I started sounding like my father from 45 years ago.
"What in the name of God are they screaming for?" I asked my bemused wife at one point about a couple of young performers.
Then I laughed to myself, as I recalled watching and enjoying the Rolling Stones on the Ed Sullivan show, and trying to ignore my Dad - whose musical tastes were reflected in the fact that he played drums in the big band era with Ed Goff in Gander - who was disgusted with the gyrations of Mick Jagger and, for some reason, the closeness of the rocker's microphone to his gob.
"Why don't you just eat the G.D. thing?" my father suggested loudly to Mick.
I am my dad. Scary.

Army of the young

But it's not just being out of touch with music that forces me to acknowledge where I am on the escalator of years.
Some of the reporters I see on television, for another example, look like kids. I find myself remarking during the news shows: "Geez, he looks like he's in Grade 8," or "she'd get carded for an I.D. in a bar" or "how can they know anything about life?"
And I'm the identical age as the premier, for Gawd's sakes. I was never supposed to get as old as those puffed up codgers on Confederation Hill.
And now, just imagine, Danny and me, the same vintage (although Williams was doing his best impression of a junior high punk, shouting at Lorraine Michael in the House this past Tuesday).
And then there's watching the NHL playoffs where every player looks disgustingly young, and a 41-year-old named Mark Recchi is considered to be a miracle on ice.
Sad.
Equally pathetic is that I've put it to paper.


Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by e-mail at bwakeham@nl.rogers.com.

Organizations: Rolling Stones, NHL

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Whatre Ya At ?
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Bob Wakeham is in a class by himself. He's right on regarding some of the young reporters ; it's actually hard to listen to or watch some of
    them. One female reporter, in particular, always sounds like an excited 9 year old . 'There's a great big truck that was going really really fast and it came down this great big hill and it turned over and over and over and it made a great big bang and almost crashed into a great big crowd of people who got a really big fright. There are a whole lot of police here and a lot of roads are even closed because there's a great big pile of stuff on the road. This is --------- reporting for ---- News.'

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Bob Wakeham, please don't retire until you are 90. The tell it like it is kind of Journalists like you are in very short supply. The young so-called Journalists cannot hold a candle to people like you. I have noted that many of the younger so called journalists appear to be lazy, not very bright, compromised by conflicts of interest, afraid to confront people in power, unable to conduct an investigation, hate to do research or can't find the time, like to grab good news stories off the Government website, Canadian Press or Reuters news wires or are just working at the Newspaper and marking time until a better paying public relations or media communications job opens up at Confederation Building. There are no Carl Bernstein's, Bob Woodward's or Bob Wakeham's among them except for one or two exceptions. When you do retire, you should be a professor teaching the young folks what you know at a journalism school. Good luck Bob, keep up the good work!!

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Happy belated birthday Bob . In 1962 Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday to JFK . He responded with the remark . Thank You . I can now retire from politics after having Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet way . Williams' birthday has come and gone , but , would he take the hint --retire --- if some sex symbol sang to him . At this juncture anything is worth a try .

  • Whatre Ya At ?
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Bob Wakeham is in a class by himself. He's right on regarding some of the young reporters ; it's actually hard to listen to or watch some of
    them. One female reporter, in particular, always sounds like an excited 9 year old . 'There's a great big truck that was going really really fast and it came down this great big hill and it turned over and over and over and it made a great big bang and almost crashed into a great big crowd of people who got a really big fright. There are a whole lot of police here and a lot of roads are even closed because there's a great big pile of stuff on the road. This is --------- reporting for ---- News.'

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Bob Wakeham, please don't retire until you are 90. The tell it like it is kind of Journalists like you are in very short supply. The young so-called Journalists cannot hold a candle to people like you. I have noted that many of the younger so called journalists appear to be lazy, not very bright, compromised by conflicts of interest, afraid to confront people in power, unable to conduct an investigation, hate to do research or can't find the time, like to grab good news stories off the Government website, Canadian Press or Reuters news wires or are just working at the Newspaper and marking time until a better paying public relations or media communications job opens up at Confederation Building. There are no Carl Bernstein's, Bob Woodward's or Bob Wakeham's among them except for one or two exceptions. When you do retire, you should be a professor teaching the young folks what you know at a journalism school. Good luck Bob, keep up the good work!!

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Happy belated birthday Bob . In 1962 Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday to JFK . He responded with the remark . Thank You . I can now retire from politics after having Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet way . Williams' birthday has come and gone , but , would he take the hint --retire --- if some sex symbol sang to him . At this juncture anything is worth a try .