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Inside View: Turning 72

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 15:27:53 -0700

Seventy-two is an interesting number, from some points of view anyway. It's especially noteworthy to me since I recently turned 72. That sounds very old doesn't it? Yet as so many old people are prone to say, I don't feel it. Most days anyway.

But it does have it's peculiarities and merits, the number and me. Though I think the noteworthy attributes of the number are easier to grasp. For one thing, unlike the long ago 71 and the looming 73, 72 is not a prime number. No, 72 is unusually flexible being as it is cleanly divisible (in ordinary base 10 terms anyway) in several ways. It can be factored by primes 2 and 3 and pleasantly by non-primes 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 36. Of course those are all combinations of 2 and 3, but hey all things considered 72 is in much better shape than average for numbers under 100.

For a 72 year old human "better shape than average" is pretty damn good state to be in—what more could we ask for? Hell yes, we'll take it, we know too well can't last for long. The realities of old age are hard to deny when they slap us around so exhuberantly and always when we're looking in some other direction.

No point boring anyone by dragging out a litany of whiny health complaints, and believe me I've had a few I could toss out there. In reality for a guy who's seen as many doctors as I have in the last year, I'm doing OK. In line with the theme 72 is not only my age but the median heart rate measured at the doctors' offices, so there's that.

Don't you just hate it when old people insist on talking about that stuff? I always hated it too, but now I understand better what all those ancient buzzards were prattling on about. See, it's not that any of them believed younger people actually cared about their aches and pains, no it was just that it was so shocking that those things were really happening to them.

Easy to miss the message the old person was inexpertly trying to get across. Something like, “all this weird stuff is happening, nothing in my body's working right. I swear, just a couple of days ago it was fine, all of a sudden…, what the hell's going on?”

So here I am, just another “youthful” 72 year old dude. While my numerous high-priced medical consultants tell me I'm actually pretty healthy for a guy my age, the breakdowns are starting to creep up which feels weird and very unwelcome. Maybe I'll write about one or another of those peculiarities later on, maybe not. In any case, I'll let you know how I feel about it when the calendar says my age is once again a prime number.

Inside View

Absent conversations 2018‑03‑28
Turning 72 2017‑04‑11