Stupid Tuesday questions, Eustace Tilley edition redux

Oh, Adam Gopnik.    Are you aware of how ironic this is?

When I was a child, two piles of magazines, pillars of this misplaced faith in a leisurely reading future, rose in adjacent basements. In our house, Scientific American, dense with Feynman diagrams and unplayed mathematical games, accumulated, month after month; in my grandparents’, it was National Geographic, yellow-bordered, and with a bright, unpredictable photograph—as likely an Afghan child as a space shuttle—on its cover. Though occasionally the Scientific American pile got upturned by an eleven-year-old searching for science-project material, as far as I could tell the National Geographic pile was never disturbed by its owners, and was there merely to ascend, ever higher.

National Geographic?  A pillar of misplaced faith in a leisurely reading future?  Sure, I guess.  We, too, received it in my childhood home.  I remember leafing through it absently as a boy from time to time.  I guess my impression of that publication dovetails well enough with Mr. Gopnik’s.  But what other publication has held undisputed primacy in my home as a scornful reminder of leisure reading time a long time gone?

The New Yorker, of course.  The very publication from whence the above  musings came.  I just happened to come across the passage as I happened to flip through a recent issue on one of the fleetingly rare occasions I had to sit down with a copy.  I found it deeply ironic.

Yes, my home is festooned with unread copies of the New Yorker.  Indeed, I get the sense that mine is not the only one.  It has gotten to the point where I approach the mailbox with dread, fearing to find another issue to join its contemptuous unread brethren on various flat surfaces of my home.

I have written about this before:

When I finally became a New Yorker in real life, I subscribed shortly after I arrived in the City.  For three of the years I lived there my apartment was on the Upper West Side and I worked just south of Murray Hill, and for my last year I lived in Chelsea and worked on the Upper East Side.  (For two intervening years I lived on the Upper West Side and worked on the Upper East Side.)  Because of this, I usually had a commute to work that lasted about 45 minutes twice a day, almost all of it sitting on subways and buses.  It afforded ample time to read the whole thing cover to cover every week.

While many of the things included in the “Goings on About Town” were too pricy for my meager salary at the time (to say nothing of many of the restaurants featured in “Tables for Two”), I still gloried in the multitude of activities and events I could be experiencing.  I went to enough of the obscure and exotic films, caught enough of the Off-Off-Broadway plays, saw enough of the exhibitions to feel like I was getting as much as I could out of the offerings at hand.  And of course I learned a lot of fun stuff about interesting subjects by reading the articles.


Alas, it is now rare that I do more than glance through them at all.  I have the same commute time, but it is now spent driving along the ruthless highways of the Boston exurbs.  While this has allowed me much more appreciation of another Great Liberal Media Icon (NPR), it offers no time to read my erstwhile beloved.  Days at home are spent largely wrangling The Critter.  What time remains is often spent on such frivolous pursuits as writing posts like this one.

But still I will not let my subscription lapse.  I am still an urbane sophisticate, dammit!  And so they pile upon themselves, instantiating both my vanity and my sloth.  I read them just often enough to perpetuate this sorry state of affairs, which looks to last forever.

Since I wrote those words, things have changed even more.  We now have both Critter and Squirrel, each of whom need their own particular kinds of wrangling.  And I no longer read enough to perpetuate anything.

I have finally accepted the fact that it will be a long time before I will be sitting down to read the New Yorker again with any regularity.  When my heart actually sinks when I find the magazine in the mail, it’s time to call it quits.  However I may like to think of myself, there’s no point in paying money for a publication I don’t read at all anymore.

So this past weekend I had the Great Symbolic Recycling Purge.  I went through our pile of “to be dealt with” mail and extracted all the copies I could find.  So, too, the ones on random countertops and bookshelves.  The issues that have, in a fit of optimism, found their way to my office are destined for the dustbin.  And I’ve thrown out the subscription renewal card they just sent me.

In the not-too-distant future and for the first time in over a dozen years, I will no longer be a New Yorker subscriber.  And while that’s a mild bummer, acknowledging it is a small price to pay for a wee bit less clutter and minor guilt in my life.

And that’s this week’s Question — what eras have you passed in your life, and how have you marked them?  What have you done to declare, to yourself or others, “I once was this, but now I’m that”?  What once-cherished thing has become a burden, and how did you let it go?

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. 1. Geek Culture/Fandom: When I was in high school and college, I was deeply into fandom and geek culture. Anime, gaming, Babylon 5, LARPs, going to cons, etc. For some reason, most of this stopped right after college. I still like some Star Trek and love Doctor Who. The occasional game of Settlers or something else is fun and I still have my friend’s. But now the idea of going to a con or renaissance faire bores me. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always bored me, same with constant quoting from the Princess Bride, and adults spending way too much time arguing sincerely about what house the belong to in Harry Potter. I have gotten rid of all my anime and not watched in any in nearly 10 years. The same goes for comic books.

    Ironically, being into this during college (1998-2002) was probably enough to render me girlfriendless and make my romantic and sexual life during those years non-existent and miserable (the fact that I went to an arty, lefty, lots of sex campus made this even worse somehow). Now we seem to be seeing a geek renaissance and I refuse to join back in. The stuff just seems shallow to me right now.

    2. Videogames. I sometimes feel like one of the only guy’s out there who does not own a videogame system. I used to play. During the summer of 2009, I bought myself an XBOX360 as a celebration for my first year of law school. I would play a game until it was half done and then get bored. I sold my system and never considered purchasing another one.

    • To be fair, I still have a lot of good friends from college despite my singlehood and there were probably other things that rendered me romantically girlfriendless in college. Like the fact that I was learning things at 18 and 19 that most people discover in 12 and 13.

    • For several years in medical school I was way into all of Marvel’s X titles. It started when I was in high school and worked at a slowly-dying bookstore where there wasn’t much to do but read the merchandise, so I read eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeverything, including all the new magazines each week and the comic books. And I got totally hooked on the latter, particularly the X-Men. When I went away to school, there was this one great comic book store that would let you “subscribe” to whatever titles you liked and they’d hold them for you. They’d get their shipments every Thursday, and I’d drive like mad to get there before they closed so I’d be able to read them all that night. I had a wall in my apartment plastered with X-Men posters. (I will refrain from musing about what effect this may have had on my sex life, because certain members of my immediate family may or may not be readers here and I’d just as soon elide any notion of my sex life as far as they are concerned.)

      Then something happened. I think the comic book store went out of business, and it was much less convenient to get my hands on the new issues every week. For whatever reason, I just stopped reading them.

      And I have never, ever been into video games. Considering how embedded gaming is in the culture around this community, it’s the one area where I feel like kind of an outlier.

      • Interestingly what happened to me is that I worked in Japan for a year.

        I did not watch much anime then because I was busy exploring the country and stuff. Plus there were no helping subtitles.

        When I got home my anime consumption decreased drastically and then went to nothing. It has been only recently, I have been getting back into SF and then only in small doses.

        I used to love playing role playing games but they take up a lot of time and I’ve discovered as I get older it is just not how I want to spend my evenings and free time. I’d rather go to a movie, etc.

        • Or out or to the theatre.

          Perhaps I associate staying home too much with being a bit unpopular and I am trying to make up for lost time. If I stay home, I tend to read.

      • I had a wall in my apartment plastered with X-Men posters.

        You’re destroying all my illusions about gay people. Remember the scene in Philadelphia where they were all tear-stricken about how beautiful the Maria Callas aria was? Propaganda, I tell you, you guys aren’t any more sophisticated than we are.

        • 1) I found that “weeping while listening to opera” scene incredibly maudlin, forced and obvious. Imumblemumblemumblethoughtmaybemumble mumblemumblethat”Philadelphia” mumblemublewasaweebitmumblemumbleoverrated.

          2) If you would like me to wax rhapsodic about any number of highbrow things, I’m happy to do so. But I have plenty of middlebrow and lowbrow tastes, which I embrace unabashedly. I contain multitudes.

          • “Maudlin, forced and obvious” was my take too, sort of like when non-Jewish sitcom characters go to their first seder and Learn Respect For Other People’s Religions. (Even worse when the Jewish characters are paper-thin sarcastic sidekicks in every episode that isn’t Very Special.)

            I contain multitudes.

            Always quoting the gay poets 🙂

          • Whitman’s awesome.
            Though I remember laughing about seeing his verse on a wedding card (this was a long, long time ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the idea of gay people getting married was practically unheard of).

    • ” I have gotten rid of all my anime and not watched in any in nearly 10 years. ”
      … this saddens me. there’s been a lot of great stuff.

      • I wanted to watch manga, but I don’t speak manganese.

  2. My motorcycle, a wonderful, romantic, vintage BMW, sits in my garage. This symbol of youthful freedom, a part of me since my brother taught me to ride a minibike in the orchards as kids, is now a symbol of “things my wife is not interested in.” We have a marriage that doesn’t mind, and at times encourages, time alone, but at this point I am more interested in time together. So, it sits, until I decide to release that part of me.

  3. Those of us who grew up evangelical prior to the advent of the internet are eternally grateful for those piles of National Geographic that were always freely available in certain corners.

    • Can I tell a slightly off-color story? I’m going to tell a slightly off-color story.

      We used to vacation in a little beach town north of Boston. For a few years, we rented a house from a priest. I was in high school. He had a huge collection of old Nat Geo’s… hundreds.

      Well, one night, I got “the urge”. You know. And I had nothing to really satisfy it with. But there they were… hundreds of Nat Geo’s. I pulled some down off the shelf, thinking maybe I’d find some inspiration and what did I find behind them? Some pullout advertisements for porno mags and videos, themselves rather explicit.

      I had my inspiration. And, apparently, so did the priest.

      • It’s probably for the best. Otherwise, you could have ended up with a lip plate fetish, and those get you NO good responses on

        • Just wait. 2015 will see lip plates hitting big. “Could you recommend an album for me? I like Opeth but their new one sucks.” “Hlung hlug huh huh.”

  4. When I moved here, because of the fiancee immigration process, I started hoarding EVERY SCRAP OF MAIL we ever got. I mean, not like, catalogs. But every bill, every letter, every card, etc etc. Basically my life was richly represented by the paper trail. Because The Man might ask for that stuff, see. AT ANY TIME. They actually did ask for a lot of it, but by then I was so sunk into the habit that I … just kept keeping stuff. It was too stressful – too many echoes – to try and decide whether or not something had to be saved.

    The summer before I started studying for the GRE (2009? 2010?), I went on a shredding fiesta and emptied out almost everything in that room. Part of the liberation I felt was from realizing that, hey, if they deported me, we would just move house to Canada. All the barriers there used to be are no longer an issue for us. Really a big step out of the past, that was.

  5. I used to be part of the open-mic poetry scene. I loved it and felt I had found a place where I was accepted in the way I wanted to be accepted. But I’ve since abandoned it. I moved from the city in which I was part of the scene (Denver), and the scene at the new city (Chicago) was either not as accepting or (more likely) I was just in a different place and that scene was a different culture with its own rhythms and values.

    I miss it, but I’m a different person now. For worse, but also for better.

  6. Not all of these are recent, but the once-cherished eras of my life that became burdens – that made me declare, to myself and others, “I once was this, but now I’m that” – were these:

    1. The “Perpetually Single & Dating Multiple People Guy” Era (c. age 18 – c. age 30)

    2. The “Loyal Employee” Era (c. age 15 – c. age 29)

    3. The “Eating Ice Cream in Bed Every Night While I Read” Era (c. age 22 – c. tomorrow-ish)

    4. The “Self-Identity Wrapped Up In What Musical Artists I Listen To” Era (c. age 8 – c. age 22)

  7. Back in law school, I used to play a lot of golf thanks to the fact that there were a good number of fairly cheap public courses within a reasonable drive of my apartment. Even after law school, while I was still living in that area, I continued to play golf whenever I had both the time and the money. I had one club that I was particularly in love with, the first club I ever bought with my own money, and a club that I used at any possible opportunity, no matter how unreasonable (if you must ask, it was my 60 degree Lob Wedge). I seriously loved this club, and if ever I forgot to put it back in my bag after using it, I would have immediately lurched into full panic mode and drop everything until I relocated it, even if that meant driving back 7 holes, and on at least one occasion, that is precisely what happened.

    Then I moved back to Jersey, had a kid, etc. I might have played four rounds of golf since I moved back. At one point, I went a solid three years without playing a single round, at the end of which I was finally coaxed into playing again during a trip to visit some of my old golfing buddies in Virginia. Somewhere around the third hole, I pulled out the old 60 degree L-Wedge after hitting an absolutely abysmal shot that flew about 30 yards past the green, bringing my putter with me to save time. I hit my shot with the L-Wedge (actually, several shots if I’m being honest), and upon finally having an opportunity to putt, I left it somewhere just off the green, intending to pick it up after I finished putting.

    Two or three holes later, I had another opportunity to pull out the L-Wedge, at which point I realized that I had forgotten to put it back in the bag somewhere along the line. The old me would have panicked and stopped playing until I tracked the thing down again, carefully retracing all of my steps. I didn’t do that this time. Instead, I shrugged, and figured I’d pick it up later if someone returned it to the clubhouse. I didn’t even bother checking in to see if someone had turned it in when I made the turn after the 9th hole, choosing instead to wait until I had completely finished the round. No one had turned it in. I didn’t even bother leaving my phone number with the clubhouse in the event that it turned up somewhere down the line. I had come to accept that my days of playing golf with any sort of regularity were past, not to return anytime in the foreseeable future.

  8. Purchasing a mini-van, boy did I try to avoid this. I carted my brood around in a used and abused Mercury Grand Marquis, I affectionately called the grandma-pimp mobile until its unexpected early death. Despite being mom-like in so many other ways, I wasn’t ready to take that particular step into soccermomdome. James had already been badgering me for several years with the benefits of buying a van. I just gave in. Now I and am the primary driver of this vehicle and admittedly appreciate the space and reliability. I also had to admit that James was right. Sigh

    • Usually it is the dad that tries to avoid buying the parent-mobile.

      My parent’s did not get a vehicle like that until I was much older (in high school or college) when they finally got a Range Rover. When I was growing up, I remember a lot of Buicks. My mom had an ancient one and I was 8 or so when it hit 100,000 miles.

        • “Skylark, have you anything to say to me? “

        • Are you sure you’re not Jewish? Buicks are the Jewish car.

          • 1) The answer to your jesting question is a complicated one if given seriously. If we ever have reason to meet over cocktails, I’ll give you the full answer. Suffice it to say I will claim all the Jewishness I legitimately can.

            2) I have no idea Buicks were the Jewish car. I had the opposite impression, that they were hopelessly WASPy.

          • During the interwar period and a good deal of the post-War period, Jews brought Buicks because they were affordable and they didn’t want to buy a Ford because of certain beliefs that Henry had.

      • ND, if you think a Range Rover is like minivan, you must have done really poorly on those “_____ is to hotdogs as cream is to coffee” type tests. 😉

        For me the minivan was an easy choice. When it comes to cars I’m Mr. Practical. Three kids + frequent long early morning drives to swim meets = minivan. When the kids are gone, I’ll probably go back to having a beater pickup again, because they’re great for lumber and yard supplies, and a few more dents won’t be noticeable.

        • But minivans are immoral and they ought to be illegal!!!

    • I also had to admit that James was right. Sigh.

      Come on, once in 20 years of marriage can’t really be that demoralizing, can it?

      • Maybe that is what makes it more painful?


  9. I do fairly regular purges, an important activity given Zazzy’s penchant for hoarding (not the clinical type but approaching it). I’ve slowly widdled down my collection of funny/ironic t-shirts, with most moving into the “gym/pajama” pile. By and large, I’m too grown up to be wearing shirts emblazoned with logos indicating my membership in a “Mustache Club” (I say by and large… they do sometimes get play). This doesn’t necessarily demonstrate a change in taste – I still think they’re hilarious – but simply a shift in my life. It is becoming rarer that I find myself in social situations where any t-shirt is acceptable, let alone a humorous one. I don’t necessarily like this but c’est la vie.

    My video games will likely go relatively soon… I haven’t played them in years and they just take up space; I don’t need one Rock Band guitar, let alone four.

    I have a bit of a nostalgia streak, but largely take the tact that if something is not going to get actively used, it shouldn’t take up space. Of course, one can talk one’s self into believing he’s going to use something but once you’ve done that two or three times, it is time to shit or get off the pot.

    Zazzy takes this to an intense degree, such that we not only need to keep the t-shirt she got from her Grand Canyon trip, but also the plastic bag that it came in and the receipt and the change and the tags and the plain shirt she was wearing when she bought it… etc… She’s afraid that if she doesn’t have the physical reminder, she will either forget or be disrespecting the memory and people contained within it.

    • I’m a little bit more on Team Zazzy with this one, though I’m also prone to the occasional urge to purge. Both the Better Half and I tend to hold onto things, and are better at purging each other’s crap than our own.

      Back when I was in medical school and it was more important to me to signal to other people that I was in medical school than I’d like to admit, I had a penchant for collecting scrubs. I would try to gank a pair from every hospital where I’d done a rotation as a memento. And then I started residency and was required to wear scrubs through some of the most thankless drudgery of my life. Lo, no bloom has gone thudding off a rose faster than the appeal of wearing scrubs as a leisure garment.

      However, I also have a few cherished sweatshirts that have sentimental value. I have one from the first children’s hospital where I rotated that is slowly unraveling but that I will keep until it has disintegrated into a heap of thread. I have ones from the schools where my brother went to undergrad, grad school and did his post-doc that I plan to keep forever, and one from a beloved summer camp where I volunteered for years. All of them are getting steadily less wearable, but I will not part with them without a pitched battle.

      • I definitely think the ideal is a balance somewhere between Zazzy and I. If you’ve ever seen the Kevin James standup where he discusses how men and women respond differently to receiving greeting cards, I am the man he describes, basically thinking, “How long until I can throw this out?”

        So there is a part of me that appreciates Zazzy’s sentimentality. It’s just when she starts attaching value to things in some oddly connected chains.

        It’s not enough to keep pictures, we have to keep the canisters the film from which they were developed in. We don’t just keep every card we’ve ever received, but also the envelope because that is what housed the card. These are exaggerations, mind you, but they capture the idea.

        Where we struggle most is when we discover a box of things she had completely forgotten about (like one that was packed two apartments ago and never unpacked despite the multiple moves). I see those as items that she clearly does not need or else they would have been unearthed. But they do contain some really precious things that hold a lot of value. I’m working now on finding ways we can appropriately catalogue and display the most important things while ridding ourselves of the endless boxes that fill increasingly valuable closet space.

        And it is very much a learned behavior for her. During her recent visit, my mother-in-law stood over my shoulder and looked on in horror as I scanned some old documents into the computer and then readied them for recycling. These weren’t things with sentimental value… old pay stubs and medical receipts, which we wanted to retain but saw no need for a physical copy. She simply couldn’t understand it, repeatedly muttering, “I never throw anything away… I never throw anything away…”

        • I am exactly like Zazzy in this way, at least as far as what keepsakes do for me. My memory is entirely cued access; I have a LOT of memories stored up there that I will never think of if the right cue doesn’t come along. So, I keep little boxes full of things that will cue memories I don’t expect to be otherwise cued. If I need the envelope of a greeting card to remind me of the full memory (say, because the postmark gives me the date), then I keep the envelope.

          The whole point of a memory filing system like this is you don’t have to take the little boxes out every year to look at them–you can go six or seven years, then run across the box you’d forgotten, open it up, and OMG the nostalgia tastes like double-chocolate fudge.

          • Funny… my nostalgia always tastes like crammed closets.

            But thank you for this. Zazzy has never articulated it thusly but I trust this captures a lot of how she feels about it. This has helped me understand her better. If we end up making it in the end, we’ll send a card.

          • I also like this explanation very much, as someone whose mind works similarly to yours.

  10. For 10 or 12 years, I was either in a band or between bands, trying to start a new one (longer, if we include crappy high school bands). By the end, around 2006 to 2008 I guess, I had a pseudo-solo project and played shows every two or three months. Then it was every four or five. Then every six months or longer. Eventually, I just stopped and I haven’t really had the urge to do anything particularly organized again.

    This sort of coincided with my blogging. Writing became the hobby I focused on – for a number of reasons (a big one being the flexibility around children’s schedules). I imagine I’ll never really go back.

    Shortly before I stopped gigging, I dropped a couple of hundred bucks on a new pedal. It was a delay/looper pedal that was going to allow me to do more things on stage. I got this shortly before I stopped playing shows and, alas, it never made it on stage with me. Right now, it’s in its box on a kitchen shelf (don’t ask me why, I don’t know how it ended up there). I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. Part of me likes to think that, at the very least, one of the girls might want it.

    But I haven’t touched it in years. It’s too bad, too. It’s an awesome little pedal.

  11. When I read the post this morning (yep, I lay in bed and read the league every morning; nerd, I know) I couldn’t think of anything. It hit me when I got to work and went through my work emails and deleted a bunch of newsletters. It’s almost identical to Russell. My first year in management I was interested in learning, keeping up with every development in the field, etc. so I signed up for every newsletter that interested me. I’ve gotten way too busy, and when I’m not busy I’m just not interested. I won’t unsubscribe though.

  12. 1. Diving. I still have diving equipment hanging around somewhere. Haven’t used it in years. Likely never will again. I enjoyed diving when I did it. Now, it seems next to impossible that I’ll ever get the equipment wet again. No time. An expensive hobby, one I have to travel to go do. Blogging is easier.

    2. The Eagles. I used to love the Eagles. The virtuoso solos, the harmonies, the blend of genres. I prided myself on learning how to play Hotel California on a twelve-string guitar and thought that I could call myself a country music fan because I liked the Eagles. Then something woke up within me and I realized, “Meh.” There’s nothing there. I won’t turn them off now, but, well, “Meh.”

    3. Republicans. As a co-blogger puts it, I used to think of Republicans as “us.” Now I think of Republicans as “them.” See, I was repelled by the corruption so prevalent in the Democratic party, and nurtured as a boy by the military-industrial complex. But over time, the obsession of certain folks with other folks’ sex lives, or alternatively their xenophobia, seemed to take center stage and I said, “Ick.”

    National Geographic, however, I will at least page through every month. Even if I don’t find the time to read the articles, I at least appreciate the photography.

      • No. I’ve been aware of it for some time.

        The “Oh my God” was more just shock at all the layers of irony here.

  13. playing live music. just don’t have the time to do childcare, somehow rehearse (mostly solo, sometimes with a friend or two), make it to a gig in some ass end part of brooklyn, wait 2 hours to play, play, and then schlep everything back and wake up in time for work the next day. i miss it a lot, but it’s just not in the cards.

    and now that it looks like we’re leaving the area, it’s probably never in the cards again. unless where we move has a weird electronic music thing going on.

        • no, though weirdly enough my wife tells me that eustace was a totally ok name for a guy back in the late 19th century, especially amongst new englanders with moolah.

          personally i don’t even think it’s an ok name for a pet you dislike.

      • Wow, this site’s SEO is pretty amazing.

        I googled Eustace Tilley.

        38,000 hits came up.

        This post, posted today, is #8.

        • Were you logged in / cookied on Google though? You know they do personal search…

      • Alfred E. Neuman could kick that guy’s a**.

          • i’m fairly sure eustace is a dude who defends himself with witty bon mots rather than kung fu.

          • There’s no defense against joy buzzers and whoopee cushions.

            That sounded less dirty in my head.

  14. Eras.

    I left the farm, gave up drinking raw milk, and spent a good-long time trying to learn how to speak as if I weren’t from Maine. End of era #1: childhood.

    I purchased business suits. I wore makeup. I went to meetings. I was paid lots of money, and began dining instead of eating. End of era 2: hippie chick.

    I quit that job, and began spending all my time with elder sprout, just recently born, and younger sprout who came along two years later. End of era 3: professional woman.

    I moved back to Maine, family in tow, where the accent I’d worked so hard to leave behind blossomed like the spring ephemerals. End of ear 4: city mom.

    Since, I’ve been on a straight path heading to old lady.

  15. Being a musician.

    I played concert clarinet (Eb Alto) for nearly a decade, but after getting married and moving overseas, I haven’t had the time to take care of my clarinet like I should. I can’t play it now, because there’s a slight crack in the mahogany, which must be repaired before it reaches a fingerhole and ruins the section.

    I’ve made a token attempt at keeping the music alive by purchasing two recorders (one soprano) so I can teach my son how to read (and make) music, but the days of me busting out some blues or chamber music are, unfortunately, gone.

  16. I started running in the 70’s and continued through most of the 80’s. Today I would rather do Yoga. This may be one of the best changes in my life since I still have healthy knees.

    Once upon a time I collected books and I could rarely pass visiting a bookstore wherever I traveled. But Russell, my books became like your unread magazines and some of them sat without being read. The unread books were like the valuable tomes in a law firm that you know cost a lot of money but are there only for the look.. Today I seldom visit bookstores and my reading is mostly limited to research on the Internet.

  17. I recall very distinctly the first time I declined to go to Catholic Mass, not from illness, but from principle.

    I kept looking at the clock and thinking, “If I hurry, I can still make it.” But then I’d shake my head and remember all the many, many reasons I wasn’t going.

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