Pretty Wise for 38

If it hadn’t arrived I’d be dead, but it was hardly welcome: another birthday. Thirty-eight years old on Aug.11, but for any pedant or two, reverse the numerals and you’ll get it right. Thirty-eight came to me as I was sparring with a young whippersnapper from Norway recently. I was out of breath and told him that at 38 I was having trouble keeping up. “You’re doing fine for 38,” he said, and then attacked as if there were no tomorrow, the brute.

What’s that old cliché about being as old as you feel? I’ve never felt younger, but I have to stop giving advice to people. La Rochefoucauld warned about that, old men giving advice because they can no longer set a bad example. Ouch! I try to be bad at all times, but others do not want to be bad with me. Well, not always, but most of the time. Oy vey! Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 08:25 EST - Details) I just finished a book about the Left Bank of Paris and the writers and artists who worked and played there, and noticed that on my birthday following the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the great Albert Camus was the only one to express revulsion and publish an editorial against the savagery of the act. What double standards we hold. We only speak about Nazi crimes but fail to mention the incineration of innocents by us, or the 3 million German women raped by the Soviets.

Never mind. We have other problems now, but the hypocrisy persists. And gives the lie to the nostalgic fantasy of American goodness. Uncle Sam is the only one to have vaporized innocents after literally having forced Japan to go to war with the embargo he had imposed. And he’s doing it again now with Iran, squeezing the mullahs under orders from Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries with leaders who deserve each other. Which brings me back to Camus, a man who looked like Bogie but had a soft inside. It took guts to tell the truth and rock the boat in 1945, especially as Uncle Sam had just saved France’s bacon for the second time in twenty years. Nevertheless, Camus denounced atomic warfare. The Yanks were not best pleased.

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