On Aging

In the classic action movie Lethal Weapon, film legend Danny Glover famously declared  I’m too old for this shit!” On Monday evening,I couldn’t help but share this sentiment.
Penn and his silent sidekick Teller

Penn and his silent sidekick Teller

While attending a charity basketball event at Madison Square Garden with my buddy Zach, I was lucky enough to meet three of my favorite New York Knicks who were graciously donating their time to a worthy cause. I first encountered 43-year-old former Knick Anthony Mason, who appears to be strictly adhering to The Charles Barkley Post-Retirement Diet.   I then met 22-year-old rising star Wilson Chandler, a man of few words, who lets his game do the talking (Simply put, he makes the magician Teller seem chatty).

Fortunately, the third Knick I met was more engaging. Danilo Gallinari, the 20-year-old Italian chosen sixth in last year’s NBA Draft, was quite personable. Zach and I spoke to Danilo about the upcoming season and his summer rehabilitation program (the nearly 7- foot-tall “small forward” played in only 28 games of his rookie season due to severe back problems). Gallinari told us that he was feeling much better and that he was optimistic about the team’s chances next season (Hey, at least someone is).

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Zach, Myself, & Danilo Gallinari at Madison Square Garden.

When it was time to go, we decided to ask Danilo if we could take a photo with him (see above). We didn’t think it would be a big deal, and neither did the young Knick, who gladly stood up (making me look shorter than Danny DeVito) and smiled alongside us. It’s always nice to have your photo taken with a celebrity. But never before had we asked to have our pictures taken with one who was born in the same year as us!

As a kid you worship your heroes (many of whom are your elders). Your musical icons are gods, and you aspire to be your favorite action heroes and sports stars (The aforementioned Danny Glover has actually been both for me…in addition to his work in Lethal Weapon, who can forget his inspirational portrayal as baseball manager George Knox in Angels in the Outfield ?)

Me and my childhood hero Danny Glover back in 1996.

Me and my childhood hero Danny Glover back in 1996.

But what happens when one day the people occupying these roles are younger than you. Is there no more poignant symbol of the aging process?

As a soon-to-be college junior, I am moving closer to the true beginning of the rest of my life. Sure, growing older has its perks. Increased freedom and the chance to confront new challenges is exciting. Yet adulthood’s differences and uncertainties make it frightening. It seems like everything you gain with age is balanced out by some kind of loss. Yeah, I can’t wait to find out where my career pursuits take me… but I don’t want my professional advances met with my hairline’s regression!  I’m also eager to see the world, but I don’t want to have to do it through a pair of thick glasses!

I wish I could comprehensively share my feelings about aging through writing. Unfortunately, I just don’t have that much experience with this process. And perhaps that’s where my problem lies. Maybe I’m simply too young to be so pensive about this subject.

I guess all I can do now is heed the advice of beloved singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, and accept growing older… but never up.

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4 comments

  1. Mitch Simon says:

    Excellent blog on aging…. And – what is so bad about a receding hairline?

  2. D says:

    Andrew, you make some good points about aging. However, I take exception to your comment about being follicly challenged. Both the beauty and the challenge of getting older is you have to learn to deal with things that are not in your control and sometimes just accept there is nothing that can be done other than how you approach the outcome. You tend to learn a lot more about yourself, and others, when these things happen. I agree with you that with each conquest there is a loss. The ying and the yang, my brother! There is a delicate balance in the world and, whether you are a religious person or not, I don’t think anyone can deny that there is a force out there keeping things in check.

  3. Kenny G says:

    Hey Andrew, you’re too young buddy to start lamenting the advent of old age. At least wait till you graduate! Remember the Michael Douglas line in “Traffic” when he says (I may be paraphrasing): “After you reach a certain age, it’s all the same…” Anyway, you have a few years before that happens, unless you keep going to McCartney concerts! I like the style of your site. If you can start selling some ad space and offer a few tips on getting 6 pack abs by gorging on potato chips, you can probably sell this site for millions to my old company. Anyway, look forward to some more blogging and movie reviews (go see The Hurt Locker). Best, Kenny G

  4. Amelia says:

    Andrew thats such an adorable picture of you! is that your father?

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