The Gospel Truth

I Sing of Old Goats and Owls | May 17, 2012

I think its time for me to write about one of the basic facts of life.

No, I do not mean the birds and the bees.

The last time I tried that my clothes got soiled and I got stung six times.

What I have in mind is more like owls and goats.

I am talking about getting old.

Growing old is not for sissies.

They are perfect symbols for getting old.

a perfect symbol

In fact it takes a lot of hard work, prayer and determination and when you finish you die such is the nature of things.

It is something that all of us have to consider no matter what our ages may be.

As a child I was in a hurry to grow up, to be mature and independent.

I was of the only people and still am who looked forward to his half-birthday.

On that 6th day in March, I immediately started adding my current year to my total.

I remember when I was 11 years old I thought it would be great to live until the year 2000 when we all erroneously thought the new millennium would begin.

That’s before Stanley Kubrick made me realize that I had really meant 2001.

A painted image of four space-suited astronauts standing next to a piece of equipment atop a lunar hill, in the distance is a Moon base and a ball-shaped spacecraft descending toward it – with the earth hanging in a black sky in the background. Above the image appears "An epic drama of adventure and exploration" in blue block letters against a white background. Below the image in a black band, the title "2001: a space odyssey" appears in yellow block letters.

He knew his calendar

After I finally made that plateau I realized that I hoped to live to the next century at least such was my desire for a quasi immortality.

Another thing happened.

I no longer relish my advanced maturity.

I am what HOF baseball announcer Jack Buck used to quip, playing the back nine.

And I was never any good at golf.

I think I started feeling old when I turned 45.

I quipped that I was half way to 50, when someone informed me that I was half way to 90.

That was a sobering thought.

This reflection on age and aging has several different components worthy of note.

The first has to do with eating.

Years ago, I could eat anything and work, sweat or worry off any unwanted calories.

Now my tailor is on a retainer.

I also do a lot of mirror time.

I check to see if I am getting one of those beer belly overhangs that literally make me sick when i see a man with his gut arriving two minutes before the rest of him.

Women Workplace

I do a lot of mirror time

I weigh myself constantly and try to count my calories.

Can someone in his late sixties have an eating disorder?

Probably not because I have never ordered the wrong thing.

I am also obsessed with aging and time. I want to get older but I had the attendant consequences.

It is a truism that everyone is entitled to two dates within a bracket.

Most tombstone have them.

I already have the first date–(1943-?)

Each new years prompts me to say well, for example 2011 wont be my second date.

I guess it is the historian in me.

This obsession  smacks of vanity. I never thought of myself as a vain kind of guy but…

The Bible is pretty direct about vanity.

It appears in both testaments and is a step-child of deadly pride.

beer belly

In my future?

The Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, shows how he learned that God is the only path to finding meaning in life.

Using a messianic character called the Preacher to illustrate his points, he begins Ecclesiastes by identifying the Preacher and then saying, Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

After reading this all I can think of is Carly Simon old single, You’re so vain, ringing in my ear.

Carly Simon knows about vain men

I constantly worry about my health.

Is my next check-up going to uncover the cause of my immediate demise or will I get another year’s reprieve?

Just what does the term golden years means anyway?

Does that mean gold in the teeth, or money in the bank?

Will the alchemist of old age turn my golden years into linguine?

I think silver is a better choice. I mean silver hair, if one is lucky to have any of his hair left.

Silver is also the color on my multi-vitamin bottle.

Pain is another constant of the aging process.

In fact the term growing pains, which is usually revered to our much younger brethren, should apply mainly to senior, since getting old is synonymous with getting old.

In fact this post may very well be the first step in my last work…my last memoir because getting through this seventh stage of man will probably be the rest of my life’s work.

I already have my title: The Coming of Age: An Intimate Memoir of an Old Catholic’s Growing Pains

The term Coming of Age has also erroneously been reserved for the youth of our country.

I plan to claim that for us old codgers too.

They know all about growing pains

I call it an intimate memoir because in preparing for this basic fact of life, I will have to dig as deeply into my soul, memory, the very essence of what my life has been and what it could be down the road…no matter how long or short that may be.

At fifty, I stopped jogging, playing tennis and running up stairs three at a time.

I sadly realized that I was at the stage when my body gave me more pain than pleasure.  It was just too easy to get hurt.

Pain is a good part of aging.

I was spending too much time at the local Walgreen’s, waiting for my pain prescriptions to be filled.

As the injuries piled up and my waistline expanded, I decided to hire my own personal trainer.

Working out was great, but as Lizzie increased the pain level, I found that exercise only felt good because it stopped hurting when we stopped.

The only pleasure my body gives me now, is when I am not in pain or exercising.

I suspect that the next milestone will be that my only pleasure will come from my constant pain, in some sort of post-menopausal response to the ravages of age.

President Obama’s advice to seniors like me and their pain, Just take a pill!

Advice for seniors

I thank God every day for Lena my massage therapist.

As the perfect antidote to Liz, she reversed the trend.

Now it hurts only after my massage.

The older I get the more equipment I need to get along.  I seem to have more gadgets that plug in or insert for added vision, auditory reception, and the like.

It takes 10 minutes of each morning to, gather, clean, unplug, dewax, and buff my equipment.

I feel like an auto mechanic.

I used to have a great memory.

I could recite the presidents in order and the years they served.

I can still do that but I have trouble remembering which country they lead.

I would be lost without my daily calendar, that is, if I could find it.  And keys?

Why can I never find my keys?  Do they have legs?

I often go into rooms and forget why I went there.

But aging is not all that bad when one considers the alternative.

If I were Chinese I would be revered and honored for my age and wisdom.

Here, I am willing to settle for a warm bed, a nearby restroom and three full meals a day.

I have all the time in the world to think about where I am and what I am doing.

What was the question?



  1. BB, You make yourself sound ancient. I know its not that bad. I willl be 87 on 5/25. Pax

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — May 17, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    • A Happy Birthday–somedays I feel ancient. My get up and go needs a nap at noon. BB

      Comment by bbprof — May 17, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  2. “When you Hair turns to Silver”……
    Back from the 30s….BB, the older you get the better you are. Every day, one day older and it is great.
    Just 12 years to go to100.
    You’ll probably exceed us all BB.

    Comment by Jim — May 17, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  3. Bill stop it!
    Your not even 70 yet! glory your sounding as if you already have one foot in the grave.
    What happened to the exhilarating full body massages you spoke of?
    If looking into the miror is off puting, just do your oblutions and move on.
    Besides, it’s the Spirit (as in Holy), that keeps you young and a good belly laughs, ie. watching Dad’s Army.

    Comment by L. Newington — May 18, 2012 @ 3:12 am

    • Its all part of the preparation and I wrote some of that before I started getting regular massages…in fact between the lines I did imply that Lena has help restore the balance between aging pain and positive bodily sensation. But unless you drink gallons of water the aches come back. The late Sox baseball player Luke Appling was one of my favorite baseball characters—they called him, rightfully so, “Old Aches and Pains.” BB

      Comment by bbprof — May 18, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  4. Age is an issue of mind over matter; if you don’t mind
    it doesn’t matter.

    The real question is: Do you snore??? If so, get your
    bride some ear plugs sooooooooooo she does not
    move into the guest room.

    AND remember as long as you fight for what’s right
    to save our country from Obamacare and we win
    you can live to be 100+++ !!!!

    AND find a good chiropractor to shape you up –
    better than a message therapist in my opinion!!!
    I have a super one!!! AND eat healthy – cereal with
    fruit for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, a
    big healthy salad, veggies and small portion of fish,
    poultry or meat for dinner with some fruit for dessert.
    Scratch the junk food including cookies, ice cream,
    candy, chips, etc. GOOD LUCK !!!

    Now – the question is How long do you want to live???


    Comment by MF — May 19, 2012 @ 1:45 am

    • Dear Mary:

      My MT works with a chiropractor. There is nothing wrong with my bodily structure. I doubt if you get the blood flow that a good MT can give you and I am sure there is no release of the “happy hormones” in chiropractic.

      Comment by bbprof — May 20, 2012 @ 2:37 am

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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