Mad Magazine and Life on the farm

The other day, having run out of other topics of cogitation, I began to wonder how much of what has happened in my eight decades of life can be attributed to my own doing, or to sheer luck, either good, bad or somewhere in between. The fact I survived this long can be easily attributed […]

Murmurs of the Heart

When the cheerful young cardiologist listening to the thumpings and rumblings inside my chest declared that my heart was free of murmurs, the phrase “murmurs of the heart” began racing around the tangled circuits of my brain. That’s what happens to someone fatally attracted to metaphor, and in this case the neural janglings led to […]

Who Are My Heroes Now?

The other night I watched a PBS rerun of Agatha Christie’s Marple, the British TV series featuring the elderly sleuth, Jane Marple. For those unfamiliar with this character who played a central role in a dozen Christie novels and a number of short stories, she is a village spinster whose outwardly mild demeanor belies a […]

Into the 9th Decade

The last few weeks were suffused with a slowly-growing sense of dread. Being eighty years old, it seemed, would mark the beginning of a new reality, one dominated by a powerful awareness of time and its limits. When I sat down to write, as I often do, would a concern with the arrangement of words […]