Monday, January 24


On the occasion of his last Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, Bill Safire, the self-described "language maven, talking head, novelist and twice-weekly vituperative right-wing scandalmonger" (and redoubtable author of some 3,000 columns) provides all of us who have enjoyed his writing craft and incisive political analysis over the years some wonderful advice, and in the context of his own ruminations over the seeming inevitability of retirement, on how to avoid the brain atrophy that oftentimes sets in when we presume our life's work is done. That answer: don't stop working, just change gears and segue into a new you. Reinvigorate yourself: "... change your career to keep your synapses snapping ..."

His advice in a nutshell: "Extending the life of the body gains most meaning when we preserve the life of the mind."

And for people such as I, he really hits a nerve: " ...the boomer generation will be averting illness, patching itself up and pushing well past the biblical limits of 'threescore and ten.'" "But to what purpose?"

That's it ... to what purpose? I suspect a lot of us in the early waves of the boomer generation will find the last of Bill's columns perhaps the most compelling. His advice (or at least the need to consider it) will resonate with us.

He goes on to say, "The trick is to start early in our careers the stress-relieving avocation that we will need later as a mind-exercising final vocation. We can quit a job, but we quit fresh involvement at our mental peril."

Now he tells me! And why didn't I think of that?

I'm going to miss Bill Safire. Anyone who had the cahonnes to call Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar" in print earns my eternal gratitude.