happy whatever

Today marks the 70th birthday of my irascible, vitriolic, vituperative, generous, kind, brilliant, naive friend and mentor. He is coming for a birthday dinner in his honour - just him and me. He has been on-again off-again about this celebration of his life and I have been agreeable and unprotesting and accommodating while he has swivelled and waffled back and forth trying to decide what he wants. It’s hitting 70 that has thrown him into a tizzy. (Do people still have tizzies?)

tizzy |ˈtɪzi| (also fizz)noun (pl.tizzies) [ in sing. ] informal a state of nervous excitement or agitation: he got into a tizzy and was talking absolute tosh. ORIGIN 1930s (originally US): of unknown origin. WELL, YES, BUT WHO SAYS TOSH?

tosh 1 |tɒʃ| noun [ mass noun ] Brit. informal rubbish; nonsense: it's sentimental tosh. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: of unknown origin. (My, it’s nice to write a blog because I can keep checking my words. Nice to have an online dictionary, too.)

So people talked tosh before they got into tizzies. I think my friend has fallen into something more serious than a tizzy.

See, there are three stages to ageing: 1) young old age, roughly between 60 and 70 years of age; 2) middle old age, between 70 and 80-85, depending on one’s health; 3) old old age, from 85 on. That’s as far as they used to count, as few as ten years ago. Now we start reckoning: 4) unbelievable, spry, feisty and derelict old age.  [YOU’RE STILL HERE! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!]

derelict |ˈdɛrəlɪkt| adjective 1 in a very poor condition as a result of disuse and neglect: a derelict Georgian mansion | the barge lay derelict for years. 2 chiefly N. Amer. shamefully negligent of one's duties or obligations: he was derelict in his duty to his country. noun 1 a person without a home, job, or property [OR MARBLES?] derelicts who could fit all their possessions in a paper bag. 2 a ship or other piece of property abandoned by the owner and in poor condition. she had been a derelict recommissioned for this journey.ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin derelictus ‘abandoned’, past participle of derelinquere, from de- ‘completely’ + relinquere ‘forsake’. [DO NOT FORSAKE ME, O MY DARLING]

Derelict, indeed. We’re going to have to come up with more precise adjectives. The older I/we get the more variations we encounter on the theme. Anyone who survives this long has developed unique knobs unlike other people’s knobs, in fact, the odd knob may be the reason we survive. I deal with this in my (unpublished) book on ageing, no sense going into it now. I’m still talking about my reluctantly ageing friend, and about all of you out there in the country of age.

Safe journey, friend!