17
Feb
17

On Turning Sixty

Although it’s brought me that much closer to transforming into worm food, I’ve found that turning sixty is not without its compensations.

While it’s true, for example, that my member isn’t getting a proper supply of blood anymore—and that I can no longer write my name in the sand and must settle for my initials—I can still have lots of fun with it. Thanks to an ever-enlarging prostate gland that’s threatening to devour my bladder, my urine stream now bifurcates at the exit point. This means that I can whiz into the toilet and the adjacent bathtub at the same time—which is a kick. My urologist says that while he can make no promises, there’s a good chance that in the not too distant future I’ll be capable of TRIfurcating. This will enable me to whiz into the toilet, the bathtub AND the laundry basket simultaneously.

I can’t wait.

And by making it possible to legitimately deflect questions that have always rankled the hell out of me (“Isn’t it time you threw out those Smurf jars with the petrified flecks of premixed peanut butter ‘n’ jelly down toward the bottom?” is a persistent one that never fails to put me in a homicidal rage), my newly developed hearing loss has a terrific upside as well. Not, to be sure, that its downside isn’t just as major. I mean, how many invitations to lunch have I blown? How many people have said, “Let me buy you lunch,” and I’ve said in reply, “Yes it is great that we got bin Laden.”? (As thorny as this problem is, I’ve managed to ease it somewhat by saying, maybe a dozen times a morning to people who appear to be talking to me, “Thanks, I’d love to.” Though probably several hundred of them have walked away from me very quickly—and two, I guess they had their reasons, punched me in the stomach—I’ve gotten six lunches doing this that I would otherwise have missed out on. Not to mention a free ticket to a WAYNE NEWTON concert!)

But if the benefits and drawbacks of my hearing impairment more or less cancel out each other, the short-term memory loss that’s accompanied my sexagenarianism has a plus side that actually outweighs its minus side. I’m speaking, of course, of the guarantee it can afford me that a movie I’m going to will be a good one. I’ll notice, for instance, an ad for a movie and tell a friend about it. The friend will advise me that I saw the movie just a week ago. I’ll ask him if I liked it and if he says, “Yeah, you couldn’t stop talking about it,” I’ll think, hey, how often does a movie come with THAT kind of recommendation and I’ll go immediately to see it. I’m told that I’ve seen “Pearl Harbor” eight times now.

(I might add here that being strictly of the short-term variety, my memory loss in no way affects my ability to remember the last time I had sex.)

But of the many compensatory rewards that turning sixty provides (and you’ll agree they are not inconsiderable) there’s one that I value above all others. Although I can still croak at a relatively early age I’ve been spared the embarrassment of a TRAGICALLY early demise.

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Books by Robert Levin

When Pacino's Hot, I'm Hot
The Drill Press LLC
See reviews above

109415877-0-m31 Music & Politics
by John Sinclair and Robert Levin
World Publishing

"Robert Levin's articles...make up the second half of Music and Politics, and they're something else again. He's a quietly briliant writer (not flashy but subtly dazzling) who knows jazz extremely well and who knows how to let us know what he knows. His piece on Sunny Murray says more about the birth of the New Jazz than most writers could say in a volume; the Anthony Braxton interview is one of the freshest, most reassuring articles on the future of music (of the arts in general) that I've read; his 'found critique' of 'Space' by the MJQ, which contrasts Murray's thoughts on music at the White House with President Nixon's introduction of the MJQ in that very place, is brilliant; his piece on the unfortunate evolution of Willis Jackson...is a minor masterpiece; and he's lucid and painful and thoroughly correct when he writes that 'What is meant by 'every man has his price' is that every man has his uncertainty about the validity and sanity of his perception of the truth. To 'sell out' is to capitulate to that uncertainty.'"
—Colman Andrews, Creem

giants
Giants of Black Music
Edited by Pauline Rivelli and Robert Levin, with a foreword by Nat Hentoff
Da Capo Press
Music & Politics and Giants of Black Music are no longer in print, but remain available from Amazon.com and other outlets.

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