It is no secret that I am past my prime-- on the bell curve of life, I am on the other side of the peak, every day I slide a bit more towards the bottom of the curve, towards senility, dementia, ineptitude, befuddlement, disease, fragility, and decay; on the other hand, my children are on the groovy side of that inevitably morbid roller-coaster ride, and here are two recent anecdotes that illustrate my theme:
1) we played tennis Saturday morning, and Alex and Ian beat me in a game of mixed doubles, and I was trying to win; then Ian played me one-on-one and he beat me to five and decided to continue playing to eleven, for the pound of good chocolate (the running bet is that if Alex or Ian can beat me at ping-pong or tennis in a game to eleven, I'll buy them a pound of chocolate from the good chocolate store in town) and I had to play my ass off to beat him 11-9 . . . I generally I hit the ball hard when I play Ian-- he's good-- but I try to get it back near him so he has a chance to hit it, but he was killing me-- he hit three perfect backhand lobs and was whistling his forehands down the lines, despite the fact that I was running him side to side; I finally got him at the net and put the game away, but this doesn't bode well for the future . . . though right now we play without serving, instead we rally three times to begin the point, so once we start playing with serves, I should enjoy a brief bump in tennis prowess . . . and I think I'm safe for a while with ping-pong, as it doesn't require as much running;
2) Alex was very excited about a National Geographic special on Mars, but the show was on Monday nights at 9 PM, which is past his bedtime (and my bedtime) and so I told him he could read in bed until 9 PM and then, if he was able to stay awake, he could go downstairs and watch the show . . . and he succeeded both times, and though the rest of the house was fast asleep (Ian tried to stay awake as well, but fell asleep reading and Catherine-- who stays up a bit later than me-- was on the school camping trip) and so I've reached the point when my child can and will stay up later than me, and I've given him permission to do so . . . the rest is all downhill.