Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Right or wrong, true or false, some folks—like the gentleman yesterday and a lady the week before--express astonishment when I tell them how old I am.

Depending on which way the wind is blowing and what direction the sun is shining, many guess my age at from five to ten years younger than I actually am. Although some days I feel and look every inch the three score and three that I am, such words, of course, make me mildly happy. Despite a life devoted to termination during my green years—booze, drugs, tobacco, feral living—it would seem as if a decent diet, regular exercise and a sex-crazed woman have, outwardly at least, turned the train wreck around. But more than food, sweat or hot smooch, I think something else has a large role in holding back the slide of old age.

I say straight: Like any other in our body, the mind is a muscle—you use it or you lose it. I will go further: The mind is our most important muscle; without an active, curious, strong mind, the rest of the body will wither and die. All my life I have been curious about what is over the next hill, so to speak. Thus, too, has my better half.

Michelle, with a note of quiet pride and sadistic satisfaction, loves teasing me when younger dudes hit on her. Hmmmm. Although I hope she will always repel such damned advances, I am mildly pleased. Before I had even met her Michelle was staying in great shape via a combo of veggie diet and horse-back riding each day; she was also teaching herself the piano; she had also been a proof-reader for one of the largest law firms in the US. When we did meet a couple of years ago and I mentioned that I might be moving to Portugal, she starting teaching herself Portuguese. When some doubted this slim red-head could, given her gender and age, survive the mental and physical rigors of a Florida law enforcement academy, she blew through it and finished second in her class. Point I am making: Michelle’s mind is always working, just as is her body. The two are a team and as a result Mrs. Goodrich looks ten years younger than she actually is.

Passionate about politics? Pissed off at the Marxists and PC cowards on your local school board? Sit down and compose a killer letter to the editor. Go over the piece again and again, making it better with each pass. Then let ‘er rip.

Feeling ignorant? Feeling stupider than normal? Go Google nuclear fission or quantum physics and really try to comprehend them. Pick up a copy of Shakespeare at the library, then read “King Lear” or “Richard the Third.” Go slow, take your time, try to understand, then enjoy.

Do Illegal aliens point and laugh at you? Suspect that they are talking malo when they call you “gringo gordo,” “mierda de cerdo,” and “hombre de marica”? Learn their language, then get even.

Write poetry . . . compose music . . . be mental. Bust your brain. Think beyond the box. Make that weak muscle between your ears strong; make it work; make it scream; make it holler. Athletes who perfect their bodies have the saying, “no pain, no gain.” For the mind, let me add: If it ain’t hurtin’, it ain’t workin’. The mind, like any other muscle shies from labor; it is inherently lazy; taking it from its normal rut causes the brain to bitch and balk. Kick the lazy thing out of that rut it's in. Only via exercise will it grow and become stronger.


Caricature of the Day