On growing old

When two lawyers in their early 70s nearly came to blows after a screaming match at a country club dining room, their combat made the pages of ATL. See Staci Zaretsky, Old Lawyers Fight At Country Club, Submit Dueling Membership Revocation Letters, Above the Law (November 7, 2014).

As I laugh at the absurd behavior of these old men, and remember fondly the greatest food fight of all (see below), there is a niggling fear in the back of my mind. With age comes irrelevance. With irrelevance comes seething unfocused anger at the unfairness of it all. There is no known antidote. But, it helps to have grown up before you grow old. Too bad for me.


12 responses

  1. Judge Kopf: Would you say that federal judges are exceptions to the irrelevance that you suggest comes with age?

  2. Judge, Sadly you are right about the bad days and retirement can feel like Elba, but not all days are like that, and the bad days may be Karma for what you thought of the old farts before you became one.

  3. Foxtrot,

    Yes, and no. We have the privilege of working in our old age at something we love. That helps. Indeed, that is why so many judges continue to work after senior status even though there is no economic incentive to do so. But, I am not sure that such a privilege is a complete antidote. The senior status federal judge is still aware of the grim reaper, and all the hoped for things that will never come to pass. See what I mean?

    All the best.


  4. Judge:
    I recall Brownings words: “Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be, / The last of life, for which the first was made: / Our times are in His hand.” I take solace in the fact that we can only be young once but we can be immature forever.

  5. Robbert,

    Yes, and for yours truly, that–we can only be young once but we can be immature forever–scares the dickens out of me. All the best.


  6. The great Seymour Smith claimed fisticuffs with other lawyers into his 70s, but he loved a good story.

  7. Cornhead,

    If, as you predict, the Badgers beat the hell out of the Huskers, you simply don’t want to be around me in the dining room of the Lincoln Country Club when that happens. I would surely scream at you and challenge you (but not very seriously) to a fist fight.

    Who am kidding? I couldn’t get through the front doors of the Lincoln Country Club with a bull dozer!

    All the best.


  8. Although you have a couple decades on me, you have spoken my mind, brother judge. Your condition is mine. I feel like I have grown old, though not necessarily up, before my time. About a decade ago, when I was even worse off than I am now, my best friend asked me how my day went. “Another day closer to the finish line,” I said.

    Recently I read a strangely uplifting book: Eureka: A Prose Poem, by Edgar Allan Poe, his last book, written shortly after the death of his young wife, who presumably inspired in advance the Raven et al., and shortly before his own mysterious, although probably alcoholism-related, death. Although Eureka is relatively unknown, it proved prophetic, and Poe considered it his greatest work.

    Its thesis: After the Big Crunch (or what I prefer to call the Big Hug) comes the Big Bang, forever, “at every throb of the Heart Divine. And now – this Heart Divine – what is it? It is our own.”

  9. Just being realistic about Nebraska’s chances next Saturday on the road in Madison. But when it comes to Creighton, I am completely unrealistic.

    I always wear my blue at the events between the two schools in either city and I have never seen any problem. This was true even two years ago in Lincoln that I attended with a NE law alum. Some Creighton people had shirts with an outline of the state and the words super-imposed on it: “The only RANKED show.”

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