Friday, July 20, 2012

Seventy-Five: What's That All About?

Dear George,
At the stroke of midnight tonight I’m going to turn 75.  Wow!  The very idea of it is overwhelming.  Among other things, this will amount to being 518 years old in dog years.  I think back to my grandfather being 75, and I can envision that.  When I try to recall my father being 75, I have more trouble --  my image of him is of a middle-aged man.  Then when I try to imagine myself as 75, I feel like I’m hallucinating.  How in the world did that happen?  Did I just skip over my fifties and sixties?

Part of my bewilderment is that I can’t figure out precisely what 75 means.  As I normally do, I turned to Wikipedia for some answers.  Wikipedia isn’t interested in the age of 75, but it’s great on the math part of it.  It seems that 75 is a pentagonal pyramidal number, as well as an enneagonal number, and also a Keith number because it recurs in a Fibonacci-like sequence.  That was intriguing.  I have never thought of myself as having any connection to Fibonacci-like sequences.  Now I discover I’ve achieved that just by sticking around long enough. 

Mathematics are good for the abstract thinkers, but everybody knows you can learn more practical things from  Numerology.  I went to one of the best web-sites ( and plugged in “75” as my search term.  In less than a milli-second the web-site told me that “numerology meanings for 75 confirm academic excellence.  As such you outshine others in your school life.  You study religion, philosophy, and many occult sciences (e.g., like social psychology), but you are not attracted by wealth and monetary gains.  In later life, you exhibit your talents as an author, writer, and poet.  You excel in your speeches and writings.  When 75 is afflicted, however, you undergo a lot of mental anguish, live alone despising the world, and are fleeced by your greedy relatives.” That’s amazing – so true.  The mental anguish, the study of philosophy, not being attracted by money, and so forth.  While I don’t know if I’m completely afflicted at this point, most of Numerology’s observations are spot on (e.g., greedy relatives).   
Google, of course, is the ultimate fount of wisdom.  You wouldn’t believe how many tens of thousands of illuminating insights I got when I Googled “75”.  Here are just of few of the examples that were personally relevant to my life situation: 

  • Issue #75 of Batman (DC Comics, February 1953) was "The Gorilla Boss of Gotham."

  • 75% of Americans with mobile phones report that they use them in the bathroom.

  • In order to simulate the experience of being age 75, MIT scientists designed a suit with braces which mimic joint stiffness; leg straps creating slower leg movements; helmet attachments giving an age-induced curved spine; yellow eyeglasses making it difficult to read small print; and earplugs which impair hearing. 

  • July 13, 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of "creating fond memories through the joy that is Krispy Kreme."

  • 75-year-old baseball player Serge Skok of New Jersey has a 9-1 record and has been named the best pitcher in the Wayne Y modified fast-pitch softball league, regularly striking out ex-college players in their 20s and 30s.

  • The breakfast special at Tony's I-75 Restaurant in Birch Run, MI includes a pound of bacon. 

  • 75 to 84 year-olds make up 4.8% of Ohio's population. 

  • "75 Questions to Ask Yourself" include: Do I have fun?  Do I annoy others?  Is there an afterlife?  Have I settled for mediocrity?  Do I smile more than I frown?

  • Competitive bodybuilder and fitness instructor, Ernestine Shepherd, age 75, wakes up every day at 2:30 a.m. and runs 10 miles.

  • 2012 is the 75th anniversary of Spam.  In the four years following its debut on July 5, 1937, Hormel sold over 40 million pounds of the famous luncheon meat.   

  • The Transportation Security Administration has modified airport screen procedures for passengers 75 and older, allowing them to leave on shoes and light jackets, though physical pat-downs may still be conducted if anomalies are detected.

  • Forecasters project that 75% of the US population will be grossly obese by the year 2020.

  • From Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser: Where whenas death shall all the world subdew, our love shall live, and later life renew. 

  • 75 wild turkeys live at the DeYoung Family Zoo in Menominee County, MI. 

  • On the occasion of his 75th birthday on July 12, 2012, Bill Cosby said, "On turning 75, some this everyday...and some don't." 

Google is unquestionably remarkable, but long before Al Gore even invented the Internet I learned to rely on the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes.  My brother-in-law, David W., who lived in L.A. at the time, introduced us to the I Ching when we were all young and avant garde, and we’ve consulted it ever since.  I asked the I Ching, “How should I consider my new age of 75?”  Then I tossed my Chinese coins six times in a row, each toss yielding a combination of coin faces which signaled either a broken or unbroken line.  Remarkably, and for the first time ever, I got six unbroken lines in a row, leading me to the I Ching’s very first reading, Ch’ien.  Here’s a condensed summary: 
1.  Ch’ien – The Creative, Heaven

                                    The creative works sublime success,
                                    Furthering through perseverance
The Ch’ien hexagram is made up of six unbroken lines which stand for the primal power – light-giving, active, strong, and of the spirit.  The hexagram is consistently strong in character.   Its image is heaven.  The hexagram includes the power of time and the power of persisting in time, that is, duration.  When an individual draws this oracle, it means that success will come to him from the primal depths of the universe and that everything depends upon his seeking his happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in what is right. With this image, the sage learns how best to develop himself so that his influence may endure…

I’m not that enthused about the I Ching’s emphasis on Heaven in my future, but I like all the rest of it: creativity, persisting in time, strength, seeking happiness for others, perserverance, enduring influence.  Not only are the I Ching’s strictures relevant to blogging, but they apply at least as well to marriage, sheepdogs, line dancing, and bubbly grandchildren.  I should have known that the I Ching would offer the best possible action plan for being 75. My next step is obvious.  Pardon me while I toss six more coins.  Then we will be off on a new adventure. 

G-mail Comments
-Linda K-C (7-20):  David , truly fascinating, I turn 70 next may, are there cliff notes on the chinese science.  I'd like to have an early view of what is in my 70 th year . According to Chinese method of  counting  wouldn't I be seventy now?  I thought I would die before now, but I can't decide to die just yet.  Going to memorial for my baby brother the 28th and I understand k. J. And twins will join you at farm. That will be such fun and glad katya can make it.  Getting back to the turning 75 business, by Jewish law I might be a greedy relative, any thing you have I should drop hints about wanting?  Safe travels and happy birthday
-Phyllis S-S (7-20):  Dear Dave,  What a creative blog.  I enjoyed reading it a lot.  But - I'd never, ever use my mobile phone in the bathroom and I detest Spam.  I understand perfectly about missing decades - where did they go?  What did I do then?  Happy, Happy 75.  Phyllis


  1. Hi, I found this when googling (really? Is that a verb?) for articles 'on being 75' for my mom's upcoming birthday. I just loved this blog. Your sense of humor reminded me of my dad's, which was nice since he isn't around to make me laugh any more. I hope you will continue with it. It's a gem. Abbe

  2. Thanks a lot, Abbe. Happy Birthday to your Mom.
    Dave L.