Breaking news: It seems I’ve gotten old. I knew it would happen, just not this soon.

The subject came up because tomorrow is my birthday. (With the number of candles required my birthday cake might need a smoke alarm.) As for the title above, I’m not making fun of forest fires, quite the opposite. Many decades ago, I worked in the Forest Service in the campgrounds but, during a once in a generation blaze, I was drafted to help fight a forest fire. Only once. Trust me, once was enough.

With a bandana over my mouth and goggles over my eyes, my job was to carry 50 pounds of coiled hose on my chest and 50 on my back, and like a mule, walk down a steep mountainside fully engulfed in flame. At the bottom of the hill, I’d be relieved of the hoses only to make return trips for hours on end. (Not only did I gain enormous respect for fire fighters, but also for mules.)

As for tomorrow, truthfully, I was hoping my birthday would glide by unnoticed. I’m kind of obsessing over where did the years go? I checked my driver’s license hoping it was a typo.

With social media, however, one can’t ignore one’s birthday even if one (me!) wants to. And yet it’s very nice so many friends, Facebook friends and relatives send birthday wishes. This raises the age old question (“age” being the operative word) is an email birthday card count as much on the sincerity scale as one sent snail mail? Actually, I’d say yes. I think.

As for the years flying by, it confirms what I read once, that the older you get the faster the time whizzes by. It reminds me of the 40’s movies where they show the passage of time with months from the calendar flying off one after another into the air.

Remember when you were a kid, how long summer vacation seemed? The last day of school before summer break was so wonderful because 3 months off seemed like an eternity. Now it feels like by the time I finish writing this column another birthday will be just around the corner. Where is the “pause” button?

I think George Carlin had it right when he suggestged life should be reverse. He said we should be born old and get younger each day. (And this was decades before the movie “Benjamin Button!”)

One thing that comes to my mind about birthdays (other than what’s the harm with one more piece of cake?) is that what have I done of significance this past year? Frankly, the question makes me want to return to the subject of cake.

To be honest I haven’t done that much during the past 12 months, other than watch the pages from the calendar fly off. I have, however, written 52 of these columns but it feels like I’ve done so many for so many years, it’s second nature. Put it this way, as for what I did during this past year, I wouldn’t list “put on my pants.” I’ve done so many columns it feels like the literary version of putting on my pants.

Something different, this year, I did co-write two commercials. That said, though they were on TV, you probably didn’t see them. They didn’t exactly get the exposure of Flo and Progressive Insurance. They are, however, somewhere on YouTube. (Google: “YouTube:” In a month or so, there will be another: “PrimeTimeRideShare.” How’s that for shameless plugs?)

This will sound strange to my right wing readers, but part of the malaise I’m feeling about being a year older, is that I never thought I’d be this age and have to endure a president like Trump. It’s exactly six months in his presidency and, if anything, he’s getting worse. I wish the months of the calendar would blow off 3 ½ years worth or, better yet, he gets impeached. (Neither are likely.)

Trump and I are about the same age. I don’t have blond hair that comb over and around and upside down 90 minutes a day using bobby pins and gobs of hair spray. Remember in Mexico during the campaign when he gave a speech but forgot to take the bobby pins out? And I don’t wear my hair like Dennis the Menace. (Bill Maher says Trump’s hair looks like dryer lint.) And, with all due respect, my complexion isn’t orange, much the color of a certain species of baboon.

I see by my trusty word counter, I’ve gotten to the end of this week’s missive. In advance, let me sincerely thank those who will send me birthday greetings. As for the cake, rest assured, as we light the birthday candles, we will have fire extinguishers at the ready.


Tagline: If he isn’t too busy watching O.J.’s Nevada parole hearing (meaning O.J. may soon be appearing at a golf course near you) Jack can be reached at