Point of View: In Sum

It was the day before I, perhaps the only “company man” left in America, was to be interviewed, and I was trying to think of clever things to say.

First, I would say, when asked what changes I’d seen here in the past 50 years, that the greatest change I’d seen was that there was far more hair growing out of my ears and nose than there was atop my shiny head.

What else? I would say that because my father pursued many careers and married many times, I in contrast was impelled to lead a quiet, happy life, which is what I’ve done. 

I would say too that the world’s ills could largely be traced to ideological rigidity, in thinking and belief, and that, as Oscar Wilde said, life was too serious to be taken seriously. In other words, wonderful things may happen if you loosen up and go with the flow. 

The athletic life, which I’ve lived for almost 79 years, and about which I’ve written for 40, because it mirrors the eternal movement and variety that we know as life, is primarily joyous and therefore worthy of celebration, which is why I say I’m in the joy department when asked what I do.

And, yes, though I know suffering teaches us what to want, I persist as the Candide of Harbor View Drive — a romantic, a bit of a wiseass, and far more hopeful than despairing, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. Simply programmed that way, I guess, buoyed as I am on arising each day with the prospect that there’s always another pitcher of margaritas to make.

And tennis. Dr. Eugene Krauss, of Riverhead and Great Neck, is to be thanked for that, having endowed me with titanium knees in my 60s so that I could continue kicking my peers’ butts well into my dotage, which, I suppose, is a bit obscene, just as is the fact that I’m still here at The East Hampton Star — “since the Paleolithic era,” I tell the tours — sitting on a plush chair in a corner office surrounded by well-thumbed books and photos of Mary, in the company of our dog, O’en, who, lying on a plush bed nearby, is casting half an eye my way, waiting desperately to pee.