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The Mast-Head: Text Markers of Age

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 20:42

Now I feel old. Searching for something for our weekly “Recovering the Past” contest, I found a photograph I had taken in August, almost exactly 30 years ago today. “A first,” I declared to Paul in production. “It had to happen,” he said.

This was one of the little milestones to remind us of our age, and the unavoidable fact that we are aging. I can’t remember taking the photo in 1990, even though it was of one of my favorite summertime events, and the subjects, four women, seem to be laughing at something, a joke I had made, perhaps, to get them to look up from their more important task.

Then there are the bigger markers of age. A dad I know who lives in Northwest Woods sent a group text message this week to remind his guy friends to get their yearly physicals. The story was a common one: My friend’s blood work had come back with an indication of possible prostate cancer. And in fact, it was. His radiation treatment is scheduled for the end of next month, and the prognosis is good. His doctors had caught it early, he said.

The first person who responded thanked him for the reminder. “I’ll make sure to follow up,” he said. The next friend said he would ask his doctor if he had had the test during his last work-up.

I replied, along with a chocolate-covered doughnut emoji, with my thanks, and a promise to check when I am next due to see Dr. Georgopoulos. (Yeah, I know, I know.) And so it went, with all the guys saying they appreciated the heads-up in one form or another, and wishing our buddy well.

Privately, and I am sure I was not alone, I realized I might be overdue. I called Dr. G’s office the minute it opened the next day.

As it turned out, I was due next in December, but I learned that a mailed reminder would have gone to an old post office box number in Amagansett that I no longer use had I not checked. Once that was set straight, the receptionist and I laughed for a moment about the chain of events that had gotten me thinking. Had my friend not sent that text, I might never have checked.


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