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and speaking of middle age...

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 18, 2009

It's no picnic, living through that stage of life that is optimistically termed as "middle age."

  • In my youth I could touch the rim on a regulation basketball court: not bad, for a guy my size. Now when I jump, if you time it just right you can slip a sheet of looseleaf paper under my airborne feet.
  • Speaking of "my size," during my college years I listed myself as 5'10. That might have been an exaggeration, or at least I was rounding up. But I was close. Several years ago I conceded that I was really 5'9. You might ask: 5'9 and a fraction? Nope; 5'9. Wait another couple of years and that will seem like an exaggeration, too. I'm on the downward slope.
  • (And if there's some wise guy out there ready to suggest that I lost a half-inch of height to baldness, you're wrong. I first noticed my hairline receding right around my 17th birthday. By the time I graduated from college it was a rout.)
  • Right now I'm getting accustomed to my first pair of bifocals. They're called "progressive" lens these days. Is that supposed to make me feel better?
  • Years ago I would regularly attend the weddings of my friends and the funerals of their parents. Now it's more likely to be the funerals of my friends and the weddings of their children.

But of all the sorrows that come with middle age, perhaps the greatest is to see a respected colleague enter his dotage, and begin making statements that are not only nonsensical, but even morally obtuse.

Yesterday Jeff Mirus-- who is much older than I am-- sent a message to thousands of Catholic Culture readers, describing me as having a "medieval mind." Obviously he was confused about the difference between someone who lived in the Middle Ages and someone who is middle aged. It's an understandable confusion, especially since poor Jeff is clinging to his membership in the latter category. I wasn't offended-- especially in light of the fact that the medieval period saw the greatest flowering of Catholic intellectual life. I thought it best to let the unfortunate reference pass unnoticed.

But today I find that I can no longer keep my silence. In a blog post today Jeff Mirus made light of the fact that a prominent American Catholic prelate has not only given his tacit endorsement to vices such as gambling and the consumption of sugary junk foods, but actually rejoiced in the triumph of evil forces.

It's sad. If you read carefully (God help you), you might have noticed that Jeff Mirus referred to the stakes of Archbishop Dolan's scandalous wager as "a case of Tasykakes." Was that typo due to the clouding of the mind that comes from such close association with evil? Or from the more natural effects of aging on the intellect? Oremus.

And wait 'til next year.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: JimKcda - Nov. 23, 2009 11:57 AM ET USA

    "Make a pledge or one-time donation now!" Whatever financial support I decide to forward to this site in the future shall definately be directed to Phil, a "Phillies" fan, and none to those Damn Yankee's and their fans; e.g., Jeff!