einsteinYou thought diamonds took billions of years to be created from carbon-containing minerals. You are wrong. There are now labs that take cremation ashes and, under high pressure, turn them into actual, certified diamonds. So your kids can have mom in a pair of earrings and dad in cufflinks. Google this ghoulish jewelry if you don’t believe me.

Don’t buy me a fitbit for my birthday. I will never use it. I will never check my smartphone to see how many steps I walked this morning. The only time I will use my blood pressure device is when I feel woozy. I do not read the sides of packages for nutritional content, Thanks anyway but I do not have the time to spend my silver years measuring my life.

Age has its privileges. There are institutionalized benefits to getting older here in the world’s #1 superpower. I do appreciate my discounts on BART, at the movie box office and Supercuts, and, certainly, Medicare. But am I being gerontologically greedy if I request senior dental insurance, special deals for Warriors games, hearing aids for $500, passes for the freeway carpool lanes, free massages on my birthday, being allowed to cut to the front of lines especially at SFO?

To my unprofessional eyes it looks like Putin has had a facelift. Same with Larry Elllison. I get it. The unstoppable creasing, wrinkling, aging of our faces is scary. Every time I look in the mirror there’s a half a second pause to guess who I am. Slowly I am becoming as rugged as Gabby Hayes. What was I thinking lying all day on Stinson Beach in my distant youth? So I understand why Larry Ellison is fighting back. What I don’t understand is that lab he is funding to extend our lifetimes deep into three digits. No thanks. I am 100% sure that if I were ever to live to 100 I would end up looking like a sharpei.

If the only way you keep up with local news is local newscasts you might think we are living in the middle of a crime tsunami. Every night at 6 we get 15 minutes of car jackings, freeway shootouts & trigger-happy gang bangers. The truth is less alarming. From 2008 to 2014 new prison incarcerations in the Bay Area dropped 93%. And don’t let anyone tell you that the Mission is gentrified. I went strolling down the Street between 24th and16th the other afternoon and it was hellish- garbage everywhere, dirt encrusted guys sleeping on the sidewalk, screaming crazies, straight out of Dante.

This is getting ridiculous. By ’this’ I mean living in this coffee obsessed, Uber-addicted, yoga-dependent, arty, artisanal, data-driven, tuna-belly loving, rent ranting, traffic talking, creative cocktailing, clinically narcissistic, tastily tattooed town. Where is Tom Wolfe when we need him?

The fall semester has started and like I have every year of my Geezerhood, I go back to school, volunteer coaching classes in Berkeley Public Schools and this year in the Tenderloin. Teaching may be the best job on earth and this is the best version of it – enjoying middle schoolers thoroughly for a brief couple of hours a week.

I missed Burning Man again this year.




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