Thursday, August 05, 2010


MACROBIAN, n. One forgotten of the gods and living to a great age. History is abundantly supplied with examples, from Methuselah to Old Parr, but some notable instances of longevity are less well known. A Calabrian peasant named Coloni, born in 1753, lived so long that he had what he considered a glimpse of the dawn of universal peace. Scanavius relates that he knew an archbishop who was so old that he could remember a time when he did not deserve hanging. In 1566 a linen draper of Bristol, England, declared that he had lived five hundred years, and that in all that time he had never told a lie. There are instances of longevity (macrobiosis) in our own country. Senator Chauncey Depew is old enough to know better. The editor of The American, a newspaper in New York City, has a memory that goes back to the time when he was a rascal, but not to the fact. The President of the United States was born so long ago that many of the friends of his youth have risen to high political and military preferment without the assistance of personal merit. The verses following were written by a macrobian:
When I was young the world was fair
And amiable and sunny.
A brightness was in all the air,
In all the waters, honey.
The jokes were fine and funny,
The statesmen honest in their views,
And in their lives, as well,
And when you heard a bit of news
'Twas true enough to tell.
Men were not ranting, shouting, reeking,
Nor women "generally speaking."

The Summer then was long indeed:
It lasted one whole season!
The sparkling Winter gave no heed
When ordered by Unreason
To bring the early peas on.
Now, where the dickens is the sense
In calling that a year
Which does no more than just commence
Before the end is near?
When I was young the year extended
From month to month until it ended.

I know not why the world has changed
To something dark and dreary,
And everything is now arranged
To make a fellow weary.
The Weather Man — I fear he
Has much to do with it, for, sure,
The air is not the same:
It chokes you when it is impure,
When pure it makes you lame.
With windows closed you are asthmatic;
Open, neuralgic or sciatic.

Well, I suppose this new regime
Of dun degeneration
Seems eviler than it would seem
To a better observation,
And has for compensation
Some blessings in a deep disguise
Which mortal sight has failed
To pierce, although to angels' eyes
They're visible unveiled.
If Age is such a boon, good land!
He's costumed by a master hand!
—Venable Strigg
2010 Update: One whose span exceeds her grasp. A 47-year-old.
When I was young and spirits holy,
The earth revolved for my sake solely
But as I've since grown lined and gray
The world has turned another way,
Corrupt with greed and debauchery-
Nothing that it learned from me!
Cruel people with mendacious friends,
The missionary who now lends,
Among these, senior to an elephant
At last aware, now I'm irrelevant.
-Anne Bronte
Now, happy birthday for reals to Actonbell.


Jim said...

♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday Dear ActionBell,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

That's pretty good singing for me. I don't sing out loud since the Methodist choir director asked me not to sing in his choir.

Again, Happy Birthday, ActionBell!
Have a nice day and many more BDays! :)

Jim said...

Your update. 47 is young at half that age! At 55, 60, or 65 or plus, who can remember 47?
Thirty and thirty-five are the best of ages to be. Stay there for a bit.

Anonymous said...

Bierce was an amusing cynic: Senator Chauncey Depew is old enough to know better.

Anonymous said...

Hau`oli La Hanau Action Bell :) Hope you have a great day :)

TLP said...

LOL. Good laugh today Doug!

Happy Birthday to Acton. She hates attention you know.

actonbell said...

Aw, thank you, Doug, that's a wonderful poem!

And thanks, everyone, for the b-day wishes:)

sauerkraut said...

Neither actonbell nor the Bronte sisters will ever be irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

been a long time
since i believed
that i am
nice it was just a passing moment
think its time for
its a wonderful life

cooper said...

Cool poem Mr. Doug. I am not going to compete with a near macrobiote.

très longue vie - to the the birthday girl.

Doug said...

Jim, you transcribe a tune well.

Anonymous, I'm sure M. Depew was an amusing senator.

Thanks, Thom.

I do know, TLP, and I very much sympathize, but I saw no point in discretion considering her mama.

I hope you had a good birthday, Actonbell. By which I mean quiet and only mildly aggravating.

I agree, Sauerkraut.

Bear, I'm sure it's on.

Cooper you have plenty of time to practice.

Anonymous said...


I thank you for your salutation
And commend you your fine maturation
But in terms of descent,
It's not as you meant,
Curmudgeons skip new generations.