Bette Davis, the famous Hollywood legend, once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”
What she should have said is, “Getting old is okay if you don’t let it get you.”
My picture was taken on the cliffs of the Brisbane River when I was seventy-four. When I was seventy-three I did seven months on chemotherapy for colon cancer. It was a bad trip. I had to fight like mad to beat it. The surgeon said I was lucky.
Not all that long ago, I survived a spine operation that lasted five hours. I’d been on crutches for four months. The next day I threw my crutches away. The surgeon said I was lucky, but I believe I won both times because I wasn’t ready to die.
When I tell people that, they hit me with funny looks, and write me off with this,
“You’ve always been a wild card, Kenn.”
Why bother to tell them they’re missing something?
Heaps of people my age believe that when the sweet bird of youth flies away, it’s time to fasten your seat belt for the ride to Neverland. All that achieves is to get you there sooner.
In a commercial world like this, we’re all at the mercy of spin doctors who tell us what to think, what to eat, what to wear, what to believe, how to build our houses, how to raise our kids, and who to vote for. It’s push-back time.
A great sadness has recently swept over my country. While the fires were burning, the ratbag activates glued themselves to roads, told us our days were numbered, and dared us to smell the Co2. Only the dropkicks listened.
Everyone else saw the burning houses, the broken dreams, the scorched earth, the charred bodies of the wildlife, and the tears making rivers down their cheeks.
But out of that inferno, rose the phoenix of a national togetherness held aloft by the courage of fire-fighting heroes, little kids selling homemade lemonade on the streets, and tanker loads of donated money. The Red Cross was caught holding some of it back, and will never be trusted again.
Australia is a country of two-party politics. Both parties are in unavoidable trouble; both leaders flopping around in imitations of Rome’s Nero. Send in the clowns.
All of us in Oz have taken an upper-cut, but where there’s life, there’s always tomorrow.
Don’t listen to the spin doctors who tell you that our tourism is dead, that our country will never be the same; that the trees won’t grow again, that the koalas have gone forever, and that the solution is in the hands of Prince Mumbles and some little kid from Sweden.
Think again: The Aussie drought is easing, the rains have come, the burnt koalas are in the arms of the firefighters, our politicians are all under the microscope, and the kangaroos are slowly beginning to hop again. It’s not over, but the stars of the southern cross are still there on our flag, and they’re looking good. Worthwhile things are never ready to die.
Thank you for reading.