|2 August 1972: Tanned, rested, thin as a whippet and feeling, fresh out of my teens, old, jaded and corrupt. Following an undistinguished maiden effort (and eighteen months in the wilderness, a portion of this spent being discreetly homeless) I was about to be re-admitted to the University of California as a freshman. Things were looking up.|
|*These two sentences yielded the following amusing result after being passed through the various translation modules on Babelfish a few times:
I turned almost the whole of my twentieth anniversary into irritable tendency up, after I had begun it in Berkeley I, that also with masses wake up -- and during last mark, because suspecté I correctly this morning -- mine then inamorata and almost all day long, in order last the 75 miles with Santa Cruz to hang, that. I remember to shake and her press my fist am penetrating cries "my anniversary, goddamnit!" with the auto of the retreat on slow series of 1.
|2 August 1982: Thirty! It was nice to see the fountain back in operation again; it would have been nicer still, as I discovered seconds after this photo was taken, had I realized before jumping in bare-footed that the bottom was littered with shards of a shattered beer bottle. Apart from this, I was, in retrospect, at the top of my game here, with a vast (albeit, as events were to demonstrate, brittle) self-confidence. Having been promoted by this time to FCT&D's international division, I continued to put off applying to graduate school.|
|2 August 1977: (It is perhaps not as reliable as tree rings, but we can do a crude track of drought patterns in Northern California by whether the fountain happens to be on or off on any given August second.) I was to live in Santa Cruz for just six weeks more before, with vast regret, I and the then-spouse pulled up stakes and moved to gritty Oakland, and I took a place on the payroll (starting literally in the mailroom) of the venerable San Francisco firm of Flatline, Comatose, Torpor & Drowse. This was to be an interim measure until I settled on a graduate school major.|
|2 August 1992: Forty, a milestone mistakenly imagined, etc., etc. More sorrow than wisdom had accrued in five years, and I was starting to become a tad agoraphobic (augh! Grad school! All those crowds!). Three years after the expiration of its notional charter my little art department was thriving in its obscure corner of the vastly tangled FCT&D org chart.|
|2 August 1987: Thirty-five, a milestone mistakenly imagined by the young to mark the onset of middle age. My domestic arrangements had unravelled with dazzling abruptitude the previous year, and a concatenation of disasters small and large had shaken my composure. The following month, having put myself in extremely bad odor with the head of FCT&D's international division, I took a temporary assignment doing graphics and publications for a special project. Graduate school would have to wait.||2 August 1997: Aging but cheerful, having been pulled back from a steady descent into Norwegian Bachelor Farmer-hood by the romantic intervention of an old friend. At FCT&D...not quite so good, the old boss having been kicked upstairs and a fantastically erratic and vindictive character replacing him. It was a time to hang out in the tall grass and fantasize about...academia?||2 August 2002: Fifty. I never imagined I'd live so long or weigh so much. On the other hand, I'd assumed, when I was forty and prettier, that I'd endure forever the residuum of gloom then prevailing. There were reasons for cheer: the love of a good woman. The retirement of the erratic and vindictive boss. My elevation into the ranks of the landed gentry. Nicotine withdrawal hadn't kicked in yet. And I wasn't sweating bullets over, you know, a thesis or a dissertation.||2 August 2007: OK, this is middle age.||2 August 2012: At sixty (I am now prepared to acknowledge "middle age" as lasting from forty to fifty-nine. I propose to pass the next five years in the stage of development called "denial") I find I have outlived Flatline, Comatose, Torpor & Drowse, which early in the last decade was slain, partially dismembered and then stitched together with the similarly mutilated corpses of Senescent Technologies and The Dotard Group to become BrainDead Systems, a—to put it charitably—somewhat unwieldy organization rather fecklessly managed. I continue to toil on the payroll, but keep an eye on the fire exits. For the rest, I appear to retain my health and, I trust, a modicum of good humor, although I'm no longer entirely certain that I have the patience for graduate school.|