Aging: Now there's a subject that, in my view, is vastly undercovered in the news. We all feel it, think about it, experience its effects (and perhaps moan about them too much!). The subject, however, has great relevance in our current political climate.
Heading up the presidential sweepstakes, at the moment, are Donald Trump, current occupant of the White House, age 72; Joe Biden, former senator and vice president for two terms under Barack Obama, age 76; and Bernie Sanders, senior senator from Vermont, age 77.
What's more, we could put another senior already considered "in old age": Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts, in the No. 4 spot. She's 69.
Hey, I'm 76 myself and feeling it, trust me. Inherited arthritis (both sides of my family), neuropathy in both legs and three debilitating eye conditions - blepharitis, glaucoma and cataracts. The blepharitis is held back but hardly banished by daily medication, and the glaucoma and cataracts have both been treated surgically but can edge back into the picture.
I'm more forgetful now, though no signs of clinical dementia. My physical energy is far from what it was in my 50s and even my 60s. And if I don't get an afternoon nap, I drag through the rest of the day and hit the sack exhausted.
My own dear brother "checked out" of this life at age 70. My father died of an undiagnosed aneurysm in the abdominal wall at age 74. And if you scan the obituaries in this or any other newspaper you'll find, guaranteed, that a high percentage of folks profiled died somewhere between their late 60s and their early 80s. Or exactly the age gamut in which our top four presidential contenders find themselves.
For me, clearly, age is a consideration. I'd feel much better having the contenders come from the ranks of men and women from age 45 to around 65 - a nice 20-year span in which physical energy, mental acuity and general health are all likely to be sturdier than for us 70-somethings.
Trump himself is a special case. Some with a medical or even psychiatric background have observed (from afar, of course) that he seems to be deteriorating mentally with the stresses and strains of the office and the near-constant sniping at his character and his policies from political opponents and media pundits.
It's an established fact that his quotient of false or unfounded statements has been accelerating and that his tally of lies since his inauguration has now topped 10,000 (as contrasted with a media-recorded 87 for Barack Obama through his eight years in the Oval Office).
Add to that the frequent episodes of rage in which Trump indulges himself. These fits of spleen happen when he learns aides have been leaking to the Beltway press or that former aides and associates have agreed to testify before this or that congressional committee.
Not great for the heart!
Fortunately, Trump does not drink alcohol or, as far as is known, abuse narcotics. We do know that his diet is not always the best and he does not exercise on any regular basis, even riding a cart when golfing.
I'd love to see (but haven't yet seen) any reporting on the health practices of Biden, Sanders and Warren and the younger contenders, too.
Mortality: It'll bite us all in the end, as it did in late April our 14-year-old sweet-as-pie tuxedo cat - black with white fur just above all four paws - Cleo. She'd been subject to seizures for years and just wore out. Paula and I, Cooper our dog and Punkin our junior cat, miss her terribly.
John Patrick Grace is a Huntington-based book editor and publisher and teaches the Life Writing Class.