It’s Too Late for Almost Everything - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
It’s Too Late for Almost Everything


“Up and at ’em.” That’s what my father used to say on Saturday mornings. I think he learned it in his childhood from his war hero father. He meant it was time to get up and do chores. Together. Mowing the lawn on our VERY steep back yard, mowing the lawn on our very easy front yard. Pulling up weeds. (Was there no Round Up then? I guess not.) Bringing in firewood for the winter. Polishing the wood floors and even the linoleum floors. My wife would rather die than have a linoleum floor, but I liked it a lot. Once I spilled model airplane fuel on it and it made a big mark and my mother went berserk with rage. Then she apologized. It was too late.

But my son has never done one errand or chore in his life. Not one. Why? That’s too complex. That’s locked in his brain.

Plus, in our super fancy neighborhood in Beverly Hills, kids don’t do chores. They shop. They party. They have servants. Wow, did Alex and I screw that up. We should have lived in Sandpoint. That was a huge mistake. Tommy grew up too rich.

Now, we are facing old age and penury. (Well, relative penury.) But it’s too late. It’s too late for almost everything.

Too late for me to have lived more frugally. Too late for me to have taught good habits to my son. Too late to live in Hope, Idaho, and live the simple life.

Well, never mind. As my mother used to say, “I have my memories and I say, ‘To hell with them.’” Of course that’s psychologically meaningless, but so was much else of what was said in my family.

I MISS MY FATHER AND MOTHER. I miss them horribly. If yours are alive, be thankful every day. If gone to glory, pray for them.

I just know my father would have some idea of how to feel about our next President, Hillary. He would probably say that she wasn’t bad, and I sort of agree. I used to loathe her for covering up for Bill. Now I admire her loyalty. I won’t vote for her, but she’ll be a fine President. Any candidate who can take all of that Wall Street money knows how to compromise.

Actually, I cannot imagine how angry she must still be at Bill. But she handles herself well. I saw her on a simply brilliant episode of Jimmy Kimmel a few days ago. He was teasing her for shouting and she turned it into a gag about how she just wasn’t a man. Jimmy and Hillary are a formidable team. He is an authentic genius. She’s not, but she’s good enough for now.

But Jimmy just gets smarter every damned day. I mean, this guy is a super nova of brilliance. Subtle. Insightful. Just a god of the tube. There has never been anyone like him.

Anyway, wifey and I have been in Rancho Mirage for about a week. We have no plans to ever go back to anywhere except to D.C. to see Aram Bakshian and my niece, Emily. She and I are so alike in our interests, especially in country music, it’s almost eerie.

When I woke up this morning, I realized I had all I needed. Wifey. Dogs, Julie, and JoJo. LIVING IN AMERICA!!!! Can you imagine how this fat old Jew who knows the sad history of the Jews so well feels about the greatest privilege God can bestow — living in America? This is the greatest place on earth, in history, the greatest place ever.

Now, I will go swimming in my fabulous pool, watch the hummingbirds zoom around, watch the airplanes fly into PSP, feel the breeze. Know that my sleeping goddess wife is nearby. Thank you, God, thank you. For my wife, my son, my Kitten (daughter-in-law), my Coco (granddaughter), for my genius sister and her genius husband, Mel. For Jonathan, my nephew, who shares so much in common with me. Thank you, dear God, for Phil and for Warren, for Al and Sally, for Joan Didion and John Dunne (RIP), for my glorious parents (RIP), for Nixon (RIP).

Thank you for life in America, the summit of man’s desires.

“Up and at ’em.” Oh, Pop, those were the days.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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