70 Years Young - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
70 Years Young

This is really hard to believe but it’s true. I am writing this just before midnight on Friday night. If I live, in roughly 72 hours, I will be 70 years old. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT AT ALL!!!!

It seems like just yesterday I was a small child walking along Sligo Creek, playing army with David Scull, listening to Carl Bernstein playing Buddy Holly on the guitar. It was just days ago, surely, that I went to those glorious, Gatsbyesque parties at the Alpha Delta Phi House on W. 114th Street with Mary Just, and then down to the Tower Suite or the Stork Club for cocktails.

And wasn’t it just moments ago that I was a student radical at Yale Law School, harassing the professors and making the girls swoon?

Weren’t my wife and I the glamorous student rebels on Lynwood Place in New Haven? Didn’t we hurl contempt at the pig power structure as we entertained Fritz Lang in the Sterling Law Buildings?

How could it have been more than a few moons ago that I worked and struggled for Richard Nixon, the greatest man of the 20th century, as the Washington leftist establishment tried to kick him out of his peacemaking perch — and succeeded? And what about UC Santa Cruz and the adorable co-eds smiling at my thin, menacing self and beckoning me to them? Could that really have been 42 years ago? Maybe it didn’t happen at all. Maybe it’s a false memory implant like the Tyrell Corporation gave to Replicants in Blade Runner.

This is terrifying. I don’t feel old. I feel young and playful, as my pal, Heather, says. I feel like the same wickedly clever Benjyrama that my wife married nearly half a century ago. I feel as if I might wake up one morning and it would be 1973 again and Aram Bakshian and John R. Coyne, Jr., and Dave Gergen and my mother and father would suit up and show up for battle once more to defend the Peacemaker. I feel as if it might be 1962 and I would watch Gay Patlen, the dream girl of my youth, dance the jitterbug, Washington style, in the Girls’ Gym at Blair after a football game and I would fall in love with her again.

Where is my old girlfriend Pat, from forty-two years ago, who showed her loyalty in blood so many times for me? Where is Ona Murdoch, the sweet, reasonable Quaker from GW?

Where have all these girls gone? There is still Nan, my artist who don’t look back, working her magic in New Haven. So many of the others are gone. Like Bertrand Russell, I have sought love as my main goal all of my life. Now, the girls are scattered. 

But I have more. I have my Julie Goodgirl, my German Shorthaired Pointer, my saint dog, my Jojo, same breed. I have my devoted messengerette, Helen, with her J-date tales. I have Ona still by e-mail. I have my make-up artist, Renae, wit of wits, staunch Republican in Hollywood, fan of George W. Bush and her husband and her daughters.

Most of all, I am the richest man in the world because I have Alex, the world’s most spectacularly great personality, the world’s kindest human, the direct descendant of the Almighty, as far as I can tell. The daughter of God. Loyal, forgiving, trusting. Yes, I also have the greatest sister in the world. Funny, compassionate, insightful. But she is a super human. Alex is superhuman. Her beauty of soul is unique.

We went for Japanese food tonight and I asked Alex what I had learned in these 70 years that I could play back for my pals.

“Your twelve step stuff,” she said instantly.

Take life one day at a time.

Take life as it comes.

I am powerless over almost every aspect of life.

The me who can forgive is truly walking with God.

I am just one of 8 billion people on this earth. What happens to me is not terribly important.

I am not the piece of dog dropping at the center of the universe.

When all else fails, turn it over to God.

At every step of the way turn it over to God.

“His will be done” is the answer to almost every problem.

There are no lives without unresolved problems.

Life with faith is the only kind of life I choose to have.

The smartest words in the English language: “I don’t know.”

The most powerful words in the English language: “Dear God, please help me.”

So what if our backs are against the wall: God is our wall.

The most dangerous muscle in the human body is the tongue.

Pause when agitated or doubtful.

Whatever the problem, rest, food, and prayer get you closer to victory.

There is no such thing as a life without crises. The only variable is our serenity.

The me who can be serene is getting a foretaste of heaven.

What I want to happen is my will. What happens is God’s will. I won’t fight it right now.

I have a million of them.

I also wish I had more friends like Phil DeMuth. And a lot more Berkshire Hathaway. But happiness is counting what you have, not what you don’t have.

It is a great day when I realize God loves me just as I am.

I will write more tomorrow. For now, I have to do another gilded act: go to sleep while listening to Mozart.

God bless The American Spectator, for which I have been writing for more than half of my life. And God bless Richard M. Nixon, who gave so much to my parents and me and who brought peace to a wounded, dying world… and was crucified for it. I hope and pray my son and my granddaughter understand and carry the message.

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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