Life begins for my 50-year-old friend
It is often said that when you see people getting on in years, always put yourself in that person’s position. However, life is such that nobody can envisage getting old. Unless some ailment strikes, people always feel that they are the same they were yesterday and the day before. They do not see the changes.
Perhaps the advent of the gray hairs will trigger some emotion and spark the mad rush to turn back the clock. Some would resort to the dyes and some men would use the razor to good effect. They would shave their heads clean and proceed to live the lie that life is just what it was in the past.
This is not a criticism, but an examination of what actually happens. Some people deal with the situation rather casually, but others simply resort to the world of pretense.
Yesterday was a day of awakening in the lives of many people, not least among them the publisher of the country’s most popular newspaper. He turned fifty and what a party he threw to mark the occasion. But it was not always a case of welcoming the approaching years.
I met him when he was in his early thirties. I was heading toward my fiftieth year on earth. To hear Glenn speak was to believe that I was ancient; that he had a very long time to even contemplate such an age. We had many laughs about this. Today I am laughing the loudest.
In those days Glenn was about twenty pounds lighter and so was I. We could out-drink most people and sleep was something that we could go without for long periods. At the end of the session and as the eastern sky would lighten he would say, “Old man you can hold your own.”
For me that was not a compliment, because here I was trying to play young although I didn’t feel young. Later in the day I would tell Glenn that perhaps we should slow down. He would laugh at me and say, “You old boy. This is something for young people.”
If I don’t have a job tomorrow then know that Glenn is angry, because I have reminded him of the tip he gave me when I was where he is now, and how he reacted. I am laughing.
He shared the same birthday with the late Desmond Hoyte and on many occasions he would turn up at Congress Place for a drink set up for Hoyte’s birthday
Two days ago he said to me, “Adam this thing getting to me. Imagine I am a grandfather. This thing got me thinking that I old.”
Being the person that I am, I simply said, “Live with it. I warned you.”
I also informed him that the time will come when he will suffer the aches and pains. I saw his face change and suddenly realized that he was already feeling some of the things of which I spoke.
Then came the excuses. “Adam, I don’t feel one day older. I still sprightly.” But I noticed some strange things. He couldn’t drink as he once did and he slept more than he used to.
A still tongue keeps a wise head. I said nothing about those things. I allowed him to languish in his world of make-believe.
On his birthday I told him that he did not look one day older than when I met him nearly twenty years ago. He smiled and promised me a raise. I am certain that if I do that a couple more times I would be able to tell people that I do have some money. But then again he may catch on and I would be worse off.
What is fifty but a number? We are supposed to become wiser with age and I can say that Glenn is far wiser than when I met him. A shrewd businessman, he has been able to cement what he had back then and to reach out to people who need that boost in life.
There was this law student who needed to go to Hugh Wooding Law School but did not have the wherewithal. Glenn has made her attendance possible. He had done the same for a young and brilliant lawyer some time back.
He once said that he is not one of the people who is obsessed with money for the sake of having it. There was this time when we were traveling to Trinidad for the Summit of the Americas. Glenn always travels first class, so since we were together he bought a first class ticket for me.
Bharrat Jagdeo was there and he made the mistake of telling Glenn that when the editor and the publisher could travel first class then there is money around. Glenn said to him, “I am one rich coolie man who ain’t got to lef money fuh children. I been traveling first class before you start to fly.”
I was embarrassed. This was a big man talking to the president who had made the mistake of attempting to belittle him. This big man is fifty. If indeed life begins at forty then Glenn is ten is years old. But I am now telling him that life begins at fifty.
He has done a lot but there is still so much more to be done.
He has been dubbed the new opposition because he wants to see Guyanese enjoy a better life. He has a running battle with some corrupt politicians and corrupt contractors. He knows that public funds are siphoned off for the benefit of a few and he wants to see that money back in the public treasury. Because of that he has enemies, but at fifty, what are a few enemies?