“I recently turned fifty, which is young for a tree, midlife for an elephant, and ancient for a quarter miler whose son now says, “Dad, I just can’t run the quarter with you anymore unless I bring something to read.”
Fifty is a nice number for the states in the Union or for a national speed limit, but it was not a number that I was prepared to have hung on me. Fifty is supposed to be my father’s age, but now Bill Cosby, Junior is stuck with these elevated digits and everything they mean.”
Thus begins Bill Cosby’s second book which he wrote when he hit the half century mark. Our parents are already there. Someday we will get there too; maybe some of us are already there. The time when birthdays are no longer happy events; when the number of candles on the cake begin to weigh it down; when every morning we look at the mirror in horror, desperately trying to hide that strand of white hair, or the wrinkles on the forehead.
Ageing is not easy. After having lived life to the fullest, after having experienced the speed, the momentum, to slow down is not easy. And yet, it is inevitable. All of us will age. And while we can continue to remain “young at heart” and “remarkably fit for our age,” we will invariably not be able to do as many things as we did previously.But there is no need to despair. It’s natural and Cosby helps us realize this by taking up the everyday annoyances of growing old and laughing at them in his own flamboyant style. The sagging love handles, the inability tie your own laces, fading memory, declining eyesight, receding hairline, poor digestion, Cosby shares them all and laces each irritant with a healthy dose of humour.
Written in a chatty, colloquial style, the book is easy to read and relate to. The worries and anxieties described by Cosby are all too real. For those approaching or already past their fifties, Time Flies may well be a tool of acceptance; of learning to laugh at themselves and live with the inconveniences brought on by time. And for those who still happen to be “young,” it might provide a better understanding of what their parents and elders go through. Yet, many a times, one can’t help feeling that Cosby is exaggerating. Often one is tempted to shake him up and say, “Seriously dude, fifty isn’t that old and you definitely don’t go bonkers at that age.” The other thing that jars a little is the overly long introduction by Poussaint. It is way too preachy to be in sync with the rest of the book because for all his grumblings not once does Cosby turn prescriptive. Pouissant, on the other hand, is full of advise and observations which baffle. For instance, he takes President Reagen’s re-election into the White House at the age of seventy three, as a mark of turning attitudes towards the elderly. Seriously? Then we Indians must be really good at respecting our elderly because seventy seems to be the average age of our leaders.
These aberrations aside, Time Flies is a light read that you will probably finish in just one sitting. Pick it up if you are looking for a healthy dose of the All American humour.
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