A former newsman looks at 50.

I’m listening to Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate looks at 40” as I say goodbye to the 40s and hello to the big 5-0 on July 3rd. I’ve always looked forward to the big birthday events of my life: turning 13 and becoming a teenager, turning 16 and getting my drivers license, turning 18 so I could vote, turning 21 so I could buy alcohol legally in Kentucky, turning 30 and then turning 40. But turning 50 has been a little different and I really can’t put my finger on why. I’ve thought a lot about this over the past six months. I think it has to do with the reality of mortality that has hit home over the last year or so. My dad died in January. I became a grandfather this past year. I’ve been getting bombarded by AARP stuff this past year as I become eligible to participate. Some young girls and boys call me sir or mister. The days of being carded at the liquor store are long past. Fortunately for me I have folks who don’t know me personally but email me on a regular basis offering to help with a bit of male enhancement. I’ve declined their offers so far but I’m trying to figure out if they know something that I don’t. I even have some folks from Nigeria who are quite persistent about sharing millions of dollars with me. Gee, there must be a lot of loose money floating around over there as I get three or four emails a week from them along with the fact that I’ve won some lottery in Europe that I didn’t know existed. I’m some lucky kind of guy.
Looking back over the first five decades of my life, I remember thinking back in high school that people who were 50 years old were pretty much old farts. Heck, the teachers I thought were old back then were probably only in their late 30s or 40’s at the time. Now I look at 75 and think how young that looks.
I’ve long considered age a frame of mind. I’ve seen some 20 year olds who acted like they were old farts and some folks in their 50s and 60s that you might find it hard to keep up with. A good friend of mine is in the mid 80s. I’ve always told Bud that I hope I’m as young as he is should I get to be his age.
I’m also reminded as I turn 50 that life is the journey, not the destination and I’ve been blessed so far to have had an enjoyable journey. My lovely and talented bride and I will celebrate 20-years of wedded bliss in September. Not only does she still put up with me, we still hold hands when we walk and seeing her from across the room still makes my heart skip a beat. I have two sons, one daughter in law, a granddaughter, a potential daughter in law, and two noggin’ headed dogs (who don’t realize how lucky they are to have been rescued).
So on July 3rd, I will celebrate because I have enjoyed a half century of what life has to offer. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried but the smiles have far outweighed the tears. I’m not rich but I do have my health and the love of my family and friends and there’s a lot to be said for that. Now that I look at it again, 50 is Nifty. Plus, having another birthday beats the hell out of the alternative.

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10 Comments on “A former newsman looks at 50.”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Just discovered you were out here. I for have have missed you on the news but good for you for choosing what was important in your life. Congratulations! fifty is quite fun.

  2. Tif Says:

    1956 was a good year for both of us. Happy Birthday!

  3. Southern Girl Says:

    Joe, I read your blog because I always enjoyed seeing you on the news — and because you always have interesting things to say! Anyway, just wanted to say Happy Birthday!

  4. Doug Johnson Says:

    Good gosh man — you’re positively ancient! How can you even manage to hobble around? Are you using one of those scooter chairs? Oh, wait, I turn 50 in October. Curse you Joe Larkins, for reminding me of the march of time! Hey, can’t we sign up for AARP now? (and how come “tif” still looks so much better than the both of us?)

  5. Dr. Black Says:

    Oh you kid.

    I actually remember 1956 – Eisenhower (the last real republican) was prez, Grace Kelly married The Little Prince, Martin and Lewis’ gave their last performance…

    Fifty is so yesterday.

    Actually, I don’t remember all that…I was six years old in 1956.

    But still, speaking as one has been there (fifty) and done that…

    Happy 50th Birthday, Joe!

    P.S. Once you get past 50, it is not as easy to do that.

  6. jamey tucker Says:

    Happy Birthday Joe.

    oh, I’m sorry:


    eyes go before the ears

  7. Ben There Says:

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone with health and humor intact-especially after time served in “tee-wee news”!!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Wanted to add my congrats on your 50th also.
    You’re a thinking man so….you ought to think about “having one” in tribute to the event!!!!
    Happy Birthday Joe and here’s my wish for many happy returns of the day.
    Now go blow out the candles and take your Geritol like a good Ted Mack fan should.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    You left out one of the most important things to be thankful for. You’re one of the few 50-year-old anchormen who still has good hair.
    Ron Michaels

  10. Joe Larkins Says:

    Ron Michaels you dog.
    I haven’t talked to you in years and wondered whatever became of you.
    It’s good hearing from you and I hope you’re doing well. Do you still stop by Alex’s Tavern?
    Drop me an email and let me know what you’ve been up to.

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