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58 with a Bullet

YESTERDAY WAS my birthday and what the firetruck have I got after 58 years of ongoing setup in life’s cosmic joke? Receding hairline, expanding waistline, infrequent byline, recurring punch line: seven times before (i.e., last year, in 2014, 2013 and at five-year intervals before), in birthday columns respectively headlined, 57, 56, 55, 50, 40 and 35 with a Bullet, I’ve repeated the same hairline/ waistline/ byline joke I first made in this column when I was 30 with a Bullet.

After turning 30 “in the papers” in 1988, the year I left the law and took up with the pen, I decided to limit birthday columns to five-year intervals and “significant” birthdays. In 2013, it struck me that every firetrucking birthday had now become significant: I can’t ever be sure I’ll be here for the next one (but that’s all right for a man who, from the age of 19, has only ever wanted to make it to the weekend).

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