Birthdays come around every year, and birthdays with a zero in them come around every ten years, but I was counting on just letting this next Big One approach silently, receive a tip of the hat to acknowledge its passing, and move on to better things.

Then came the exuberant invitation from a high school classmate to celebrate our mutual 60th birthdays with a mini-reunion in Baltimore.  I can’t go, but here was someone making NOISE about our 60th!

But the coup de grace arrived today in the form of a joke email from another high school classmate.  The subject line of the email was “Flight MH370 located” and in the body of the email was the following  photograph:

Gilligan

I can’t think of a clearer marker for my TV-addled age cohort than that photo which, for those of you too young or too old, is a still from the TV sit-com “Gilligan’s Island,” which aired from 1964-67 (but lived on in re-runs).

Seeing that photo, and knowing INSTANTLY who the characters were, even knowing the names of the actors who played the characters, is like receiving a letter from my childhood.

Sad to say that all three actors in the photo are now dead.  Sad to say that a couple (more) of high school classmates have died in the last year or two.

One would wish that 60 would approach and leave on velvet paws, making no sound, but like an unsteady drunk, 60 year-olds don’t do that.  We’re louder than that now, alternately exulting at our survival or bemoaning our diminished capacities, boasting about our children or recounting our latest surgery.

We are grateful to be alive, and amused if not proud to be a part of the Gilligan’s Island generation.

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