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music.' He has heard, too, that it is before fifty; why call attention to the very good for the girth to be able to fact now by assuring everybody that we bend over and touch the tips of your are as keen as a razor and as bright as a feet with the tips of your fingers. Then new penny? Our friends know a fiftyhis dress. His shirts may be just a little year-old penny when they see one, gayer of design, perhaps; he has noticed although they may be too considerate that there are some specially beautiful to say so. All we have to do is to take shades of red in cravats this season. reasonable care of our health, confessThe cut of his clothes could be a bit ing first to ourselves, and convincing snappier. Of course, he must see 'old ourselves of it, that we cannot endure Doc' about that little twinge; that at fifty what we did at forty; nor can foolish little stiffness which seems to we eat the same things; nor as much. come and go; there's a hump that Of course, a man will immediately say, should n't be there.
“How can you prevent yourself from They ’re nothing of course; a man catching the diseases that are all can't be one hundred per cent,' he around you?' We can — in a measure; argues. Still one might see what but the chief truth to get lodged in our *Doc'has to say. The teeth, too, might minds is that the diseases which really stand a bit of looking over, and, when lay us low are not those which we catch he comes to think of it, he has n't had from others, but which we present to his glasses corrected for three or four ourselves. We cannot catch'a valve in years.
the heart or the fatty degeneration of that organ. Nor is it anyone's fault if
we strain our heart to the point where To himself — of course, only to it puts us out of the running. Our himself — the half-century man reads arteries are not hardened by others; what I have written here and thinks, we accomplish that process ourselves. “That chap knows.' You see I have No one gives us Bright's Disease, or been there. I do know and, let me add, diabetes, or a case of strained nerves; I know the foolishness of it all. What we present these to ourselves, and we we need at fifty is a little more common do it by excesses — not of the other sense — a realization of the facts; then fellow's making, but of our own. The no excuses or self-deception, but an contagious diseases to which we are honest admission and a readjustment. exposed by others' carelessness are bad Why this pretense of being a thirty- enough; but why make the battle year-old when we cannot meet the harder by personal and self-imposed specifications? Why offer this excuse, contributions? If it be true that a man and create that alibi or try to fool can give the organic diseases to himself, ourselves with futile explanations, is it not then also true that he can keep when, in reality, we fool no one — not them from himself? even ourselves. Why be ashamed of being fifty? What is there to be afraid
III of? The span of life is lengthening, and it is very largely within our own hands It is a very satisfying statement for to determine how long we shall live and some to say that a man can, at fifty, enjoy life!
play thirty-six holes of golf a day and It gets us nowhere, however, to feel just as fresh as he did at thirty. proclaim ourselves to our friends as Some men can, but they are excepVOL. 134 – NO. 4
tional, and the chances are rather not present these obstacles, but exagainst your being the exceptional perience does, and that perhaps is why man. Besides, golf is determined not so many exercises with music are put so much by the number of holes played away in closets to exercise the patience a day as by the manner in which you of the housewife who must find room for play them. 'I can walk ten miles a day them 'when no one uses them.' I and not feel it,' is a proud boast. But, confess I had at one time some six or unless one is a letter-carrier, why walk seven of these early-morning diversions ten miles a day? The body does not prescribed by doctors, dentists, aurists, require that amount of walking a day and oculists, until I found myself taking to keep in trim. Let common sense from an hour to an hour and a half to rule. It can easily be demonstrated dress, with each diversion deemed more that two miles a day are infinitely bet- 'important' than any other by the ter at fifty, just as satisfying and cer- prescriber! I never tried the twelve tainly wiser, and that eighteen holes of daily lessons set to music because, golf are just as efficacious as thirty- while I may be peculiar, I prefer my six, if not more so. The extremes are music without exercise at the same never wise because unnecessary.
time. But I did try to raise myself up It is astonishing, too, how susceptible from the floor by lifting the abdominal the average man becomes at fifty to the muscles only; to touch the toes with the faddists and the charlatans who have legs erect; to stand on my head and as many notions of how to keep well as wave my feet rhythmically in the air; there are days in the calendar. The to shape the inside of my hands like a general start is with 'only five minutes cup over my ears twenty times and of this exercise every morning just pull the hands away quickly; to take after you wake up. If the exercise is twenty-five deep breaths standing beone that has to be taken while you are fore an open window; and to stretch my in bed, before rising, then someone abdomen thirty times. In addition to comes along and gives another ‘five- this, I learned to eat two raw eggs minute exercise' for the bathroom. The before breakfast; to drink eight glasses third acknowledges that while these of water while dressing, and to run may be good, they are not sufficient for floss through the crevices between my an all-around exercise, and he pre- teeth. As a result of these exercises I scribes a full dozen, some with music, found a day's work, if I were nimble, and others without. Of course, the beginning at eleven o'clock in the musical exercises always depend upon morning! And I was pretty tired when whether the bathroom can accom- I began! modate a Victrola, in addition to the
IV bathtub and other accessories. If the size of your bathroom does not permit Where the half-century man most such demonstrations, the booklet of often errs is in the comfortable belief instruction advises doing the exercises that he can eat everything he could at in your bedroom; which raises the point thirty and digest it just as well. 'I can whether others may not wish to sleep eat nails,' he says; and he does everyat just the time when the music is thing short of trying to prove that he inspiring you to kick in various direc- can. Phrases and so-called truisms are tions or to fan the air wildly with your perhaps the most misleading things we arms.
have: we forget in the acceptance of a The advertisements, of course, do truism that it was, after all, but the
nails," ligest it justing he could att
those ous of th
the chace to a hupare an automent, that
utterance or opinion of one man who have a complete dinner'! Then he goes was just as likely to be wrong as to be to ‘fix the car for to-morrow' or to 'fix right. There is, however, one truism the furnace for the night,' absolutely that has a basis of hard truth, and this oblivious of the fact that, if either of is that we ‘dig our graves with our those inanimate objects had been fed teeth. Very few men, however, like to as he has fed himself all day, the car have their diet disturbed. This is would n't run and the furnace would be particularly true of the man who has clogged with fuel. Make this comparialways eaten what he chose. He is a son clear and he waves it aside with the slave to his palate, and so the road all-sufficient (to him) argument that which leads to a sour stomach, to you cannot compare an automobile or flatulence, unpleasant breath, palpi- a furnace to a human being. But make tation, and dizziness beckons easily to the comparison to fit his ideas of eating, him, and soon he begins to travel on it, and he will at once agree with you. wondering all the while what is the ‘Sure!' he will say. “That's what I matter with him. That it is his diet is always say. A man must be stoked the very last point he will concede. just like a furnace — fill it up.' And the A physician of forty years' experience gases which fill his house during the with stomach troubles said to me night from the overstoked furnace tell recently: “There are two things a man him nothing of the gases in the stomdoes n't like to be told: to eat less and ach which make him belch or hicto smoke less. The moment I tell him cup or feel a ‘stitch in his side. those two I generally find I have lost Man, with few exceptions, is a glutanother patient. And yet,' he added, ton, and he will not have his eating 'that is just what the average man interfered with. You may argue all you should be told when he passes fifty. like with him about speedier fermentaAnother stomach specialist said: 'If tion of food after fifty, less perfect only the average man would give food elimination, digestive processes that do to his stomach with the same care with not work with the same cream-like which he gives gasoline to his automo- smoothness with which they did at bile, we stomach specialists would have thirty, the less need for the same to seek some other profession.
amount of food. He listens, perhaps The average man seems unable to with patience, perhaps with irritation, attain the reasonable mean between according to his nature, and then goes
starvation diet. Suggest taking any. If he does slow up, it is for a short thing away from him, and he immedi- time only; then, feeling the healthful ately sets up the cry either that you are reaction from a more moderate diet, he ‘springing new-fangled notions on him, falls again into the old rut of overeatthat the doctor is 'a nut,' or that his ing. If it were true that organically a wife is starving him. He will recognize man is the same at fifty as at thirty or no middle-ground. He will assure you forty, all this would be correct. But the that he needs all that he eats: he can't organs are not the same, and will not keep going unless he does eat just so perform at fifty as they did with the much. He must have a hearty break- fresher, more youthful, and freer flow fast (meat, generally!) to start the day; of blood at thirty. A food specialist has his luncheon must have something to it said that a man at fifty should eat after an “exhausting' morning; and of thirty per cent less food than at forty, course, in the evening, he ‘simply must and that for every five years thereafter he should take off ten per cent until course, this is but another way of saying he reaches fifty or sixty per cent re- that at this time of a man's life there duction. Of course, no table of per- should come a readjustment of his centages is applicable to each and all, habits of eating, a moderation in his but in the main it is conceded by exercise, in the speed of his activities, stomach specialists that this modera, and in his general watchfulness of tion is by no means too drastic; if any- himself, if he would reach his sixtieth thing, it is too conservative. Then, of year with any degree of vitality and course, the quality of the food comes in, with the blood flowing freely in his and there must be taken into consid- arteries. eration the question of well-balanced The particularly watchful point of meals.
observation is the appetite, which has The point of the whole matter, how- a way of taking on an avariciousness ever, is the realization of the need of a during this cycle out of all proportion reduction in food when a man reaches to the needs of the body. It is, then, the half-century point in his age: the either by gratifying or curbing his amount of that reduction must be appetite that the man determines his decided by the individual. Drinking future health and longevity. If simply (water) he can increase, and wisely; because he has a craving for food he but to eating he cannot hold as in the satisfies the appetite, he will find the past, and the sooner he gets the truth of entire organism weakening under the that idea securely fixed in his mind the pressure, and trouble begins. If, on the better. It is truly amazing, when one other hand, he curbs his appetite and tries the experiment, to discover how trains it according to the needs of the little food is needed not only to keep body, a healthy vigor takes the place of a man feeling fit, but also to enable a torpid condition. A man can wisely him to do a prodigious amount of work. eat only what he can easily digest; and Gradually I have cut down my eating this truth means simply that his digesuntil sometimes I seem to my family to tive organs will not take care of the belong to the family of orchids. But same quantity of food between the invariably with such reductions my seventh and eighth cycles of his life as health has been bettered, my mentality during the sixth and seventh periods. has become much more alert, and there Because the palate craves food it does is no diminution in the quality or quan not by any means follow that the digestity of work accomplished. 'Enough tive organs can take care of it. is as good as a feast.'
After all, there are only three points to which a man at fifty should pay attention: less food, with a more gener
ous drinking of water; a rational The physiologists tell us that the life amount of exercise; and eight hours' of a man is divided into cycles of seven: sleep. These, with a contented mind that during each of these cycles his which casts off worry, are very likely to organism undergoes change, and that lead to a ripe old age. the time between the seventh and eighth cycles — that is, between the The wise Marcus Aurelius was right forty-ninth and fifty-sixth years — is when he wrote, “Remember this: that a period that should receive the par- very little is needed to make a happy ticular attention of every man. Of life.'
BY GEORGE VILLIERS
Do you remember, Cynthia,