November 2021

Some alert readers (ARs) may recall that back in March of this year I wrote in this space about driving to Eminence, Missouri to get my first COVID shot.  I noted at the time that eligibility for the vaccine was one of the better perks of being a senior citizen.  Eight months later I’m pleased to report that my advanced age has once again proved to be an advantage in putting me near the front of the line to get the Moderna booster shot.  Thanks to the CDC and the FDA, I was able to celebrate my 73rd birthday with a quick and painless shot  in my left arm. Unlike some of those turning 21, I felt no need to celebrate my birthday with a shot for every year of my age; and, while I experienced some side effects, I’m sure they were not nearly as severe as those suffered by some exuberant 21-year-olds.

Reflecting on my most recent milestone, I realize I am now older than seven of the nine justices on The United States Supreme Court.  Considering that I’ve always regarded the Supreme Court as being populated by old people, this realization comes as something as a shock. Even more shocking is having to admit that I was right.  The Court is in fact composed almost entirely of old people, the youngest of whom will become eligible for AARP membership in January.  While seven of the justices are younger than I am,  eight of them graduated from college after I did. That’s not all.  I’m now older than 45 of the 46 Presidents of The United States were when they were inaugurated.

As most ARs surely know, President Joe Biden, who was 78 when he took office last January, is the outlier.  Biden is now the oldest person ever to hold the office of President. His advanced age notwithstanding, he is not alone among the most powerful leaders in both major parties.  Former President Donald Trump is 75.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is 79.  And Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is now 81.

In this context, it’s worth reminding ARs that my wife and I were at The Rolling Stones concert in St. Louis on September 26th,  at the resumption of their No Filter Tour.  I can report from personal observation that Mick Jagger, who, like Biden, is 78, is exponentially more energetic, vigorous and vibrant than Biden, Trump, McConnell and Pelosi.  It’s not even close.  On the night of the concert Mick showed absolutely none of the obvious signs of senescence so evident among these four elected officials.

We were proud to host The Explorers Club at Bankside.

Someone else who seems to have defied the stereotypical patterns of aging is William Shatner, who is best known for having portrayed Captain Kirk on Star Trek. As most ARs undoubtedly know, Shatner, having made his name in fictional space travel over a half century ago, actually traveled into space on October 13th  of this year at the age of 90.    While I have never traveled into outer space and don’t realistically expect ever to do so, I’m a great believer in the spirit of exploration.  Like many, I was confined for much of the pandemic and did most of my exploration at home, often through books that had sat unread on my shelves for years.  It wasn’t until last spring, following my second vaccination, that I actually ventured onto an airplane for the first time in over a year.

Since then I have been elected Co-Chair of The St. Louis Chapter of The Explorers Club (www.explorers-stl.com), which hosted a program at The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum in St. Charles on October 20th, followed by dinner at Schlafly Bankside.  The evening was a great reminder of the important role St. Charles has played in exploration since its founding in 1769.

Some ARs may be most familiar with The Explorers Club because of the exotic cuisine served at its annual banquet in New York, which in the past has included such delicacies as rattlesnake sliders, camel meat loaf, glazed kangaroo, beaver, muskrat, scorpions, mealworms, tarantulas and other insects.  Despite my enthusiasm for exploration, I need to clarify that the fare served at Bankside on October 20th was considerably less adventurous.  I don’t need to explore the consequences of eating tarantulas and scorpions any more than I need to explore the side effects of downing 21 shots on a milestone birthday.

Tom Schlafly
Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery