You look at me and you see a boring old white guy. I understand. It’s perfectly natural. I’ve got glasses to correct my crap vision. I’m a coward most of the time, preferring inaction over uncertain actions. My body isn’t exactly muscular or lean. So what could I possibly have done with my life that would be of interest to someone younger than me?
Well, let me tell you a few things, and you can decide.
I’ve seen snow with my own eyes.
I’ve seen palm trees.
I’ve seen deserts.
I’ve seen mountains.
I’ve walked along white-powder beaches and weightlessly floated in waters too blue to be green, too green to be blue.
I’ve seen the ocean rocked and clouds roiled with the winds of tornadoes, tropical storms, and hurricanes.
I’ve seen fogs so thick I couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of me.
I’ve breathed air so thin I needed to inhale a couple of times to make sure I was okay to live.
I’ve breathed air so thick I felt like I was immersed in warm soup.
I’ve seen cities alight with high sophistication, alive with middle-class striving, and rattled by low-class desperation and squalor.
I’ve seen vivid violet-blue and indigo oceans, from the shore and from ships beyond the sight of land.
I’ve seen gleaming cities from the floors of skyscrapers over 100 stories tall.
I’ve seen land that I loved from miles in the air.
I’ve seen St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City.
I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower.
I’ve seen the Tower of London.
I’ve walked through Mayan pyramids.
I’ve walked through vineyards that were probably ancient when Rome was built.
I’ve watched spacecraft launched to distant parts of our solar system.
I’ve run through a forest at night, with a sky alight with stars.
I’ve walked across powdery snow, powdery sand, snow wet with semi-melting temperatures, red clay, brown clay, grey rock.
I’ve lived in neighborhoods so bad the police helicopters rode over nightly and they shut down the pay phone because there were too many drug deals going on.
I’ve lived in neighborhoods so upscale the houses had distinct architecture and the places by the lakes had their own marinas for private pleasure boats.
I’ve drunk champagne with the rich, beer with the poor, been insulted by both.
I’ve seen the Mona Lisa,the Venus de Milo,the Nighthawks,the Sunday on La Grande Jatte,the Sistine Chapel.
I’ve ridden aircraft, boats, railroads, driven my own car, and ridden bicycles on paths I’ve never been before.
I’ve trusted my deepest truths and my most vulnerable secrets with someone I did not fully know.
I’ve accomplished tasks I thought were impossible.
I’ve made impossible tasks that by any logical estimate, I should have been able to accomplish.
I’ve experienced works of art—fiction, music, poetry, theatre, sculpture—that moved me to tears or scared me to death.
I’ve written my own pieces of art, exposing my soul for others to see.
I’ve lived long enough to betray and to be betrayed.
I’ve been physically and emotionally naked with women I loved.
So tell me, young one, who looks on me as if I was some boring old white guy: am I really that boring?