Today I turn 55. I’ve reached the mid-point of my sixth decade on the planet. As Dad would have said, it beats the alternative.
55 is not a bad number. It’s a speed limit, sure, but other than that it’s a number I’ve always liked. It’s a good round number that looks good on a sign. It has the benefit of alliteration and fricatives. It’s fun to say.
It’s the number Russell wore when he played high school football, and I enjoyed watching number 55 out on the gridiron for the Vikings, making his blocks and leading runners downfield.
It’s also the number that features prominently in Ol’ 55, a song written by Tom Waits that, as performed by the Eagles, is one of my favorites. And, in fact, the lyrics to that tune are apt today:
Well, my time went so quickly
I went lickety-splitly out to my ol’ fifty-five
As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy
God knows I was feeling alive