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Etc.: 50
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I guess I am required to point out that on June 3, 1965, astronaut Edward White made the first U.S. spacewalk from the Gemini 4 spacecraft.

(Astronaut White was not Platteville’s own Ed White. The astronaut died in a launch-pad accident in 1967.)

Also on June 3, 1965, bodybuilder Suzan Kaminga, actor Jeff Blumenkrantz, and Phish singer and bass player Mike Gordon were born. My parents probably don’t know who Kaminga, Blumenkrantz or Gordon are, but they do remember the spacewalk. TV coverage of the spacewalk was shown in the only room on the floor at St. Marys Hospital in Madison that had a TV. That was my mother’s room for the birth of the editor of your favorite weekly newspaper.

Most people will say that all births are blessed events. My parents had an additional reason for saying that. I am my parents’ second son. Their first was my older brother, who died of a brain tumor 14 months earlier. (But you knew that because that was included in my second Etc. column three years ago.) Parents should not have to bury their children, and in such an instance parents who suddenly have no living children probably wonder if they’ll ever have children again.

Fifty years later, I cannot say I enjoy the prospect of turning a half-century old, though it is better than the alternative. The most accurate social media meme probably is the one that says that inside an older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened. 

The half-century mark includes physiological changes one wouldn’t choose to have — thinning hair, chronic pain and soreness in various places, body parts that don’t work as well anymore, and so on. By now, we middle-aged learn that change is not necessarily progress, or put another way, change is inevitable, but positive change is not. Those younger than me reading this might as well learn now that your life is probably not going to turn out the way you’d like it to turn out, though someone else always has things worse than you do. It would be great if you could go through your life not caring about what other people think of you, except that you do have to care about the opinions of at least two groups — (1) your employers and (2) if you’re in business, your customers. As John F. Kennedy said, life is not fair.

Birthdays or anniversaries during the week are bad for celebrating anyway. But what do I know? I wrote this before I turned 50, which takes place today at 10:03 p.m.