All my life I've wanted to look older. Now it seems I have at last succeeded. Twice in the past week, the children who nowadays sell tickets to museums and movies have asked me if I wanted the senior citizen discount. And last night, as my companion and I were walking home from a movie ("Russian Ark," since you ask), some stranger called out, "That's right, Pops. Take care of the lady."

I don't mind the years -- experience is a growing treasure. I do though want to retard the other effects of aging, the ones that could keep me from further interesting experiences. Coloring my beard is obviously not sufficient. So I rely on two techniques: physical exercise, to keep the machinery going, and fiction. To have the most exciting experiences imaginable, all I have to do is imagine them. And while I'm doing it, it doesn't really matter what I look like to people on the outside.

But I think maybe I will try again to color my beard. No point in provoking the ignorant young whippersnappers.