Rich Galen

At the radio station I wrote a daily commentary. Those scripts have long-since disappeared, but having to write a 300 word essay in between getting finished with the seven-thirty newscast and calling the police station for the previous night's traffic accident report five mornings a week has stood me in good stead to be able to write these 750-word essays three days a week since 1998.

When I was 39 I was diagnosed with cardiac artery disease. Over the next 13 years medical science kept me going until I underwent cardiac bypass surgery at 52. The docs wanted to wait until I was in my 50s so they would only have to do the grafts once. It's been 13 years and the arteries continue to do their job. That experience has stood me in good stead because I realized I had been given a second chance and I've tried to make the most of it.

The world has changed dramatically in my lifetime. In spite of Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iraq again - not to mention the dozens of what are called "minor" military adventures - for most of my life, the term "Post-war" referred only to the period following World War II.

As someone smarter than I once pointed out, the American economy changed forever, not when women entered the workforce as a matter of personal choice; but when a majority of American men began showering before they went to work at the office; not after they came home from work in the factory.

When I was 10, Mickey Mantle won the Triple Crown (leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in) and the Major League Baseball season was only 154 games (not the 162 they play today) because there were only sixteen teams not the 30 we have today.

I remember looking up from the soccer field at New Hyde Park Memorial Junior-Senior High School on Long Island and seeing my first passenger jet pass overhead, having taken off from nearby Idlewild Airport - now JFK.

In 1967 a group named the "Lovin' Spoonful" had a hit song "My Darling be Home Soon." A line read: "And now; a quarter of my life has almost passed …"

Now, at 65, I might have a quarter of my life left, but I don't fret about that. Turning 65 hasn't been all that big a deal.

Until last Thursday.

When I had to apply for Medicare.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.