Old Heroes Never Die...Damn Them

Reading has always been my friend. Back in high school I devoured anything in print. And a few books...very few...struck a chord.

"That's what I've been trying to say. That's it! That's what's wrong with society...damn."

The heroes of these books were Titans, gods, and incalculably Yoda-like in both wisdom and age.

But book characters never grow old. And I do. I'll turn thirty-nine in May, and I realized, much to my horror, that I'm now older than almost all my literary idols.

*Dave Lister (25) and Arnold Rimmer (31), from the Red Dwarf books:

I suppose I could add three million years to each of their ages, but still...

These two bumbling space adventures were the archetypes of the dudes who would never amount to anything; Lister for lack of ambition and Rimmer for lack of talent. Still, they managed to travel the galaxy and meet girls...and then, one day, I'm suddenly a lot older than both of them.

*John Yossarian (28) from Catch-22:

This shirking World War II bombardier had but one mission, which was to stay alive. He could care less where the bombs landed, he just wanted to come home in one piece.

He even describes himself as old, unable to relate to the younger troops, 'a broken-down old man of twenty-eight.'

And he's ten years younger than me.

*Randle Patrick McMurphy (35) from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Everyone's favorite nutcase and Christ figure, the hero in the ultimate sock-it-to-the-man book. Lobotomized at thirty-five. Hell, I've never even had electroshock treatment.

*Winston Smith (39) Nineteen Eighty Four

The faceless rebel and government employee, an everyman for all us frustrated cogs. I'll be as old as him this  year.

*Arthur Dent, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I think he was about forty. And I still don't know where my towel is.

It's just going to get worse. My heroes stay forever young, forever wise, and forever imperfectly wonderful. And I'm just getting older.

Damn them.

Oh, and check out my new book, coming out in March:


  1. Shoot. The guy from 1984 was only 39? Now THAT makes me feel old. I don't know why. Maybe because I read that book in 1984. When I was 16. Sigh.

  2. Well now you've depressed me too. Thanks! I'll be 38 this summer, and I can't believe I'm as old or older than all those characters. Geez. All of them seemed so old when I read those books!


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