As my uncle described it recently, I am still looking at the grass “from the top side down.”

Barely, it turns out.

Last night I started reading a news story about the connection between weight loss and pets, from there I ended up at a web site called Real Age.

If you like bad news or just feel like tempting fate, you should pay the site a visit. The sadists at Real Age will ask you a series of questions about your health, your lifestyle, your family history. At the end of the process they will compare your chronological age with your “real age.”

In my case, although I am barely 29, Real Age said I was dead. It was hard to tell whether it was the two packs of Marlboros I smoked every day for 20 years (I gave them up 14 years ago), the family heart history, or my political leanings. In this country, being a Democrat automatically takes 15 years off your life expectancy. (Just imagine the impact of Bush’s second term on YOUR blood pressure.)

The more salient lesson from Real Age is that wherever we go, our past goes with us. There’s always that moment at the end of a game when you have to pay up. Life is like that. We take chances, we waste too much time doing what we don’t want to do, or we do too much of what we want to do but shouldn’t. All the while, some green-eyed accountant in our psyche is keeping score. And just when you think you have a few more chips to play, he calls you in. Game over. Finis. Adios.

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