Long Story Short: Age requires an evolving perspective

The radio started up when I cranked the car. I caught the last half of Terry Gross’ question for her guest. He was explaining how his father had gotten involved in his new movie project. He said something about Tom Hanks and then, “In my 31 years, I’ve learned…”

I didn’t know whom the radio host was speaking with, but clearly I had missed something. Tom Hanks couldn’t possibly have a 31-year-old son.

Someone else must be staring in a new film called The Great Buck Howard. I was on a mission to get to the bottom of this.

I listened closely.

She called him Colin. He began to tell the oft-told tale of wanting to achieve success on his own – and not rely too much on help from his dad.

Things weren’t adding up right, but as the interview continued, I started trying to do the math in my head.

Was it possible that Tom Hanks could have a 31-year-old son?

Tom Hanks was that youthful protégé dancing on a giant keyboard.

In order to have a 31-year-old child, you had to be older than Tom Hanks, right?


Turns out, Tom Hanks is 53 years old. He’s old enough to have a 31-year-old son.

Age is a funny thing – brought into evolving perspectives by the young and the old.

As the sun was shining earlier this week, my daughters went out to wash the car. I took full advantage of the quiet to plow through a book.

About 15 minutes later, someone knocked on the door. I could tell from where I was sitting the approximate height of the knock. I knew before I opened the door that the odds were high that I would find at least one soaking wet child on the other side.

I was right.

Piper, 7, was soaked from head to toe. Greer, 11, continued washing the car. I wrapped Piper up in a dry towel. We stood on our porch and watched Greer spray the last bubbles of soap off the car. She then walked up the steps and smiled at her younger sister, safely shrouded in a giant towel.

“I’m soaking wet, Greer. You didn’t get wet at all,” Piper said, as her sister passed.

Greer kept walking and replied nonchalantly.

“There comes a point in life, Piper, when you don’t want to get soaking wet from a cold water hose outside – in March.”

And she kept walking.

I was as stunned as I was when I realized Tom Hanks had a 31-year-old son.

I had a daughter old enough not to want to get wet in a water hose? This was the daughter who had never been able to resist a running hose since she could walk.

Soon thereafter, my parents arrived for a short visit and celebration. The occasion was my birthday.

They walked in the door, gave me a hug and said, “We can’t believe we have a 45-year-old daughter.”

Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, appears each Sunday. She can be reached at jan@janrisher.com.

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One thought on “Long Story Short: Age requires an evolving perspective”

  1. I love reading your articles on Sundays. Your attention to life’s little details never ceases to amaze me and always sparks some philosophical thinking on my part. I know I have a tendency to over analyze everything but I can’t help it. It’s something that I enjoy.

    Ironically, my sister and I were discussing this Saturday on our walk into the mall. She had told me that it was unfortunate because some of the things that she experienced as a child her daughter would never be able to experience. What was shocking or influential to us growing up will be boring and mundane to her daughter and her entire generation. It’s strange but just as the individual goes through some “evolving” process so does society as a whole. It adds to the profound magic of the individual, their perception, and the mystic concept of time.

    “With all the wisdom of a life time that no one will ever tell”-Rod Stewart.

    PS I missed your Birthday! I hope things went well!

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