Ten Minutes Under Water with Spiro Agnew

Dear friends,
Happy post-Halloween, or Happy early-Thanksgiving. You choose.
We got a lot of trick-or-treaters this year, and they picked us clean of all our best candy. All we have left are the dregs, which I would have tossed right in the trash if I had any self-respect. Alas, as I write this I am eating off-brand treats, like the unlovable Zagnut bars, which are essentially Butterfingers, but covered in sawdust instead of chocolate. Or jaw-breakers, which have the consistency of billiard balls and are named in honor of actual physical harm. You have to wonder about the marketing team that came up with that one. “OK guys, we’re down to two names: jaw-breakers or airway-blockers.”
But enough on that. In happier news, last Sunday, Mrs. B and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. As she likes to note, it has felt like 10 minutes…under water. Ba-dum-bum. (She’ll be here all week, folks. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.)
For our anniversary, we spent three days in Chatham, Massachusetts, which is on the “elbow” of Cape Cod. Here’s a disturbing picture of me in a tank top, taken on the terrace of the cottage we rented. At the moment we snapped this picture, Mrs. B was saying, “You’re not going to put this in your newsletter, are you?” I assured her that I wouldn’t.
Chatham, Massachusetts is known for its concentration of Great White Sharks, who feast on the local seals. They post signs to warn bathers of this, although I’m not exactly sure what the objective is. Perhaps it's to keep people from going out swimming in seal suits. Or maybe it’s just knowledge for knowledge's sake. “I’m about to get eaten by a shark,” says a swimmer in his final moments, “but on the bright side, I know what species it is because I read the sign!”
I was shocked to see the cavalier vandalism of this warning sign at the beach. A mustache on the Great White? No doubt this is the work of some gang of delinquent teenaged seals.
Thirty-one years married is making us feel a little old, and we are indeed starting to get within spitting distance of 60. I don’t yet have the urge to bring up bunions and acid reflux in conversation, but other “old guy” things are creeping into my tastes. For example, the other day when on the road in San Antonio for a speech, I realized that I had forgotten my black socks. With no time to lose, I ran out to the local CVS, where I found a pair of copper-treated, knee-high compression socks–exactly what you’d hope for, I guess, if you regularly do your clothes shopping at a drugstore. With no other choice, I made the purchase, ran back to my room, and put them on. Later that night back in Boston as I was recounting the experience to Mrs. B, I had to admit that my feet felt dry, and my calves were fresh even after a long day.
The socks in question. I will be wearing them again.
But enough about the old folks. The younger Brookses are all doing well. The Baby has finished her midterms in fine style over in Pamplona, the Heir and Mrs. B2 are celebrating their 4-month wedding anniversary (it feels like 10 minutes, no doubt), and CPL Mini-me is living the dream as a Marine sniper. To be sure, this is very different from my dreams, which involve lecturing naked about non-Euclidian geometry to Kaiser Wilhelm, who turns out to be Spiro Agnew. I need to stop eating before bed.
It’s funny how life turns out. If ten years ago you had told me that my son at age 22 would be spending his time hiding in the bushes, I would have said we have a BIG problem on our hands. But that’s exactly what he’s doing, and I’m proud to see it. Context matters.

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