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Counting the Years

From the Evening Star, August 2, 1913. By Walt Mason.

The years shouldn’t count when we’re stating our age, for some men are young when they’re gray, and others are old ere they’ve journeyed a stage in this world and its wonderful way. I know an old graybeard who ought to be dead if years laid a man by the heels; he cheerfully sings as he stands on his head, “A man’s just as old as he feels.” The years do not age us so badly, in truth; it’s worry that makes the blood cold; the man who is blessed with the spirit of youth is young when a hundred years old. The graybeard I wot of, he laughs and he yells and dances Virginia reels, and always and ever his roundelay swells, “A man’s just as old as he feels.” No man should admit that his days are near told, or talk of the past with a sob; no man should admit that he’s growing too old to eat summer corn from the cob. The graybeard I speak of, he’s slicker than grease, he cheers up the world with his spiels; he says (and his words suggest comfort and peace), “A man’s just as old as he feels.” I know a young man who is thirty or less, in years, but he’s old as the hills; he goes around looking for grief and distress, and talks by the day of his ills. The graybeard, God bless him, is younger than that! He ne’er at the wailing place kneels; he chortles, while kicking a hole through his hat, “A man’s just as old as he feels!”

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