Is anything more annoying than a young person complaining about age? I promise to control myself.
Growing up, I read a lot of Bill James, the bearded baseball wizard who revitalized baseball in the 80s and 90s through his unique statistical approach. One of the nuggets of information he uncovered was that baseball players tend to peak at age 27.
Statistics gradually improve from 18 to 24, until somewhere between 25 and 29 (often 27), a player will have his best season, his career year. From then on, skills and stats regress. This is good to know: a team that understands this general trend of player performance should be less likely to overpay someone about to enter the twilight of his career.
Now obviously this analysis is rather specific to sports, dependent as they are on strength and quickness. In most (though not all) fields, years, even decades, of experience are an asset.
But remember, at the time, I was a 12-year-old ninth grader, averse to aging and used to being the youngest person in the room. So 27 — distant 27 — became internalized for me as the peak year, on the back end of a series of numerical waystations:
16 — graduate from high school
18 — gain right to vote
20 — graduate from college
27 — reach my apex
35 — gain Presidential eligibility
100 — die, preferably after eating pizza
Before 27, you see, I could not be old — even when it seemed unimaginably far-off — because age 27 was when baseball players were at their best. But now, today, the very minute this article went up, I turned 28. So let the long slide into obsolescence begin. Or, perhaps more correctly, continue.
In defending the celebration of Christmas, Samuel Johnson pointed out that “there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.” Birthdays are a peculiarly perfect time to consider the events of a year, of a life. And since what I do at work all day is confidential, most of what I can show you from the last two years of my life is right here.
Now I don’t think I peaked in much of anything at 27, with the likely exception of Wii tennis. And I know from experience that I will look back at this year and rue my foolishness and error, think of all the things that should have turned out differently. But I also know that for the rest of my life, I will think fondly of these last two years for the experience we have shared here.
It has been a profound honor and an actual privilege to serve among this entertaining and talented group of writers, and to be read by such a kind and discerning audience. Thank you all. I certainly have not loved every minute of it, but I have loved most. And trust me, that’s worth a lot.
And so we will say goodbye this weekend, after two years, 89 clashes, 76 Bible discussions, 70-some Councils, about 60 Chick tracts, countless articles, jokes, and quotes, and — above all — immense and honest gratitude for any time you have spent with us. Everything here will remain, but for the foreseeable future, nothing new will be added. For a while, I’ll be satisfied re-reading it.
I don’t know what will come next, but I’m sure that — before too long — you’ll be able to hear from me again. Of course that assumes that you want to! If you were here for David, or Job, or Connie, or Chloe, or Josh, or Djere, or Kaitlin, or Tom, or Mike, or MCB, or Erin, I don’t blame you! Honestly, I was too.
But yes, I’ll be around, somewhere.
After all, I’ve got another 72 years before I finish that pizza.