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Missed Opportunities
About this time 12 years ago, Lucille and I were on our way home from  my 82nd Fighter Squadron Reunion held in Orlando, FL.  It was about 10 a.m. when we found ourselves in downtown Birmingham, AL at a small cafe ordering a late morning breakfast.

The only other occupant at that morning hour was a pleasant-looking gentleman sitting at a table by himself as far as I could see, he looked to be in his middle-to-late 30s, and he had a nearly-full bottle of Miller's High Life in front of him.

Lucille and I ordered our usual eggs over medium with toast and coffee.  As we began a leisurely breakfast, we heard a conversation at the nearby table.  I glanced over that way and all I could see was the gentleman sitting by himself.  He would take a small
sip of his beer, turn to his (to me, invisible) companion, and carry on a pleasant conversation. Evidently, his unseen companion was in agreement with whatever was said, for he would nod, listen attentively to his companion's response, take another sip of beer, and resume his conversation where he left off.  At least it was nice to observe that whatever the topic of their conversation might have been, it seemed they were in perfect accord. After we finished our breakfast (while Lucille went to the restroom), I walked over and introduced myself to the gentleman. Here was his story:
"Well," he said, "I am in my middle thirties, and I am retired. I may have retired a little early. I drink a little beer, and then I do have a project I am working on."

"Well, you have managed your business better than I,"
I said. "I am in my 7Os, and I have not been able to retire."

"Well," he responded, "that is just the project we are working on. My partner and I are working on reversing the aging process, and I hope the time will come when you are in your 30s again instead of' in your 70s."

"I'll drink to that,"
I said. I then grabbed Lucille, paid our bill, and told her as we got out of there, "That fellow's pot is badly cracked." 
I think I would have felt better had he introduced me to his companion.  But now it is very much in the news that the medical profession is actually on the verge of reversing or halting the aging process, and I told Lucille recently that I should have gotten his name and telephone number. We had met a medical genius and his silent partner and let a golden opportunity slip through our fingers.



Printed in The MESSENGER magazine, Jan/Feb 1998