Big Five-Oh!

Big Five-Oh!

by William Geist

Bill Geist's hilarious book describes his personal struggle with the awful aging process and with the monumental milestone called the Big Five-Oh. From the trauma of receiving an application to join the AARP to the realization that he can't really see the menu, hear the waiter, or remember the specials, Geist catalogs the discontents, large and small, of those

…  See more details below


Bill Geist's hilarious book describes his personal struggle with the awful aging process and with the monumental milestone called the Big Five-Oh. From the trauma of receiving an application to join the AARP to the realization that he can't really see the menu, hear the waiter, or remember the specials, Geist catalogs the discontents, large and small, of those approaching and passing fifty. He lies about his age, shops for a Harley, buys an Ab-Roller, receives liposuction counseling, finds himself the oldest guy at a rock concert, catches himself paying attention to a Depends commercial, buys "relaxed fit" jeans, falls asleep at a party, wakes up from a nightmare about college tuition, and damn near buys a Cadillac!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
CBS commentator Geist (Little League Confidential) here collects his essays, some of which appeared in the New York Times and New York magazine. The topic of becoming middle-aged is not a new one for humorists, and Geist begins inauspiciously by touching on such subjects as failing memory, pot bellies, impaired vision and lack of physical vigor, none of them particularly amusing despite Geist's witty style. But then he turns to more personal material like his attempt to recapture his youth at a Rolling Stones concert, his search for with-it jeans that will fit a pear-shaped male, pajama parties where the only thing the middle-aged participants do is sleep, health clubs that strike him as S&M temples and his plan to get exercise via the pastime of sportsitting. A few compensations of being 50 are mentioned, but these offer Geist minor reassurance, for, as he puts it, "Who cares if the glass is half empty or half full when your teeth are in it?" (Sept.)
Library Journal
The chief impression left in one's mind by this collection of 51 essays by the regular commentator for the CBS Evening News and CBS's Sunday Morning is that, if one can, one should avoid ever turning 50. All manner of calamities and perturbations beset the unwary and unsuspecting malecrow's feet, erectile dysfunction, adult diapers, whether to wear one's belt over or under the gut, turning Republican, and, of course, being AARP'd. Safe sex means keeping oxygen tanks and nitroglycerin pills close by one's bed. And for women, according to the author's wife, the big five-o means mammograms, eyebags, estrogen therapy, and flash management. Geist dons the jester's cap with the deliberate intent of bringing forth smiles, laughter, and howls, and frequently he succeeds; but one is aware now and then of the grinding of mental wheels. The book contains a number of clinkers, but fortunately there are more than enough nuggets to keep the reader pushing onward. For larger humor collections.A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
The 50-year-old Baby Boomers are coming! Eleven thousand a day, one every seven-and-a-half seconds for the next decade, they will reach that midlife landmark. Having done so himself, CBS commentator Geist (Monster Trucks and Hair-in-a-Can, 1994, etc.) offers his take on the apparently unexpected phenomenon of growing older.

It's the startling receipt of an AARP membership card that initiates the author's comical ruminations about his condition. He covers aging—the humorist's classic material—in something life 50 short checklists and brief essays. Among Geist's complaints: He's contracted CRS, or "Can't Remember Shit" (his case seems confirmed by the repetition of a few favorite gags). He wants to wear a name tag for his own edification. His bawdy reportage segues to narcoleptic parties, maturing kids, health spas, trifocals, the music of John Tesh, incontinence, and the grand opening of a funeral home (where guests nibbled on finger sandwiches "from the caterer, not the back room"). With particular attention to urology and his (or anybody's) libido, Geist seems to aspire to the post of Dirty Old Man, which is okay if it's funny. Happily, most of the time it is, with just an occasional lapse. Make what you will of his sex advisory: "Just Keep It to Yourself. At this point why drag others into this ugly business?" For the ladies, he has a few comments on Premarin and the fitting of fiftysomethings into bathing suits. Geist, of course, has an attitude: Gail Sheehy, he has concluded, is full of that stuff he can't remember (see "CRS").

He covers his subject with an acerbic wit that occasionally calls for a large dose of Maalox. If the AARP card so affected Geist's spirit, what will happen when his Medicare card comes 'round? Still, this is way funnier than Modern Maturity.

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

50 Ways to Tell You're 50

1. Test-drive Cadillac
2. Have to "double pump" to get out of taxicab
3. Longer recovery time between orgasms (six weeks at VA Hospital)
4. Never heard of Grammy winners
5. Make grunting sounds putting on socks
6. Drop Playboy Channel, pick up Food Network
7. Attend menopause awareness seminars to meet chicks (men)
8. Able to periodically defrost Hungry-Man Double Entree TV dinner with bare hands (women)
9. Take three tries to call own kids by correct names
10. Switch from frozen margaritas to Sustacal and vodka
11. Can't read menu
12. Can't hear specials
13. Couldn't remember them even if you could
14. Now play air guitar only to "unplugged" records
15. Can't buy CDs because don't know how to open them
16. Fight with toddlers over last disposable diaper in box
17. Ear hair
18. Aquacize
19. Can't see squat (eyesight's failing)
20. Can't see dick (literally)
21. Mall walk
22. Can't recall last sex act (and there was no second party to ask)
23. Aroused only by buffets
24. Wear name tag as much for yourself as for others
25. Support no-fault farting candidates
26. Canvassers signing you up for organ donor program ask, "Mind if we wait?"
27. Let out pants on the first of every month
28. Can't stay up for Letterman/Leno (and wouldn't know Conan if you saw him on the street)
29. Can't tape them; don't know how
30. Must put some of your birthday candles on side of cake
31. Camp overnight at Tower Records for new Tesh release
32. Dig barbershop quartets
33. See withered old codger on street and realize he was one year ahead of you in school
34. Leave turn signalon
35. Forget to zip up
36. Forget to zip down
37. Go to movies you forgot you've already seen (but it doesn't make any difference)
38. Branson vacation
39. Enjoy CBS programming
40. Annual medical checkup beginning to sound like Don Rickles' act (e.g., doctor asks if you'd like a sonogram)
41. Obsessive-compulsive reminiscing
42. ``I'd Rather Be Square Dancing'' Bumper sticker (on your RV)
43. Habitually "off-line"
44. Clip "get acquainted" coupon for early-bird special
45. Say "Eh?" and "Huh?" a lot
46. New nickname "Twinplex" (ass is getting so big they couldshow movies on each half)
47. Fall asleep (rather than pass out) at parties
48. Hangovers last longer than three-day flu
49. Have nightmare you're on a bus to Atlantic City with white-haired folks holding complimentary rolls of nickels
50. Stop flipping motorists the bird—and they start flipping it to you

Copyright ) 1997 by Bill Geist.

Read More

Meet the Author

Bill Geist wrote the "About New York" column for The New York Times before moving to CBS, where he is a regular commentator for "Sunday Morning" and "The CBS Evening News." He has written several books, including the best-selling Little League Confidential.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >