January 5, 2011: Just a number?

Time to Settle Accounts

January 5, 2011: Just a number?

I was standing on the platform on the Damen Blue Line when a man approached and asked me if he could ask me a question.

“Sure,” I said.

“Do you know that show King of Queens?” he asked.

“I know it,” I said. “Never seen it.”

The man was older than me, early 40s, dressed for the office with a magazine under his arm and a to-go coffee. “Well, you know the dad?”

“Jerry Stiller.”

“Is that Ben Stiller’s father?”

“Yes,” I said.

The man clapped his hands together in victory. “I knew it! You just won me some money.”

“That so?”

“We got into it at the office. Nobody believed that Jerry Stiller was Ben Stiller’s father. They thought the ages were too close.” He took a sip of his coffee, steam rising from the top and from his breath. “Jerry Stiller’s probably, what, 70?” he said.

“At least,” I said. “And Ben Stiller’s probably in his 40s.”

“That makes sense.”

We looked down the tracks. No train. The wind was blowing fierce across the platform, a frosty January wind. He put his hands in his pockets as I blew on mine.

“People forget about aging,” the man said. “Everybody gets older.”

“I’m approaching 30, yet I’m surprised when Jay-Z turns 40.”

“Uh huh,” the man said.

“And Ben Stiller couldn’t have been much more than 30 when he made Something About Mary, and that was 13, 14 years ago,” I said.

The man took the magazine out from under his arm. It was a recent copy of XXL, with Dr. Dre on the cover. “I mean, look at Dre. Dre looks good, and he’s older than Jay. 45, 46. He’s my age.”

“Work keeps you young, right?” I said.

The train was pulling in. The man placed the magazine back under his arm and prepared to board. “Celebrity keeps you young,” he said. “Must be the money.”

NEXT: Back to it. (1.7.11)

PREVIOUS: Let them eat digital cake. (1.4.11)

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