Your RDA of Irony

The Ages of Man

You’re only as old as you think; but is everyone else as old as you imagined?

Have you ever wonder why Cyrano de Bergerac, for all his brilliance, acts like a hormone-mad teenager? Of course, you could rationalize that love makes us all goofy adolescents. You can spare yourself all that postulating: Cyrano happens to be 19 when the play begins.

How old was Hannibal at the start of his Punic War? No one over 30 would think of talking elephants across the Alps. If Hannibal had waited until he was 31, he would have looked for the best shipping rates.

How old was Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers.? Dumas, himself, teases the reader about it. Allowing for my paraphrase, the author says “You probably are thinking of Richelieu as the old invalid, the brilliant mind trapped in the crippled body. As a matter of fact, Richelieu now is only 37 and an excellent horseman, although he is starting to feel a slight stiffness in his legs.”

Imagine Adam Sandler as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof? No, I am not trying to justify Anti-Semitism. Although the role of Tevye would require more talent than Sandler possesses, the actor is not too young for the part. At the time of the musical’s setting, Tevye probably was in his late 30s or early 40s. Remember that a bar mitzvah used to be literal; at 13, one was expected to be an adult. Tevye–assuming that he was physically functional and not unusually repugnant–would have been married by his mid-teens and a father well before he was 20.

But if Hollywood is planning to make a movie of Das Kapital, volume 1, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are about the right age to play Marx and Engels.

p.s.  Let’s not forget the historic significance of this day:

  1. Rafferty Barnes says:

    And Lady Capulet was 25, at most. So not only am I too old to be Juliet, I’m too old to be her mother!

    • Eugene Finerman says:


      With the standards of cable television, you now can play a hermaphroditic Friar Lawrence. I hope that you won’t mind the nude scenes with both Romeo and Juliet.

      Your Agent Eugene

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