For comedian Robert Klein, there's nothing golden about the "golden years". "I think it's a crock," he says frankly. "My parents lived to be 77 and 82, and there was nothing attractive about it."
Jerry Seinfeld called Klein "one the funniest, most intelligent, coolest comedians around." Among other things, Klein's made hundreds of appearances on the Tonight Show and Letterman, has had several one-man shows on HBO, and a steady acting career. Klein is now 65 and knows something about the maturing process. "Aging is a definite disadvantage of aging."
Ever honest, Klein admits to aspects of aging that he didn't quite expect. (He also admits that he's looking more and more like Benjamin Franklin.) He's more cautious with physical endeavors. And it's getting harder to bend over to pick up paper clips. But he also thinks he's getting better at what he does.
To be sure, Klein is part of a generation of people who are holding on to their youth longer and longer. Marketing tells us that everything associated with aging can be combated. There are facelifts to be had, the term "senior citizen" is fading fast - and then there's Viagra. Klein points out that Viagra was first tested as a heart drug, and researchers realized its benefits were being felt elsewhere. "At the end of the study, you had these people with terrible angina pains, and the erections of their lives!"
Klein has recently published his first book, The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue, a memoir of growing up in the '50s and '60s. On his 65th birthday, he realized a long-held dream. His girlfriend arranged for him to drive an 18-wheeler. "And I drove that sucker!" Never too late, indeed.