Before her latest birthday, Christie Brinkley, the Bridgehampton supermodel, said she was about to turn "50 for the 17th time!"
Brinkley added the requisite "lol!" to her Instagram post — "laugh out loud!" — and photo of herself in Turks and Caicos wearing pale-blue tights and matching tank top.
Between the waistband of the tights and bottom hem of the tank top, there was only Christie Brinkley, taut and with a tan that surely must have delighted the local tourism office.
No question, Brinkley looked great for 67 or any other age — especially considering that she had just recovered from hip replacement surgery.
"I’m ready for anything," she said, according to a Newsday story. " … a hike, swim, dive, paddle, ride, ski." Even a hefty slab of birthday cake was not out of the question, Brinkley said. "Hey I can work it off!"
Let’s set aside the depressing notion that Christie Brinkley welcomes physical activity that might exhaust a Navy SEAL whereas you grunt and mutter when pulling on socks each morning and retreat to an easy chair after hefting the garbage to curbside.
Brinkley is the Bionic Woman reprogrammed for the 21st century. My circuitry remains the original from 1940. Hike, swim, dive, paddle, ride? Only at gunpoint. Ski? Tried it once. More than enough.
First run down the beginner’s slope, I headed for a tree of significant dimension. Essential skills related to speed and direction had not been mastered and there was little choice but to bail out.
Sprawled on the snow, I was approached by an accomplished and kindhearted skier. I would put his age at 8 or 9.
"You OK?" the youngster said, helping me to my feet.
"Quite all right, m’boy," I answered. "Think maybe I’ll walk down from here."
"Be careful," advised the good Samaritan, junior grade.
So it is not that I find the health regimen of Christie Brinkley in any way objectionable. I am only noting that, unlike hers, my particular workout routine is unworthy of exclamation points.
To be entirely fair, despite groans and complaints, I am more than a root vegetable.
I walk most days to the fire house — round trip about an hour. For years I did a few calisthenics recommended by the Royal Canadian Air Force and, even now, continue an elder flyboy’s version. Whenever possible, I put on my trousers while standing up and without grabbing something for support. I read somewhere that is a sign you may still have sufficient balance to be left on your own for the afternoon. As of today, I’m safe.
Whatever works for you — isn’t that the idea? Want to hike, swim, dive and paddle? By all means, go for it. Prefer binge watching, "The West Wing," or clip recipes you’ll never make from a pile of Martha Stewart magazines, or stare endlessly into the middle distance trying to judge the odds of the Mets making postseason play — hey, that’s OK, too. No sweat.
Yes, you can do it all, of course, and there are plenty of terrifyingly productive human beings who, after a day on the slopes, knock out 10 pages of a novel, put the finishing touches on a still-life watercolor, complete the border of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and throw together a pot of killer chipotle chili served with homemade tortillas, but most of us may be more inclined to sigh, find the wool comforter and slip for a while into blessed oblivion.
It is midwinter, when everything slows down, anyway. The pandemic — curse on its soul — is still very much around and if that doesn’t undermine your oomph, I don’t know what will.
"C’mon, better days ahead," said my wife after we — lucky and grateful — got our first vaccine shots at Jones Beach.
I can see her looking at me as I sigh and shake my head each night at our little table, eating late — 8:30 or 9 — to make the evening longer and delay until 10 our check of the news or start of streaming.
"Yup, getting there," I say, snapping out it.
I’ve celebrated 50 a lot more times than Christie Brinkley and know we should make the most of every moment. But let’s be real. While Christie is working up a sweat, I’ll be pacing myself and waiting, fork in hand, for a serious piece of cake.