In the Fourth Quarter by Graeme Hunter

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In the Fourth Quarter

Graeme Hunter on Making the Grades in Longevity & Life

Seventy-five! In the days before grade inflation, that was a significant number. Teachers were slow to bestow it. Students were therefore thrilled to receive it. Seventy-five was the point of entry into the B range. Receiving that mark was something like arriving in the upper middle class. We were not aristocrats but we could sometimes rub shoulders with them on an almost equal footing. We fell short of genius, but we had a mark we could be proud of, and we could dream of someday achieving an A.

Something analogous is true when we turn 75. We have escaped fatal birth defects, germs, viruses, accidents, acts of violence, wars, and other evils that lurk on the byways of death. And having exercised this skill for so long awakens in us the hope of getting an A in longevity.

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Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).

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