R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. wishes former President Clinton a happy 60th birthday. Clinton apparently is celebrating his birthday like he does everything else — in excess. Tyrrell reports that, having celebrated “the blessed day of his birth” with family and friends at Martha’s Vineyard, he observed the event the following day at a friend’s vacation home where Carly Simon (not quite Marilyn Monroe, but a better singer) crooned “Happy Birthday.”
Now Clinton is taking his birthday on the road:
Early in September he will be celebrating his August 19 nativity in Toronto. On October 29 he will be in New York, and the Rolling Stones will be there to sing “Happy Birthday” along with other Clinton favorites. Our 42nd president will be combining the celebration of himself with fundraising. This is an innovation in narcissism, but then Clinton and like-minded members of his 1960s generation have been innovative narcissists for decades.
But the partying cannot overcome Clinton’s unhappiness about aging. Indeed, Clinton confides that he “hates” being 60. He notes that “for most of my working life, I was the youngest person doing whatever I was doing…in the room.” Tyrrell corrects this claim –“maybe he was the youngest of the men in the room; the public record suggests that the women in the room were often much younger.”
UPDATE: Tyrrell goes on to contrast Clinton’s take on turning 60 with that President Bush, who seems unperturbed. Tyrrell argues that Bush’s view reflects that of most baby boomers, and suggests that the two outlooks — Clinton’s and Bush’s — are symptomatic of the intergenerational warfare that’s been waged since the 1960s.
I fear that, on the issue of becoming 60, I may turn out to be more in line with Clinton and the rest of the narcissists. And I won’t even have the excuse of a lifetime of being the youngest guy in the room.