This Old Man

Angell, Roger

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Essay

Annotated by:
Kohn, Martin
  • Date of entry: Aug-18-2014


Roger Angell, longtime sports writer, senior editor and staff writer for the New Yorker, and a recent inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame, gives us a deeply revelatory tour of old age in "This Old Man." Perhaps a lighthouse beam more accurately describes what his thoughts/scenes provide those of us who are younger some much younger, since Angell is 93 years old at the time of the essay's publication who are following him to the shores of old age. Through his words and images he provides brilliant flashes of the present, the near past and distant past, allowing us to see, feel and experience virtually his journey to becoming an "elder" (which he playfully places "halfway between a tree and an eel"). Most revealing are his thoughts on his relationship with his failing body, with memory intrusions ("What I've come to count on is the white-coated attendant of memory, silently here again to deliver dabs from the laboratory dish of me"), with being invisible, and with the still powerful need for intimacy, love and attachment.


Procrastination sometimes has its rewards. This essay has been sitting on my desk for over five months waiting patiently for its annotation. I remembered it fondly, but needed to reread it for more details. What a joy it was for this essay may be the finest one on aging/old age that I've ever read.

Primary Source

The New Yorker


The New Yorker Magazine

Place Published

New York


February 17, 2014

Page Count