My blog title is a reference to a great baseball flick series from 2001—61*. It’s about New York Yankee, Roger Maras on his quest to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record. Maras, played by Barry Pepper, (who incidentally I would cast as my husband if he ever gets a biopic) confronts criticism and outright hostility as he slowly, and almost reluctantly edges out fan favorite, Micky Mantle. The all-important asterisk is a reference to the fact that Maras did not beat Babe Ruth in the same number of games. By 1961, the baseball season had become longer, so Maras’ achievement is qualified because he had more games than Ruth to smash the record. So instead of an unquestionable distinction in baseball history, Maras gets a disclaimer.
Alas, my 51* has nothing to do with home run records or rivalry in the dugout. Today I’m 51 years old. This one is big. I don’t usually make a big deal about birthdays. Most people fixate on 50 and I certainly did some of that. This year, however, comes with a whole lot more baggage, hence the asterisk. It’s an age that while seemingly surreal and out of touch for me—there’s no way I’m that old—also feels as if it’s been with me all along, eerily present and the number I’ve been chasing for decades now.
My mom was 51 when she died. I was 22. I’ve finally reached the age when her brilliant light went out.