Recently reread Harriet the Spy, one of my all-time favorite books, and I had to laugh when I got to the part where Harriet’s spying on Mrs. Plumber through the dumbwaiter, and, overhearing her idiotic musings about deciding on a profession from her overstuffed bed, thinks, You must be a hundred and two, you better get going. A page later, Mrs. Plumber says, “Well, darling, I’m only forty, think of Gauguin.” You know, back in the day, that phrase slid right by me.

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