Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Your Life Expectancy

In recent years I have noticed that when something leaps to mind there is no logical reason for it doing so. For example, there is no satisfactory explanation as to why I suddenly thought about life expectancies this morning. Could it be because I have outlived quite a few of them?
Like so many things, my total lack of interest in life expectancy dates back to World War II. Shortly after it ended in Europe a large number of infantrymen were assembled in a room, always a bad sign because the news is never good under such circumstances. Sure enough, a grim-faced doctor told us that anyone who had been in infantry combat for a few months or longer would have 15 years deducted from his life expectancy of 72 years. This, he said, was owing to an extremely poor diet, sleep deprivation, having slept on wet and cold ground all that time and, above all, extreme stress on the nervous system.
I couldn't argue with a single item on the list, although he hadn't mentioned being downright filthy all the time. Anyway, as I was only 19 the idea of living until I was 57 didn't seem like too bad a deal. After all, for a considerable length of time in the recent past there had, when I opened a Breakfast K-ration, seemed little prospect of making it to supper time.
So the years slipped quickly by without me giving a single thought to that gathering in the spring of 1945. Then one day when I was typing a story the wire editor walked over and dropped a sheet of paper on my desk. "This might interest you," he said. "I'm not going to run it." After reading the Associated Press story I doubted a single paper in the country would run it unless they were desperate for something to fill white space. Briefly, it said the number had been reduced from 15 to 8. As I was 56 at the time that meant I was good for eight more years when I would hit 64.
One day when I was 66 or 67 I realized I had passed another milestone a few years earlier. Then on my 73rd birthday I was aware I had lived past the original time allotted to me.
So when it came to mind today I Googled "life expectancy." To my surprise there were various figures for American males. There was 74 and 77 and one story that claimed it had slipped to 69.3.
Not a word, though, about someone only a few months shy of his 83rd birthday. Does that mean I have no life expectancy whatsoever? I don't know and don't care because all these years I have still wondered when I wake up in the morning if I'll make it to supper time.


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