Good morning. A week or two ago I confessed on these pages to have been for several months, a closet nonagenarian. Aren’t you surprised?

To make matters worse, I was surprised to discover how few of you even cared.

Well, we are the oldest state in America. Where else would I be, for pity’s sake?

Surely those trailer parks in Naples, Florida, must be crawling with them.

So here I am at 90 years of age and looking 56, not because God forgot to collect me, or that I’m lucky. I’m here because I have my mother’s hair, eyes, good skin, her temper and genes.

Genes. That’s the secret.


I’m a retired 55-year member of the Screen Actors Guild’s list of survivors that includes many nonagenarians like:

• Mel Brooks, who is 96
• Clint Eastwood, 92
• Bill Shatner, 92
• Robert Wagner and Bob Newhart, both 93

That means we nonagenarians are older than the president of the United States. Lordy!

At one time or another, we all lived in or around Beverly Hills, where everyone drinks bottled Fiji water with lunch.

My mom — an unknown nonagenarian — passed at 95.

Mom had great genes, and luckily, I inherited them along with her good looks. That’s the secret.


Nonagenarian exercise? I get my own trash down my 2-mile driveway to the street each week, shop four days a week, do all the housework and cooking, and still write two columns a week.

She, who inherited her mother’s arthritis, has reluctantly passed the house duties to me.

I stopped going to Planet Fitness. Lifting weights was so boring and everyone was so sweaty.

And is there a dress code? If it’s white socks with sensible black shoes and bolo ties, count me out, brother. I’m not giving up my 14 Polo hoodies and tie-dyed sneakers.

She suggested that I might interview some other nonagenarians. There have to be more nonagenarians around in America’s oldest state than me.

Are there places where nonagenarians hang out, like at the Rotary Club meetings? Do I really want to go there?


Are there nonagenarian bars, like gay bars? Probably in Portland or Freeport — not Waterville.

I grew more curious. Is there a secret handshake, a password? Is there an app for nonagenarians?

Do nonagenarians even know what an app is? Out there in the woods, do they even know what a nonagenarian is, and that they themselves are nonagenarian?

More importantly: Is there a nonagenarian manual I should have?

I have a manual for everything I own: my laptops, phone, dishwasher and the bidet in the new toilet. There has to be a manual for nonagenarian bidets. It would come as a shock not to have a bidet manual.

For the record: I’m happily married to the same nice girl who doesn’t care that I’m a nonagenarian.


She recently told me that she’s an octogenarian. I didn’t know that she knew that. It goes to show you that you can be married for 62 years to the same woman and never know she’s an octogenarian.

I’m fine and in perfect health and nothing has changed. I look the same: same hair, same collection of colored masks. I have a $100 gift card to Starbucks in Waterville in case they ever open again.

Let me know if any of you know the password for

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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