The Big Five-Oh! Or, Read and Watch Anything Bill Geist Does

I’ve watched CBS News Sunday Morning ever since its first show in 1979. I love everything about it, but I especially enjoy Bill Geist’s segments. I love his humor! Oddly, the episodes I’m recalling as I write this have to do with the ironing Olympics and the one below, where Geist and his wife Jody got their first dog, Daphne, in 2009. The video is below. In recent times, Geist gave a very moving tribute to his mother-in-law, Edi. He has often shared stories about his family as well as offbeat stories of real people from small-town America.

Anyway, a long time ago, I found his book The Big Five-Oh! I decided right then that when I turned 50 (which, by the way, was yesterday, August 25th) that I would read the book as research. I have in fact, been feeling down for other reasons, so I thought a little humor would be in order. Well, I opened the book…

Chuckle. Chuckle, Snort. Snicker, snicker, snicker. Guffaw. (I put my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t laugh too loudly; good thing I didn’t start reading in the library!) I shook from head to foot with suppressed laughter. Once or twice, my aunt asked if I was okay. My PCAs were just glad I was enjoying it so much. Read it and you’ll see. Humor is subjective, so what struck me as being hilarious might not feel the same to you.

The only chapters I didn’t like were the two on memory loss–although everything he said I heard other people say over the years, especially with remembering names. But please, if you notice that you, a friend, or close family member is having significant memory issues, get to your family doctor ASAP and be honest about your concerns. Seek out specialists if appropriate, such as neurologists. Look into local hospital resources and nonprofits. Don’t panic, but find out right away what is causing the problem in order to deal with it early.

But there was one incident in the memory loss chapter that I enjoyed. Bill and Jody went to the movies one night–only to discover that they had already seen the film, but neither recalled much of it. “Please don’t tell me the ending,” Jody said. “How can I?” Bill replied.

I told this to a friend of mine. We go to a lot of movies. “At least this has never happened to us,” I told him. He laughed and said, “Not that we know of!” Turns out that we were both tuned in to TCM last Saturday at our separate homes. The network was running a  Thin Man movie–which my friend did not remember seeing at all until his brother reminded him. I just switched channels after a few minutes out of boredom.

So, The Big Five-Oh! has made me an even bigger fan, and I want to read all of Geist’s books. The latest, Good Talk, Dad, which he wrote with his son, Willie Geist, came out close to Father’s Day. It’s a gem. It’s as though you are visiting the Geist family and they are sharing stories after dinner. They might be saying, Hey, remember the time when….?” Or, “You’ve got to hear this one…” The mood is by turns lighthearted, and sometimes very serious. The captioned family photos and “Geist Date in History” sections are a lot of fun.

Happily, I now know who Willie Geist is because I’m watching Today more. I first saw him on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I enjoyed the interview, but had no idea who he was–or anything about his family.

To close, being 50 isn’t all that bad. As my friend said on our answering machine as he wished me a happy birthday: “Remember, it’s a continuation of your good life.”



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