Getting older

Disclaimer – Not for LinkedIn but since blog is synced. You have the choice of not reading.

Just finished read Fair Warning by Michael Connelly. It’s the third book for lead character Jack McEvoy. Must read book if you haven’t read it still.

So while reading, I realised that the character has aged. Jack is over 50 now. That got me thinking about my favourite Michael Connelly character – Harry Bosch. He is 59 now. Was 39 in his first book. Mickey Haller would be perhaps younger.

Michael Connelly is a master writer. One of the rare ones who have stayed with the lead character for a long time across many books. Even woven in other lead characters or ones from other books. The relationship between Harry and Mickey for instance. Or Rachel Walling who appears in novels for Harry as well as Jack. For those who don’t follow Michael Connelly books or do not get as immersed as I do, they won’t get the emotion. But the ones who do, will know how it feels every time a book ends. Will there be another Harry Bosch book? What will we do when there is no Harry Bosch?! 20 years span is a long time and we tend to build a relationship with the character.

In similar vein is Jack Reacher by Lee Childs. He was 36 in his first books and over so many other books, Jack had grown older. 50+ now.

Now why is this interesting? Because the characters and I are pretty much same age. I have grown old with them. The lives so to say are intertwined and in a few instances have been quite similar. Also the nature. Whether it is the need to always do the right thing or to be anti establishment on occasions, there are similarities.

Why this post though? It’s about getting older and about making the act of getting old look good. It is not easy task. In our country, the legacy of govt jobs means we all have a retirement to look at by a certain date. That itself creates a certain behaviour. It is almost as if life comes to an end. Most people start retiring from life a few years before it actually happens. All their thinking is about where to settle, what to do, how to manage pension and stuff. In their mind, they already have.

But Harry hasn’t, jack Reacher hasn’t, Jack McEvoy hasn’t and I haven’t either. It’s lot more fun not to think of “that age”! And now with what has happened in last few months, there is no point in planning too far ahead. Plans do not work out. Also all the discussion about being under 60 or over 60, geez who wants to get old!

Jack Reacher

Nope.. this post is not about the really bad movie that was released last December. the casting director for that movie should have been sacked for choosing Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher!

For the many who are not aware of Jack Reacher, he is a character in all the Lee Child books. Now I don’t think there are many out there who would not have read any of his books. The pseudo-intellectuals would probably call his books pulp and trash.

Now why should I pick him for a blog post?? Well for one, I have pretty much read every Jack Reacher book and here is a brief description about the character courtesy Wikipedia:

Jack Reacher is a former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps. He was born on a military base in Berlin on 29 October 1960. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served 13 years in the Military Police, during which time he became part of a fictional military police unit, the 110th Special Investigations Unit, formed to handle exceptionally tough cases, especially those involving members of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Though he was demoted from Major to Captain in the prequel novel The Enemy, he regained his rank by the time he mustered out in 1997. He received many military awards during his career, including the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in the bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983.[citation needed]

Since leaving the Army, Reacher has been a drifter. He wanders throughout the U.S. because he was accustomed to being told where to go, when to go and what to do for every day of his life from military childhood to military adulthood. He also felt he never got to know his own country, having spent much of his youth living overseas on military bases and at West Point. He usually travels by hitchhiking or bus. As a drifter, the only possessions he carries are money, a foldable toothbrush and, after 9/11, an expired passport and an ATM debit card.

And to add to this.. as the radio spot for one of his novels said – Women want him and men want to be like him!

Once you read his books, you also realize that for him, justice is important. He wont stand back and watch an innocent getting trampled upon. He is a loner and yet it doesn’t stop him from taking on the bad guys or the establishment.

There are similarities between Jack and my other favorite character – Harry Bosch… Both live a life that is filled with loneliness and yet there are always people around them… However both of them quite never form a long-term relationship.

And while Jack never mentions it but somehow he follows what Harry believes in – Everybody counts or nobody counts.. It’s the sense of righteousness that runs through both.

Harry roams the streets of L.A. while Jack is in the countryside of US.

I am sure like me… there would be few others who have seen both Harry and Jack evolve and have lived their lives through every book… What is it about these characters that make us associate with them. Age perhaps must be one of the things. I haven’t heard of anyone young talking about either of them… Second I think is their belief system. Out in the real world, all of us want to go up against everything that is wrong but we don’t… because we don’t have the courage to do so… because that would need living like the two of them do and it would surely be in dissonance with the societal norms. And we console ourselves that it is easy in a book… not in real life! True… absolutely true… so we live the lives of Harry & Jack in our head and in every book… And yes.. at some level one also yearns for an Eleanor Wish or a  Rachel Walling or a Jodie Gerber.. and also (now this is something most guys I bet crave for) the way Jack & Harry move on… not because they are womanizer or philanderer but because they can’t be held back. For them, there is a world out there and while they don’t say it explicitly, it needs them…

There is a drifter and a vagabond in all of us.. wanting to break free and move through the vast landscape of life… with a strong sense of purpose… but that drifter in us never breaks free and never will… It will always stay in deep recesses of our minds… and in every novel we read by Lee Childs and Micheal Connelly…