I remember being a student in Munich – that was about half a century ago! – protesting against some new regulations that my University (LMU) was trying to implement. We were in the street and some placards read: “TRAUE NIEMAND UEBER 30!” (DON’T TRUST ANYONE BEYOND THE AGE OF 30!).
And now I am 75!
Do I still trust myself?
Not with everything, of course.
For instance, I would not trust myself to ski down neck-breaking slopes; nor would I trust myself to pass the medical exams again; nor to drum 3 times per week in jazz clubs.
But, generally speaking, I do manage not that badly. In particular, I think I am capable of providing (hopefully constructive) criticism and reliable information on so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), the subject that became my hobby horse in the late 1970s and subsequently my job in the early 1990s.
At my age, people often ask me about regrets.
Do I have regrets?
I used to answer this question with a straight NO.
Lately, I am realizing that this is not entirely true.
I have quite a few regrets – mostly, they are relatively trivial. But some go deeper.
Those who know my CV well often wonder “Do you not regret having left your position in Vienna?” It’s a legitimate question: in Vienna, I had a position for life, a large and well-funded department of high reputation. In Exeter, I initially had as good as nothing followed by 20 years of fighting for ever more scarce funding.
Despite all this, the positives of the last 30 years more than outweighed the negatives, in my view: I was soon able to build up a productive team of researchers; together we managed to publish some exciting and important research; and eventually, we even managed to get a reputation – depending on who you ask, a good or a bad one.
But more important for me was just being in England. I loved it! No, not the food, not the weather, but the British openness, tolerance, understatement, politeness, integrity, gentleness, and decency. Sadly, since the Brexit vote, much of this has started to slowly disappear.
Would I do it all again?
I am an incorrigible optimist convinced that the UK is presently going through a bit of a rough patch that soon will end. It’s just that, at the age of 75, I feel they better hurry up.
The birthday cake just came from Natalie Grams – thanks Natalie
Happy birthday, and many happy returns, Professor. I have learned so much from reading this blog, and look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.
thanks – you are too kind
Happy birthday! And may you have many more successful orbits of the Daystar…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (yes, shouted out loud, just in case the cartoon was about you …)
I sincerely hope that we can enjoy both your unfettered criticism of SCAM as well as your humour for many years to come!
Happy birthday! Enjoy the cake!
I am bound to say accuracy is all.
The good prof. only had one birthday.
Today Edzard celebrates the 75th anniversay of his birthday!
I heartedly endorse all congratulations and anticipate many happy returns!
and thanks for the correction too
You are one awesome being! Happy birthday Edzard! xx Katja
one awesome being!
well, that’s quite something, I guess.
Happy Birthday and keep up the good work!
yes, I will carry on but to make it good, I rely on my commentators.
Mit meinen allerbesten Wünschen zu Ihrem 75sten Geburtstag!…und, ad multos annos!
Samt herzlichen Grüssen aus der Schweiz!
Did you mean “Despite all this, the negatives of the last 30 years are more then outweighed by the positives”? It says the opposite!
yes, I corrected the senile error
Happy birthday to you. We celebrate your good choices.
Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time—-Jean Paul
Many happy returns. Don’t count the candles, enjoy your day.
… all ear candles, of course!
Happy birthday to you from me and Susanne. We will drink our next wine to your health.
thanks a lot and PROSIT!
I’m late to your birthday party Edzard, so best wishes for what remains of this day. If it’s any consolation, you are two years behind me. My birthday was on the 26th.
belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LES
Happy Birthday, Professor!
I have always enjoyed reading your blog and learned a lot. Thank you!
thanks, very kind!
There have been many people who have changed the world, but very few like yourself who have changed it for the better.
With best wishes,
that’s really kind – and I wish it were true!
Well Doc, no one would take you for 75!
I hired an elderly cabinet maker years back, who when caught goofing up would always say to me, ” Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most”. Well, you obviously STILL have the sharpness of mind, quick wit and the accumulation of years of experience to put to good use for many more years to come.
I look forward to reading and following your work and appreciate the way you keep us all on track. Your chosen work has made this world a better and much safer place… of that there is no doubt. Sandy and I send you the very best warm Birthday wishes from Canada dear friend.
Thank you professor for your tireless fight against pseudomedical mountebanks of all sorts. Thank you for teaching and encouraging me to contribute humbly to the struggle. Thank you for your books, which have provided an erudite insight and an endless arsenal of anti-SCAM artillery for my own meager efforts.
And thank you for an excuse to open – on a Monday! – a bottle of good Cava leftover from a weekend celebration with friends and lift a glass for your continued good health and wellbeing!
Many happy returns.
cheers to you too
Happy Birthday and many happy returns of the day!