George Graham

As Time Goes By


I just came across a news item reporting that actor Burt Reynolds is in financial trouble and is auctioning off some personal items to bail himself out. It’s always depressing to read about some once wealthy celebrity falling on hard times, but what makes me even more downcast is the photo that sometimes accompanies the story – the one above, for example.

Why, I wonder. Surely I know that we all get old – if we’re lucky. And when we get old, we don’t look like we did when we were young.

I have a mirror, after all.

But Burt Reyniolds? The Bandit? The swashbuckling. macho guy who laughs at danger? The impetuous lover who sweeps women off their feet? That Burt Reynolds?

There should be a law against publishing photos of aging stars.

They should be allowed to live forever in our memories the way they were when we spent those magical moments in some darkened theater, vicariously living their adventures and sharing their magnetic personalities.

I know, you’re thinking I should be more sensible by now. Old men look like old men. That’s all there is to it.

Time takes its toll.

As a teenager, I used to see Errol Flynn on the terrace of his Port Antonio hotel, day after day, drinking vodka (so I was told). He certainly did not look like a dashing pirate then.

He looked like a boozy old man.

But dreams live on. The stars linger in our memories – and on the films they made.

And that’s something we can hold on to.

I think I’ll watch an old movie or two and skip the news of the day. I wonder what’s playing on Direct TV?

Click for the story.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for