Pythons and Rats

Daily Encounters

I’ll put the main point in italics for you: Julia Child did not write a cookbook until she was 50 years old. She lived for a while, waited until she had something she was really passionate about and then wrote about it. As she puts it, “I didn’t really start life until I was 34.”

Another luminary in his field, Frank McCourt, won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize at the age of 67 with his first book, Angela’s Ashes. In an interview with David Letterman (who is a horrible interviewer, I might add), he joked, “I thought I’d try something new.” McCourt, much like Child, lived for a while, waited until he had something passionate to say and then wrote about it. Pythons unite.

Lives are long things, with ample time for later graduate school, longer hours, career changes, new hobbies and—as I assure my mother—a late-blooming love of medicine. Thirty years of idleness is probably bad, but with an average of 50 homework-free years ahead, the next 10 are not required to contain extreme institutionalized striving.

Success is good, but python-style success is better. Or at least worth writing about.


Arianne R. Cohen ’03 is an women’s studies concentrator in Leverett House. Her column appears on alternate Mondays.