"Alas, poor Yorick I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest . . ." A funny idea for a birthday present, you might think. A friendly reminder that all is not what we see before us in the mirror. The skull speaks. It says, "Et in Arcadia ego," or simply, "Vanitas." I've always enjoyed the feel of a stick in my hand—perhaps that's why I like tennis so much. I've yet to take a walk with this one though. One fine day. This stick is by Cannes Fayet, a French company that's been making canes since the 19th century. It has a beautiful ebonized wood stock and a very heavy bronze head done in the "mi-lord" style—straight up and not curved under the hand.
And men like games. I received this wonderful backgammon set for my birthday in July. This one is by Hector Saxe, Paris. Backgammon, of Persian origin, is one of the oldest board games there is. I'd never played backgammon before owning this set. I once observed people playing many years ago and I didn't understand a thing and so I'd worried that I wasn't up to it, but with a good set of rules and explanations you can quickly get the hang of it. It's great fun, and a wonderful alternative to surfing the web for excessive hours on end, a tiny bit challenging, but not too much.