"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." —T.S. Eliot ("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock")
As Other nears retirement, he has begun to measure his remaining years not in coffee spoons but in concrete terms nonetheless. When we replace our 25-year-old deck next year, for instance, it will be our last, he points out. We have one and a half cats to go (if you measure a cat's life as 15 years and count them end to end). Or a couple of dogs (at 10 years apiece). Or four overcoats (five years each). Or 10 health-club memberships (two years).