A Promise Of Youth Is As Easy As Pie

Assignment America CBS

It was a formal occasion - folks dressed up in their finest finery, all gathered for a Milwaukee happening. A happening more than 30 years in the making, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports.

"It's better than a wedding," one guest said.

The hosts for the evening were best friends Malcolm McDowell and Dan Johnson, both 50 years old. They thought of this back when they were freshmen in college. They were sitting in a restaurant - just 18 at the time - but already dreading 50.

"Yeah, 50 is old. When you're 18 and you look at a 50-year-old - they're old," Johnson said.

McDowell added: "Fifty-years-old seemed responsible and serious and boring."

God forbid they ever become that - so the guys decided right then and there to make a pact.

They promised that when they turned 50, as a hedge against maturity, to do wsomething utterly ridiculous.

Of course, over the next three decades, in many ways, they became just who they were afraid they would. They got married, had kids, and own homes.

McDowell is now the editor of a trade magazine, and Johnson is a customer service manager. But they stayed friends and never forgot their pledge - that no matter how serious life got, when 50 hit, they'd have … a pie fight.

That was the pact. To have a pie fight.

Originally, it was supposed to be just the two of them. But over the years, more friends and family heard about it - the more friends and family wanted to be a part of it.

Needless to say, the event was neither responsible, serious, nor the least bit boring. In fact, Johnson and McDowell say it was so much less mature than they ever could have imagined. And the timing was perfect.

"The economy is terrible, there's a war - people need to do things totally unlike what they usually are like," Johnson said.

Every time I ask somebody a question!"

"God, I feel like I'm 16 again!"

So much for the elusive fountain of youth - turns out finding it is as easy as pie.
  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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