You know what sucks about getting older? How I'm that much closer to death. Well, and early bird dinner specials. Who the hells wants to eat at 4:45 p.m.?
You might well object that no one actually forces you to eat at 4:45 p.m., but if you think that, it is because you live in one of our nation's more free-thinking regions; here in the Midwest, we follow the rules, and also, perhaps unrelatedly, frequently die in grain-silo explosions.
Look, I know, early bird specials seem insignificant, but only because I mentioned them after death. Once you've mentioned impending death, you've shot your conversational wad; everything else gets pushed off the stage. Death is, in that respect and in so many others, the Kanye of conversational topics. Well, or maybe Tupac.
At 51 I'm not really contemplating joining the crowd at Old Country Buffet, nor do I particularly fear dying just yet, as indicated by the self-designed suit of many steaks that I wore to visit the lion-petting zoo recently.
I'm generally in good health, and I bear the occasional exception with unflagging stoicism, my 50,000 word essay entitled "I Have a Blister, Please Please OH GOD Kill Me!" notwithstanding. But a few little aspects of this time of my life, which I can consider "middle age" only if I believe that I am likely to live to be 102, do bother me:
Things keep falling off me. Not important things. I still have all my fingers and toes, and my penis remains firmly attached; I've had it sewn onto the middle of my forehead for safety's sake. My teeth have in the past few years started cracking and breaking, and I don't care what anyone says, my recent career-change -- to gravel chewer -- has nothing to do with it.
I think my hair, which has been pretty luxuriant up to this point, has begun thinning; the minute I confirm that, I'm shaving it all off. (I had the trimmer in my hand this morning, then realized, Oh, yeah: part.) I'd rather look like Moby or a leukemia patient than a balding Muppet, though the Muppet resemblance probably derives from the fact that I'm covered in purple felt. And what the hell is up with my neck? It hasn't fallen off yet, but may I just say, "Stay closer to my throat, you goddamn skin-flap!"
I have learned from my mistakes, but now it seems likely that I'll never get a chance to repeat them. Er, I mean benefit from that experience. Ah, who'm I kidding? I mean repeat them. I don't say that I would repeat them, just that I'd like the chance to. (Dude, I'd totally repeat them.) Just e.g., I now know exactly where I went wrong with that girlfriend who had the severe anxiety disorder; in my defense, it's a lot of fun to hide behind walls and jump out screeching and waving a machete.
Also, I totally rocked the Limbs-B-Gon zombie costume. ("Now With Extra Gangrene!"). And raising my kids, well, I have to say: this time I'd take more careful note of where I left them in the woods. It all turned out well, thanks to that pack of rabid wolves that raised them as their own; that experience led directly to their current careers in Republican politics. (True story.) Also, by damn, the next time someone tells me not to eat the brown acid, I'm going to listen to them. Probably.
At this point, my life is tougher to change the direction of than a convoy of semis rolling driverless down an interstate entrance ramp. (Don't ask me how I know that. I was nowhere near I-80 last weekend.) I hate to tell you the scorn and derision to which I was recently subjected by the loan officer when, hoping to change careers, I applied for a small-business loan to launch my long-dreamt-of orchard -- apparently upper-case Blackberries do not grow on trees. (Sure, like you knew.)
My business, the one I started with such hope, recently failed; the recession hit us hard, but I must accept some blame myself for not having given enough thought to the business model of Floyd's Kicks in the 'Nads. (We vastly overestimated the demand for kicks in the 'nads.) And cash is tight now; I had to walk away from my home, which, like so many in this current climate, is underwater. Goddamn global warming.
Truth be told, though, I don't really mind being this age, and I'm looking forward to the coming decades. What with The Who touring in their 80s -- Townshend is what, like 120, right? -- I think even they've discarded the "hope I die before I get old" shtick. (Well, not Moon. His last thought: "I win!")
I'm looking forward to dealing with the challenges of the future as I've always dealt with life's challenges: drunk, whimpering and curled into a fetal ball. And yes, by challenges, I do for the most part mean early bird dinner specials. And of course and as always, grain-silo explosions.