All the pretty girls will call me ‘sir’.
Now where they’re asking me how things are
soon they’ll ask me how things were…
Ok, I doubt I'll be a grandpa anytime soon, hell, I'm not even a 'pa', but Brother Jimmy's words ring true, especially now.
Mikey's getting older, and today is one of those landmarks in the passing of time.
So where does the time go? It seems like just last summer I was sitting aboard the Carnival Paradise, wearing a James Bond tuxedo and Groucho Marx glasses while mocking/toasting my oldest sister Sherry for turning forty years old. Now I’ve hit that magic number.
When I thought about it, it brought to mind that famous old OMD lyric:
Seven years went under the bridge, like time was standing still…
It may have seemed like it was just last summer, but that was back in the year 2000. Y2K, Sidney Olympics, anyone? Since then, two other siblings have crossed that Rubicon, and now it’s my turn. Life sure has changed a bit in the past seven years and it might take a bit more time before the realization sets in that I'm now part of such an exclusive club.
Forty years old. Damn. That’s about how much time Red spent in Shawshank—It’s a couple of generations. Four decades. Ten presidential elections. Two score, according to Abe Lincoln.
It's an ounce of Old E from the brown paper bag of life for every year I’ve trod upon this planet…
It’s funny. I don’t feel old at all, and inside I guess I’m still only about 32. But some days I feel like a directionless post-college slacker who doesn’t want to grow up, while other days I feel like the old guy who yells at the neighborhood kids to stay off of his damn lawn. Sometimes it’s both in the same day. I'm somewhere between two worlds--one where I sometimes believe the iPod is the coolest invention created by the hand of man, and the other one where I can't believe the shit kids listen to these days.
Now that I’m an ‘adult’, the worlds are getting further apart. I’ve realized it takes me a little bit longer to recover from a night of buffoonery than it did in times past, but at least the wisdom of years has allowed me to have a good time without having to probe the fences of my limitations. It took me a few years, but now I know that hard liquor is only meant to be tasted once. The second time, while quite entertaining for onlookers, isn’t nearly as enjoyable. ‘Tis a lesson hard learned. But as a kid, it's a lesson one has to learn several times before it sticks.
But it’s not the only lesson I’ve managed to learn the hard way—there have been several. The importance of good credit, disciplined saving and investing, having sufficient insurance and a Plan B or two are good things to consider for a young person just beginning to make their way in the world. Avoiding student loans unless one is absolutely 100% certain about one’s life’s work is another degree I’m currently still earning at the School of Hard Knocks.
On the other hand, there are a few land mines that I’ve managed to avoid all these years that I see others entangled with on a regular basis.I haven’t made nearly enough bad decisions in my life to require that I have an attorney on retainer. Of course, that means that I don’t have complex business interests at stake, either, but I’m ok with that.
I’ve managed to make it all these years without owing child support to girl I can no longer stand, which means I’ve got a leg up on several of my buddies. Other than a minor traffic infraction here or there, I’ve managed to not run afoul of the law. I’ve never been seriously in the wrong place at the wrong time where my life or property has been in imminent danger, and nobody has ever tried to sue the pants or any other article of clothing off me. I’ve avoided serious injuries, accidents, and illnesses, and the only real problems I have can easily be solved with money and/or self-discipline.
I guess, when I get right down to it, life is pretty damn good.
I’ve got a great circle of friends, a close-knit family, a decent job, and I live in a city full of hot single women. I’ve got a few enjoyable hobbies, a goal or two, and plans for the future. I consider myself mildly lucky, considering the breaks I've gotten, and I thank those lucky stars that I’m moderately smarter than the average guy on the street. Laziness in my cross to bear, and I suppose that knowing about it is the first step to getting a handle on it. It’s never too late, right?
Everyone older than me tells me that forty is just a number, while everyone younger than me just points and laughs. It may be just a number, but unfortunately, it's now in the rear-view mirror.