Monday, February 27, 2006
(Imagine, if you will, a rather charming collage of photographs. It was my intention to post a number of them, right about here. However, modern technology has once again beaten me down. So, you don't get to see me progress from an Opie Taylor lookalike to the scarred and weatherbeaten soul I am today. Maybe on my next birthday.)
This Thursday, March 2nd, is my 49th birthday. Some people turn 49 and start moaning about lost youth and never again being able to do such-and-such. They act as though it's some sort of minor death sentence.
Those people are idiots.
It's a number; nothing more, nothing less. Do you have any guarantee concerning how long you'll live? No, and neither do I. You could die tomorrow. Heck, you could die today. As a matter of fact, you might have died during that last sentence, so why am I still writing?
Right at this very minute there's probably a piece of bacon you ate thirty years ago traveling into an artery in your brain and you'll think your name is Glblllbbb a half-hour from now. Who the hell knows? On the other hand, you might be destined to live to be 106, so if you're 49 you aren't even at the halfway point.
It's all a crapshoot. Some people smoke, drink, consistently go to bed after 2 am, never do any more exercise than pushing the button on a remote control and they live to be 90. Other people eat right, exercise, look both ways before crossing the street and a meteor crushes their skull when they're 33. Me? I've done enough drugs to kill a small herd of elephants and I've smoked enough cigarettes to give cancer to a bakers dozen of lab rats. I probably exercise more than the average 49-year-old, but not much. I eat cream cheese and peanut butter and red meat, at least once a week for each of them, and I drink about a half-gallon of milk a day and put cream in my coffee. I'm not dead yet. Good enough for me.
The number "49" means nothing unless you know the context. And, since none of us have any idea what the context is (until it's too late for it to do us any good) to let your life and emotions be ruled by some abstract number is just ridiculous.
Of course, some people accomplish a lot more by the time they reach my age than I have. For instance, by the time he was my age, Jimi Hendrix had been dead for 20 years.
(That's a variation on a joke by the great Tom Lehrer. By the time you reach my age, almost everything is a variation on a joke by someone else, including your sex life.)
If you haven't reached 49 yourself yet, what lessons can I impart that might make your own journey to 49 easier? What have I learned in 49 years that might be of value to you? Not a damned thing, because what worked for me might kill you. However, I'll still spout off about a few things and you can use this useless information in whatever way you wish.
1) No matter what you do, the world will still be spinning after you've done it. Relax.
2) No matter how much you don't want to, you're still going to every once in a while. Relax.
3) Moderation is the key to excess and vice-versa.
4) If you wake up and see your wife having sex with the mailman, hear a garbage truck hit your BMW, smell dogshit, taste puke, and feel something wet that you aren't quite sure what it is? Consider yourself lucky. You've got all five of your senses; you're married, so even if someone else is getting laid, you probably are, too; your mail has been delivered; you've got a nice car; you have a pet; you probably have more to eat and drink than 90% of the world; and you probably had a wet dream on top of it. What more do you want?
5) Have a cookie. It'll make you feel better.
6) Every once in a while, take a nap and don't set your alarm. There is almost nothing as sweet in life as a nap taken when you want it and until it ends naturally.
7) Smile! If you do it physically, it will take hold mentally. It will also piss off your enemies.
8) If you feel bad and you have some pills that will make you feel better, take 'em. Why in the hell people choose to suffer when the solution to their suffering is at hand, I have no idea. Some people do, though. They were probably told at some time in their life that such suffering "builds character". It doesn't. It builds pain.
9) Make some art. Do something that expresses you creatively. Sing. Bang on something. Let the world know you're alive.
10) Finally, don't ignore the folks around you. The more of them you stay in contact with, the better for you. Unless they're real assholes. Then you'll die quicker, but that's a good thing, too - if they're assholes, why would you want to stick around?
So, Happy Birthday To Me.
I'm going to be taking a couple of days off from work, so this will be my last post until March 7th, Tuesday. I will then be 49 years and 5 days old - a relic; an antique; a dinosaur. I'll be so superannuated, I may even crumble into dust before I get a chance to type again. If so, it's been a pleasure. When you go to my funeral, ask my Mom to show you some pictures. Mom has always been more reliable than any scanner I've tried to use here, so I'm sure you'll actually get to see them.