So 46 years ago today I entered this world at Georgia Baptist Hospital down on Boulevard. It's called Atlanta Medical Center now. My wife was born there also, a couple of years later. Was there any other hospital in Atlanta birthing babies in the mid 60's? Anyway, here I sit contemplating a number. 46. FORTY-SIX. If you're talking dollars, 46 ain't a lot. If you're talking years it's much more complicated to figure out the relative size of the number 46.
I actually went out and Googled "46 YEARS." I found a thousand stories about the fact that this past November was the 46th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. I learned that Aldous Huxley ("Brave New World") died on the same day Kennedy was killed. Interesting trivia to spew during happy hour or over dinner but not really earth-shattering.
I found a story about two sisters in Garfield, Iowa who have owned a family eatery at the corner of Hwy. 69 and 170th Street for 46 YEARS. Their grilled pork tenderloin was voted Iowa's best back in 2004. I came away from that thinking "there's 170 streets in Garfield, Iowa?"
I found a website called "experienceproject.com" where you can enter your crisis du jour and find people with whom you share these similar life experiences. Like you can type in "soccer mom who is losing sleep deciding between prime rib or fish for Christmas dinner party with other soccer moms" and you'll instantly be connected with folks fighting these same demons. So I entered "46 years old" and was told no one had started that conversation. Of course they haven't...who in the hell wants to be reminded that they're 46 YEARS old?
A guy in Germany got released from prison back in October after spending 46 YEARS in prison for (wait for it....) stealing bicycles. 46 YEARS? Really? For stealing bikes? If I'm burning 46 years of my life in the can I'm robbing some liquor stores and getting a headline: "The perpetrator takes no cash, making off only with as many half gallons of Tangueray gin as he can carry and demanding that someone fill his pockets with jars of olives...film at 11."
So, not much to be found of interest in them internets when searching 46 YEARS. So I did another search on December 3, 1963. Found that Terri Schiavo was also born on that day (God rest her soul.) Damon Berryhill (former major league catcher) shares my birthday.
Of most interest to me was a list of WABC's all-american survey for the week of December 3, 1963. Coming in at number 28 (and I'm not making this up) was "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys" by The Cookies. Uh, did Gloria Steinem have a singing career before Ms.? Coming in at 43 was "Frosty The Snowman" by The Ronettes. It gains instant inclusion into my cool song list because it made a cameo in "Goodfellas." You know the rules - if you've made an appearance in "Goodfellas, " "The Sopranos, " or "The Godfather" you're cool enough to ice tea.
Ok, so that was a lot of useless information. I'm the king of it. I guess I'm left here grateful for the 46 years I've had and hopeful that there's many more adventures yet to come. The changes over the last year in my health have certainly given me hope to think that there are many positives on the horizon. Prior to my surgery, I really had no such hope. In fact, one of the many things that got me started on pursuing weight loss surgery was a conversation I had with my cardiologist. He looked me right in the eye about three years ago and said "I'm not using scare tactics...I'm going to tell you this because I care and you're a nice guy...but at this size, you'll never see 50." Think about that...at my old size I'd be four years away from pushing up daisies. I'd leave behind the best, most beautiful bride a man can ever hope for, three sisters and their husbands who still take care of me and in-laws who treat me like their own. Not to mention a host of nieces and nephews who I love like they're my own children.
I've outlived some of my favorite people. My cousin Alan never had to contemplate growing old. Neither did my friend Elizabeth, one of the sweetest souls ever to grace the planet. My mom had a baby boy a year or so before she had me. When he was born he only left the hospital to be taken to the cemetery and laid to rest. Mother once told me "I'm not sure why he didn't live but if he had we may not have had you. So I'm not sure why you're here but you need to figure it out." So I guess I really should be ashamed of myself for bitching about being 46 years old...and figure it out.
"Yesterdays are over my shoulder,
so I can't look back for too long.
There's just too much to see, waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can't go wrong..."