"It's just a number." That's what a lot of folks who will watch me turn 50 in a month or so are telling me. "It's just a number." And they're right - a number, by itself, doesn't make you old. There's plenty of other symptoms Consider:
You hear "the guys" (and "the guys" includes younger neanderthals on sports radio shows, the office, the other end of the bar, the gym etc...) talking up the attributes and assets of a female celebrity. Because you've become illiterate in pop culture you have no idea who they're talking about. Later, though, you're glued to a documentary on the news channel ("Malaria or seasonal allergies? How knowing the difference could save your life!") During a commercial they tease their version of "Entertainment Tonight" and - after wondering if Mary Hart is still alive - you hear that they're going to run a story about the actor or singer or model "the guys" were discussing earlier. You look up from the obituary page and instead of being taken with her attributes and assets you scream at the t.v. "HOLY CRAP! EAT SOME CHEESECAKE!!" Then you begin a rant that begins with "In my day..." and references such bastions of feminine pulchritude as Cheryl Tiegs, Lynda Carter and Angie Dickinson. REAL women that, you know, ATE.
You now find it essential to check the weather channel before going to bed. It's not safe to go to sleep without knowing whether or not a typhoon is going to hit Sugar Hill in the middle of the night. When asked what your favorite television show is you often respond "Your Local On The 8's"
"Sleeping late" on the weekends now means 7:00. You can't lay in bed all day and let somebody else get all the good bales of pine straw at Home Depot! Besides, the news is coming on...you need to see if there was a typhoon during the night.
Sometimes you wake up your spouse with a loud grunt or a scream. She panics "What did you do??" "Uh, turned over..." Then when the alarm goes off her first words from under the covers - "Is it thundering?" Sadly, what she actually heard was your knees taking their first few steps of the day (OR something far more serious related to the Mexican you had for dinner the night before.) You lie and say "yeah, I think it's fixing to storm..."
Often when leaving the house she tells you your clothes look fine but suggests you get the weedeater out of the garage and do something about hair that's taking over someplace it shouldn't be. You're not surprised. While shaving in the morning, you've taken note of the forestation growing
from your eyebrows and ears and felt compelled to call Abe Vigoda and
apologize for all the jokes you made at his expense.
Sitting at a red light, you're confused as to why you so want to drag the punk next to you out of his car and throat-punch him. Is it because he's playing his music so loud? Is it because his sunglasses probably cost more than your first car (which was held together by duct tape and bondo?) You're reminded that you were well known for rolling your windows down and blasting the neighborhood with music. There's a huge difference - the music you blasted was good music, by God!
You hate it when a show you want to watch doesn't come on 'til 10:00. You despise all politicians. You subscribe to an email that lists all the people in your zip code that were booked into the county lockup during the night (in case one of your neighbors is on there and you need to keep an eye on their sorry selves!!) You can waste 15 minutes of someone's life explaining to them how much better Orange Crush tasted in a brown bottle. You think video games are going to be death of America. You watch commercials and wonder "what in the hell were they just advertising?" The point is I guess they're right - a number, by itself, can't make you old. There's plenty of whims, quirks and goofiness to advertise that it's been happening for some time...now it's just going to be official because it'll be on your driver's license.