Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Old Buzzard Devours Sweet Bird of Youth

not 49 18 with 31 years experience

My friends, go mark your calendars: My farewell tour starts tomorrow.
I’m not going anywhere. That's obvious by the fact that after all the years and all the awards won writing this junk that I’m now making less money than I was when I started this venture. (I have a degree in journalism, people, not personal finance.) Instead, I am embarking on a year-long goodbye to my youth because, about this time next year, I turn 50.

I’ve already come to begrudgingly recognize and -- with full-on grudge -- accept many signs of my impending old-buzzardness:
  • A perpetually aching lower back.
  • An altering of hairstyle and pants to maximize coverage.
  • A scattering of drugstore cheaters about the house.
  • An over-reliance on writing in bullet points.
Despite that last one, I will not compose a bucket list of things to achieve before the Big 5-0. Bucket lists are no-win situations.

If I don’t complete it, I’d feel like a failure. If I do complete it, I realize I’ve been a failure for the prior 49 years.

Next thing, I’m all “gotta do more lists before The Reaper come get me” and, friends, no one should spend their remaining days on Earth rushing around with Sharpie-stained fingers, leaving a trail of X’ed out Post-It Notes in their wake.
However, I’m not going to take the final year of my 40s lying down, though naps sound more inviting these days. As a philosopher, who naturally ended up working in a novelty item factory, once wrote: I’m planning on being 18 with 31 years of experience.
Take for example, going to rock concerts. I will still occasionally go see my favorite bands, providing a majority of the original members haven’t yet succumbed to hardening of the arteries. But I’m now wise enough to bring earplugs to protect what remains of the hearing I ruined in increasingly hairy ears. I also try to avoid venues without seating because of my hamstring and knee issues. When I can’t, I skip standing through the opening acts by waiting them out on the nearest bar stool. You can imagine how excited my wife, who is even three years wiser than me, and I were to go to a show earlier this year to find: a) a brew pub across the street, and b) that the band we wanted to see had to leave the stage by 10 p.m. because two other acts played after it.

Did I say how good a nap sounds?
I forget who said it (the memory goes right after the knees), but since someone mentioned bars, quaffing the potent potables these days also requires adjustments, and not just to the length of my belt. Alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the years have taught me, is crucial for maintaining a sober mind and, more importantly, avoiding time praying at the porcelain alter.
Also, when tippling while on the town, you should only buy premium liquor and only pay with cash. If you walk into a bar with only a couple of sawbucks in your pocket and order a $17 high-end whiskey, the next day you’ll wake up a lot fresher than if you took advantage of that $2 PBR special.

Bonus: No bloating!

Did I actually use the term “sawbuck”? I might be older than my birth certificate claims.
And, I guess I should probably also increase my workout workload. For starters, I should work out.

Don’t worry, if — I mean — when I do, I won’t tell you. Nobody likes hearing about, reading about or seeing photos of others “crushing it at BeachBody” when most people like us -- I mean -- me have beach bum bodies.

See: old age is already making me more compassionate and humble.
So while the calendar, my appearance and physical prowess may say otherwise, I plan to live the final year of my 40s like I’m still in my salad days.  Albeit without the bacon bits, gorgonzola cheese and creamy dressing.

Well, maybe a little. But on the side.

-- A version of this was first ignored by the readers of The (Stamford) Advocate.

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