I had a birthday last week that put me over the top from forty-something to forty-something + 1 and entrenched me even more firmly into the despairing chasm that is middle age. Middle age is that time in life where you are at the half-way mark from birth to death and your focus transitions from things like wondering whether or not the chicks dig you to things like wondering whether or not you turned off the iron or whether or not you are getting enough dietary fiber.
I admit that I have of late been noticing such signs of aging: my menus are getting further away, my socks are getting darker, and the phrase “feeling your oats” has taken on a whole different meaning. And it all happens so fast. One day I’m doing a sick Ollie aciddrop in the funbox and the next I’m making a spa appointment because yesterday I played Wii. I also find myself saying old people things like, “You call that music?!” and “I can’t just print money out of thin air, you know! Who do you think I am, Ben Bernanke?!”
I have decided that it is therefore officially time for me to make an idiot of myself in the hopes of maintaining my youth. This is known as having a ‘mid-life crisis,’ a period in life where once seemingly normal people come to the realization that they are seemingly normal and suddenly can’t stand their seemingly normalness so they flip out and start doing things that are certifiably crazy like bungee-jumping or parachuting from space or voting for third-party candidates. And such poor decision-making periods happen to everyone—even our endangered and extremely tasty animal friends.
For example, one day a salmon named Ella is minding her own business feasting on shrimp and caviar in her contented salt-water aquatic paradise when BAM! Like a sock in the eye she gets a letter from CAARP and exclaims, “Oh my Cod!” The next thing you know she thinks her life is crappie and without porpoise and so wonders if maybe she would be better off back in the fresh mountain waters of her mussel-bound and soleful youth. So she says “So long, chums!” and begins swimming upstream to find herself and has a halibut time until she eventually leaps to a into the jaws of a bear and experiences a grizzly death. While such things rarely happen to humans and like any fish analogy is pretty stupid, we should mullet over nonetheless.
For men, the mid-life crisis is a time to go out and purchase outrageously expensive fast cars and look for young, loose women to ride around in them. Unfortunately, I am not cut out for either of these activities since I do not have the finances for the former and doing the latter will subject me to a severe beating about the head and neck by The Queen Mother.
For women, it is different. I obviously do not have first-hand knowledge of a woman’s mid-life crisis but from what I can tell, it involves buying cases of ‘Medium Golden Brown’ hair color and kicking off all the covers in the middle of the night.
I have spent no small amount of time conTIMplating my mid-life crisis and what I want it to be. It’s kind of like choosing a career: you want it to be fun, but you also want to choose something at which you have a chance of success. This is why having an affair would never work for me. I don’t have enough energy for my current marriage let alone someone on the side. Then there’s that whole narrow-minded “Thou shalt not” thing that always gets in the way of defining one’s own morality. Pffft.
I think I have settled on doing something stupid and embarrassing with my hair. It seems a lot of mid-life crises have to do with hair: not having enough hair, having the wrong color hair, having hair that is the right color but located in the wrong place, etc. I have all of those things. In fact, and I may be paranoid here, but I would swear the Sprint people are following me around trying to get at the fiber-optic cables that keep growing on my ears.
And I’m having to trim my eyebrows these days, which I never remember doing in my youth. I either didn’t need to or I did and just didn’t notice, walking around obliviously with two pregnant lemmings on my forehead. At least I don’t have to worry about going bald. If the hair on my head disappears I can always let the hair on my ears and my eyebrows grow and comb them up toward the top of my head, twisting them together in a Liberaceesque Whovilleian pompadour.
I wonder if the chicks would dig me.