I have a riddle for my readers out there. What do these songs have in common?
Rich Girl by Hall and Oates
Margaritaville by How Can You Seriously Not Know Who Sang This Song?
Night Moves by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Heard It In A Love Song by The Marshall Tucker Band
Hotel California by The Eagles
I’m Your Boogie Man by KC And The Sunshine Band
Are you stumped yet? No clue? They were all Top 100 hits in 1977. As I alluded to not so subtly in the previous post, my birthday is quickly approaching and might be upon us by the time you read this. Reading this list just gives me one thought…damn, I feel old. Reading some of these song titles, I realize that I not just feel old…I am old. For those of us that failed remedial math, I will be turning 41 on Friday (the 19th, for those who are calendarly-challenged). As I sit and compose these thoughts to all of you now, I can absoultely say that I never expected to live past maybe thirty. I thought 32 was pushing it, given my laissez-faire attitude toward simple concepts like managing diabetes and not drinking my weight in alcohol whenever it suited me (News Flash, it suited me ALOT). There’s a song that’s not from 1977, a little tune by Montgomery Gentry of country music fame. It’s called I Never Thought I’d Live This Long. It basically talks about a guy that lived fast and free and wondered why he was still alive. And yet here I sit, doing all of this living stuff despite all probablity.
There are different schools of thought concerning getting older or reaching a certain age. Some people want to stay young forever, which is what keeps hair salons and dye companies in business. I have known men and women who dye their hair into their 70s. My aunt gave up when she was at the hair salon once a week to reapply dye to her hair. I prefer the Just Let It Happen approach. If I’m going to lose my hair, or get gray hair, or get wrinkles…well, all that stuff is supposed to happen anyway. Father Time catches us all eventually. So why hide it? Show off the gray. If you go bald, shave the head. Don’t have that thing with the bald front and then long hair for the other half of the head. A half-mullet just screams Guy In Panel Van With No Windows Offering Free Lollipops At The Playground. Don’t be that guy, and don’t look like you’re that guy.
People always tell you that as you age, you’re turning into your mother or father. Most people don’t respond kindly to these observations, but I think that’s pretty awesome. My father was my hero. He led a very troubled childhood and rose above it all. He volunteered to go to Vietnam, only to be held back because of the Saving Private Ryan Rule. Any only male children, and only children, were not allowed to be sent to the front lines in any branch of military service. To do so required that the parents would sign a waiver relinquishing their rights to sue the government in the event of said child’s death. So Dad ended up guarding a section of the Berlin Wall in Germany. He had the opportunity to work on all types of military machines, from airplanes down to lawn equipment. He could tell you what was wrong with a car just by you cranking it up and him listening. I’ve seen him diagnose a car over the phone to someone two states away, and tell them how to fix it, all while imbibing quite a few drinks. He fixed one lady’s car with the inner tube of an ink pen. Take that, McGyver. His skills exceeded far beyond auto repair. When he was young, he built houses on Wrightsville Avenue with my grandfather. So Dad could build a house from the foundation up. He could pour concrete, hang drywall, do roofing work, and do it all accurately. This from the guy that couldn’t figure out how to text on his new cell phone. So yeah, when someone tells me I’m turning into my dad, all I can do is hope and pray that one day I can fill those shoes. Well, at least the one because Dad was an amputee.
Meanwhile I am trying to embrace my sobriety. As of August 20, it has been almost two months since I had any alcohol. I don’t know if you’ve caught my other posts, but this is a huge feat for me. I was at one time up to about 48-60 beers in a weekend. I’m not sure what the going consumption rate is supposed to be for mere mortals, but I’m sure it’s not that many over three days. Hence the not taking care of myself and living wild and free. One day you snap out of it and realize that you’re 40 and it’s too much to have to recover from every weekend. Of course, sometimes fate intervenes and gives you a rectal abscess AND a pulmonary embolism for good measure. You know, in case you’re too stupid to listen. Message received. At the same time, I wonder if JImmy the Beer Guy at Harris Teeter thinks I’m dead or something. I saw him every Friday morning and night, Saturday and Sunday afternoon like clockwork. Maybe he started a search party. If you see my face on the back of a beer or wine bottle from the Teeter, do not be troubled for I am alive. He’s probably just worried that sales are plummeting now.
One place that clearly makes you want to drink is Wal-Mart. I despise this store with all of my being. I guess because I’ve been out of work recovering, that I’ve got a slower sense of getting around the store. What’s the rush, I’ve got time. Apparently everyone else didn’t get the memo. There are people zipping by you left and right, then they park their buggy right in front of what you were trying to get close enough to so you could check it out. Then they have the audacity to look back at you scornfully. Like you’re the problem. Geez, I’m just ttrying to get some cheese sticks and a jar of peanuts. The best are these people that see someone they know, so their turn the cart sideways and block the whole aisle talking to their long lost childhood friend for twenty minutes. Get her number, you guys can talk later. I need olive oil and you’ve jammed your cart in the way. Every time one of them zooms from behind me to end up right in front of me, then stops, I visualize myself sticking my arm out for the old clothesline move from pro wresting. “CLEANUP ON AISLE 7! SOME JACKASS GOT CLOTHESLINED AGAIN!” JUst let me get to my Carb-Smart Ice Cream and nobody gets hurt.
So yeah, I guess getting older isn’t so bad. If I continue to take care of myself, then it will continue to not be so bad. I notice my back and knees don’t hurt as much. I feel better with the toxic Hospital food out of my system. And the alcohol, well it was poisoning me. I know I would not have healed properly had I continued drinking. I am getting older, and despite my best previous intentions, I will be here for the forseeable future.
Unless you lock me inside a Wal-Mart. Then all bets are off.