During some free time while I was gleefully not flyfishing, it came to my notice that even the youngest Gen-Xer is now over 40 years old.  When my bordering on ancient ears heard that, I dropped my cane and spurted out, “My word!” through my dentures.  We’re all aging faster than an outdoor ice sculpting contest in Houston in July next to an active volcano.  It seems like just fifteen minutes ago, John Belushi was alive, we were attacking Rainbow Brite with our Go-Bots, and Daisy Duke helped us along in achieving puberty.  Now we’re getting to be duffers, soon to be abandoned on the ice floe of society.

In the past, I never really cared about the changing of years before.  Oh, I cared in the sense that I would hopefully get New Year’s Day off from work or school, but nothing beyond that.  Besides, I was never truly one for New Year’s parties in the sense that I was never really invited to them.  (The only reason I got married on New Year’s Eve was that there was a close to 90% chance I’d finally have a date for that night.)  Also, I don’t care for singing “Auld Lang Syne” mainly because I don’t know what any of the words in the title of the song mean.  Tragically, I’m too apathetic in this cyber-informationalogical age to even bother looking them up at this point.

Yep, I just watched for the car. Yep. Sure did. The car was awesome.

By the way, if you made it this far, thank you!  I realize it was tough since I led off with that honey of an awkward title.  By rights, it doesn’t seem to really fit in and probably will get ignored.  Sounds just about right for my generation.  And since the other generations greedily grab their pieces of the ever-shrinking attention pie, I think I’ll take a side street for a paragraph or two to speak for Generation X.  I’ll even take a page from the annoying clusters on either side of us and blame the surrounding generations for everything while absolving ourselves of any personal responsibilities!  How refreshing!

Think about it: we Gen-Xers heard magnificent tales about our grandparents struggling through the Great Depression and fighting in WWII while we knew we could never live up to them.  Then our Boomer parents reaped the unearned benefits that followed and did their darnedest to fritter away that prosperity, smoking bad weed while draped in multi-hued polyester, watching endless episodes of Love, American Style, finally being stupidly convinced that not only was Bad Company very hard rockin’ but also that Chicago didn’t really need a horn section. 

There should be a war crimes commission
for the atrocities this show caused.

Then right after Trapper Keepers, John Hughes movies, and the advent of rolling the cuffs of our stone washed jeans, Gen-X got bypassed by the pushy, excruciatingly whiny Millennials.  So, we resignedly put on our British Knights kicks and sadly bust-a-moved out of the away. 

To make matters worse, people kept right on reproducing, plunking out the irritatingly smug Gen-Zers that are now chomping at the bit for attention.  I know there’s something called Generation Alpha after them, but frankly, since we ran out of letters, we should just be done.  If better labels can’t be developed, simply let the human race die off.  (How about having future generations getting named like winter storms or hurricanes?  “I’m a part of Generation Leonard!  So, I think I know what I’m talking about, old man!”)

But let me copy something else from the Boomer/Millennial Guidebook and shamelessly get back to the subject of me.  This year I will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of my twenty-fifth birthday.  I will be halfway to 90 years old.  Or to make it sound even more classy and Lincolnian: I found myself becoming two and a quarter score old.  That certainly seems to be more dramatically epic, doesn’t it?  Like I’ve achieved something vaguely awesome like discovering that the city limits of Pittsburgh should be a ½ inch further out or being awarded a Golden Globe.  You know: accomplishing lackluster triumphs of trivial nonsense. 

Speaking of Belushi, the Ol’ Railsplitter himself knew how to toga party.

But this year I discovered three things that I couldn’t have imagined myself doing back when I was only in my second decade.  Progressing midway through my fourth, it would seem like I compromised the values I established as a rebellious Gen-X youth.  (Well, rebellious in the sense that I never truly watched Perfect Strangers, but I would covertly blend in with others that heartily chuckled about Cousin Balki’s antics.)  Maybe I’m overthinking this, but after reading this you’ll realize that I probably didn’t.

These are the three true turning points that made me realize that I am rocketing towards angry dispirited old fogey status faster than modern science can measure the rate that Boomers are draining our resources:

1)    The Haircut

At one time, dear reader, I was blessed to have a rock star-like mane atop my noggin.  Well, to be fair, if Robert Plant/Barry Gibb are on one end of the spectrum and Billy Corgan/Michael Stipe are on the other, I could plant myself firmly in the Tom Petty range with confidence.  Right around the 1978-1979 Damn the Torpedoes era, I think. 

Back then, I would sit down in the chair, confident that the haircut appointment was going to take some time.  I could then chat up my stylist, going over world affairs and examining complex social problems effecting the world at large.  It would be like the salons of olden days, as we engaged in debate and laughter, trading bon mots over a myriad of diverse topics.  There would be absinthe and cucumber sandwiches and various delights made from pine nuts, badger paws, and wild locusts.  We even affected faux-British accents whilst seated on the chaise lounges at the various verandas and lanais.  A truly decadent time indeed!

I looked pretty close to Tom Petty…but he looked pretty close to Joni Mitchell.

But now?  I sit down in the chair and there’s four quick scissor cuts.  By the time the sound of the last snip reverberates in the air, I’m dusted off and my wallet is 30 bucks lighter.  Next thing I know, I’m 15 miles away, suddenly finding myself crying silently in my car, wondering if I imagined the entire journey in the first place.  There were no verandas, as there wasn’t time.  Haircuts now happen so fast for me that I think the stylists are trying to beat their own time like a Vidal Sassoon NASCAR pit crew.  For the first time in my life, I am honestly thinking of getting a toupee.  Not that I feel any shame about my hairline, mind you.  I just want to make the stylist earn their tip.

2)    The Business Card Holder

I have never had a job before now that required the need for business cards.  Like Rolodexes and mimeographs, I always thought that business cards were an archaic device from a bygone era.  Also, the level of jobs I have had didn’t seem business card worthy.  Sure, I worked at the Mercury Marine plant, shipping outboard motor pistons to dealerships across the country, but I’ll warrant that my employment standing was not sexy enough to hand out little 2-inch slices of cardstock.  (Oh, don’t get me wrong, that job was sexy, just not business card sexy.)

I did see one true purpose for all business cards: throwing them into various restaurant/tavern drawings for a free dinner.  But even then, I couldn’t justify the cost of paying for random pieces of paper in the hopes that I might possibly hit the big time one day.  Besides, that expense would cut into my lottery ticket purchasing.  (I’ll pause here for irony reception.)

I didn’t choose this one because even though I’m the mostest, alas, I am not a Hostess.

Anyway, since I found myself in a job that uses business cards, I had several hundred thousand printed at an exorbitant cost.  (Hey, that rare Brazilian mahogany pulp doesn’t come cheap!)  Then I determined that I should splurge even further, so I did.  With that now accomplished, I then ascertained that there should be a business card holder at my desk.  After all, there might be business associates and/or stalkers that need to have my information handy on a piece of paper that they can toss out whenever they clean their wallets.  Perhaps they were a motivated go-getting soul, in which case they could find themselves throwing away my card even sooner!

I pored through Etsy, eventually finding a charming hand-crafted wooden business card holder.  It looks just darling and serves its purpose extremely well, which is more than I can say for myself.  After stocking it with my cards, I had the desk holder face me just in case I couldn’t remember the name of the almost 45-year-old schlub who decided that a handmade wooden business card holder was a good investment.  Yet that same schlub is in the running to get a free Box-O-Wings from the drawing at The Whistlin’ Pirate Alehouse, so there!   

3)     The Shoes

Despite the British Knights brand being hilariously referenced earlier, I never owned a pair of their footgear.  But as I did wear skater shoes for casual use for 20+ years, I realized it was time for a change.  For one thing, I have never skated.  Sure, my mother got me a skateboard once, but seeing through her clever plot to get me out of the way, ensuring that I would not be able to celebrate over four decades above ground, I never used it.  Aha!  Take that, Ma!

No matter the brand, Vans, Airwalk, Tony Hawk, Nancy Kerrigan, I wore the skating shoe lot.  I was determined to always let these shoes be my way of saying that I was still as hip as Kurt Cobain, only with worse aim.  However, I also discovered that wearing sorta-canvas barely glued to almost-soles was about as supportive as a bored high school guidance counselor.  The reoccurring limp combined with a sensation that I was always walking on sharpened broken glass compelled me to switch styles.

Oh, I tried looking for some comfortable skate shoes, but that’s like looking for a Bond movie without an explosion or for a delicious kale recipe.  So stubbornly, reluctantly, I looked through the men’s shoes that were in the “So, You’re Giving Up And Turning Into Your Dad” section of the store.  Selecting a pair of shoes, I located a changing room that was in a quiet, almost abandoned part of the store, behind the endless aisles of dusty unsold Last Jedi merchandise. 

Seems a shame to dust these off before they go to the landfill.

To my shock, the shoes…fit perfectly. Beyond that, they were comfortable, my feet discovering that they truly enjoyed having heretofore unknown arch support. With that taste of relief, I was now addicted. Finally, I could now tell the skating world that in the future I’d support them as much as a bored high school guidance counselo…oops! Seems that I used that one already. Hm. Oh well, being older makes me forgetful and lazy. Now, who are you again?

So in closing, this year I will be 45, which is one year older than being 44. Time to deal with reality, since fighting it takes one up to a new level of patheticism. As all Gen-Xers are aging quicker than a six-pack of Orbitz on eBay, can we just skip ahead to being crotchety old coots and crones? After all, since I already recreationally read about World War II, I might as well get a head start marking off items on the “So Now You’re Fifty” checklist. And why is that music so damn loud?! By cracky, in my day there were hair bands and grunge, and we were thankful! Back then, the flannel factories ran day and night, we devoured Bubble Tape by the square mile, and we drank Fruitopia by the metric ton!

And we loved it, sonny!

No, thank you, Canada!

Published by benjaminawink

Being at best a lackadaisical procrastinator, this is purely an exercise in maintaining a writing habit for yours truly. This will obviously lead to the lucrative and inevitable book/movie/infomercial deal. I promise to never engage in hyperbole about my blog, which will be the greatest blog mankind has ever known since blogs started back in 1543. I won't promise anything other than a few laughs, a few tears, and maybe, just maybe, a few lessons about how to make smokehouse barbecue in your backyard.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: