Thursday, September 1, 2011

50: What I've Learned Thus Far

Simply surviving for a century is not, in itself, an accomplishment--I fully acknowledge that. But stick around long enough, and even the dimmest among us (i.e. me) are bound to pick up a thing or two along the way. Some of these are funny, some are sad, but “search your feelings…you know it to be true.” Rated PG-13 for mild language and adult themes:

Women are crazy, men are jerks. Forget Venus and Mars, and all those other pop psychology best sellers. I have just summed up for you the immutable condition of all male/female relationships since Eve first went produce shopping and Adam insensitively balked at what was laid out on the dinner table that evening. Jerk.

No good deed goes unpunished. Sad but true. Hold a door open for a lady? All of Clark County will follow through behind her while you stand there for a half an hour and miss your dermatologist appointment.  Yield to a fellow motorist at an intersection? The pickup truck behind you fitted with a six-inch lift kit and locomotive air horn is filled with coked-up skinheads on their way to their court –ordered anger management class. In the end, your heady act of beneficence will come back to bite you in the ass. But do the good deed any way.

Your mom was right. Every admonition, every prediction, every observation, every home-spun truism.  Everything she told you told you would happen has come to pass. She was like Nostradamus, Dear Abby, and a Farmer’s Almanac all rolled into one. But of course now its too late to sit up straight and eat your vegetables. You have chronic back pain and high cholesterol--you’re fifty, for chrissake…the damage is done.

A man is nothing more than the sum total of his various addictions. Coffee, sugar, heroin—what have you. Before you can even open your eyes in the morning, you must jump start your heart with black coffee laced with crystal meth, and come nightfall can unwind only after a bottle of scotch…and a Pabst. In between, its just donuts and Double-Doubles. And some of you are dropping those crumbs on your laptop keyboard while surfing internet porn or online gambling sites. The real sickos, of course, are checking the stats of their fantasy football team.

Are people basically good, or inherently bad? Neither. Both. None of the above. Whatever.  My expectation—my assumption—is that most people (my self included) will generally do what is expedient for themselves. Sound cynical? Sorry, but by age 50 the heart has become a little jaded. And yet, I am still na├»ve enough to be taken aback when someone does wrong, or pleasantly surprised when they do right.

Men walk through this world alone. While the average woman has a dozen or more close girlfriends there to support, validate, and commiserate with her daily on matters mundane to life changing, you yourself have exactly one friend and exhausted his patience sometime soon after freshman year of college. Still, he's always there to check you, cover for you, drive you home and dump you on the front lawn, and will rarely remind you about it later. Count yourself lucky.

I don’t care what you think. I’ve spent fifty years chasing after your approval, craving your acceptance, hoping that you’ll like me, pandering to your in-crowd, and trying to be cool. I no longer give a f*ck what you think. I am what I am, I like what I like, I do what I do. If you don’t like it, just move along.

God hears your prayers. And is having a good chuckle about  ‘em right now.