Age Is Only A Number

Bullshit!  You ever notice that the people who are constantly saying, “Age is only a number” are spouting that nonsense from the relative ignorance of a very low one?  It’s like saying, “Wine is only grape juice” when you’re a teetotaler.  The truth is, when you’re 26 – yeah — age is only a number; but when you’re 62 – nope — it’s real!

Here’s how the numbers work.

When you’re young (fresh out of the womb/shiny and new) numbers are important.  As you accumulate numbers, you get stuff (kinda like a video game.)  And the bigger the number, the more cool stuff you get.  You get to walk, you get to talk, go to school, cross the street, ride a bike, choose your own clothes, etc., etc.   And this just keeps going on and on, and it’s a grand time.  And pretty soon you’ve got enough numbers to get a handle on what life’s all about.  But then, just when you think you’ve got it covered, along comes this blast of hormones that knocks you on your ass.   

When puberty hits, the numbers grind to a halt.  For the next 5, 6 and sometimes 7 years, no matter how many numbers you collect, your life remains on hold.  You can see it just beyond the bars of your post-pubescent prison, but every time you reach for it, you get stopped cold by those two famous phrases: “You can do that — when you get older.” and “You’ll understand — when you get older.”  “When you get older” is an infinity away … but, fortunately, the numbers keep coming — and pretty soon you’re 20.

Whoa!  Out of the blue, life is great again.  The numbers are your friends.  Every time they show up, you get more cool stuff.  You get money and alcohol and ice cream (whenever you want it!) and sex (in a real bed!) and the hangovers are manageable and sleep is optional and the world loves you — cuz you’re young and smart and hot and totally cool … and OMG! can this get any better?  It’s no wonder that when we’re 20-somethings, we celebrate every new number as if we’re gladiators with free tickets to the orgy.  The world is sweet, and we’ve got Dionysus on speed-dial.  But in the midst of this bacchanalia, a weird thing happens.  The numbers start getting sneaky.  They start travelling in packs and showing up uninvited.  Until … one day we wake up and a decade or so of our numbers have disappeared, and we realize we’ve been spending the last few years washing somebody else’s underwear, talking insurance premiums (like that matters?)  And – holy crap! — that’s our minivan in the driveway.

This is the part where the numbers start piling up for no apparent reason.  Hangovers are tougher, sleep isn’t optional (but sex is) and if you eat that ice cream, your pants won’t fit.  But the real problem is you can’t tell which number is which because the difference between 42 and 46 is — uh — there is no difference!  WTF?  But then, just when you start asking yourself, “Is that all there is?” a miracle happens.

You discover you’ve finally got enough numbers for the bonus round.  And you didn’t know it, but this is what you’ve been waiting for.  Oh, yeah!  You’ve achieved numerical superiority over most of the people on the planet, and suddenly, you’re running the show.  You don’t do so many stupid things anymore, you make a lot fewer bad decisions and you don’t worry about stuff that doesn’t matter.  But, most importantly, you couldn’t care less what other people think of you.

It’s like winning the lottery!

No, folks: age isn’t only a number – it’s a reward!

Me VS The Machine

Yeah, I’m back!  What started out as a two-week hiatus to tweak my blog turned into a six month life-and-death struggle with technology.  It was man versus the machine, and the machine had me outgunned and surrounded.  (Now I know how John Conner felt.)

The problem was (and still is) that I’m a man of the 20th century, and two decades into the future I just haven’t caught up.  Let me put this into perspective – the difference, in years, between 2022 and 1990 (when I still thought I was cool) is the same as the difference between 1990 and 1958!  No wonder I have no idea what’s going on.  I’ve become my grandfather trying to understand television. 

In the beginning, everyone from YouTube to the teenagers at BestBuy said it was easy to upgrade my blog — get a new theme, add stunning graphics, put in add-ons and plug-ins and an endless supply of apps.  Lying bastards!  I clicked one icon (I swear it was one icon) and all hell broke loose.  Suddenly, my Cyber-presence (is that even a word, anymore?) looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus, and I was the one lashed to the mast.  Three or four days and a variety of increasingly creative obscenities later, I knew I needed professional help — but that just made things worse.  Every time I tried to explain or get some answers from the techies, I felt like a medieval peasant asking the priests for directions to heaven.  And no matter how faithfully I followed their instructions, I kept finding myself further and further away from salvation.  For the next few weeks (that turned into months) I alternated between unholy despair and increasingly creative curses on everyone from Johannes Gutenberg to Bill Gates.  I thought (seriously) about just pulling the plug – all of them – even the toaster.  Because, believe me, rock bottom has a basement.

But we folk of the 20th Century are made of stern stuff.  Yeah, the 2000s have crazy jihadists, Vladimir Putin and this petulant pandemic, but I survived Disco, Cabbage Patch Dolls and 80s slang (gnarly?) so the Taliban, Vlad and Covid, don’t scare me – and, come to find out — neither does omnipotent technology.

“You’re not God, you pile of plastic and silicone!  In another life, you’d be somebody’s fake boob.  I run this keyboard.  And don’t you forget it!”

And in one glorious act of liberation, I swept the carnage into a separate folder and deleted it.  So, from here on in, I don’t care about URLs, SEOs, analytics, portals, platforms, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, cuz I finally remembered one thing.  On the other end of my computer screen, there’s a person – not an algorithm!

It’s 2022.  Happy New Year, everybody!

Questions!

Unless you’re four years old, Seth Rogen or the Big Lebowski, you don’t have a lot of time to lie around the house and wonder why.  Adults, who aren’t permanently affixed to 4/20 self-medication, learn to take a few things on faith.  After all, “why?” is a pretty open-ended question and much if it, without herbal encouragement, isn’t worth the trouble.  For example, I don’t know why there are 8,000 different kinds of pasta, and, honestly, I don’t care.  I’m sure somebody knows the difference between linguini, fettuccini and all of other “inis,” out there, but it ain’t me.  However, there are times when our inner child does escape on a Friday morning and, over a second cup of coffee just wonders why.

During automobile commercials, when the car speeds up, why are the wheels turning the wrong way?  I’m no fan of physics, but that’s impossible.

The Ancient Greeks believed in a pantheon of gods who lived on Mount Olympus.  Mount Olympus is only 3,000 metres high.  Why didn’t somebody just climb the mountain and look?

When anti-religious people get upset about religious symbols like burkas and crucifixes, why doesn’t anybody ever mention yoga pants?  Honestly, we should do something about yoga pants.

Why television advertisements for hearing aids don’t have subtitles.  It seems to me they’re missing their target audience.

Why, after a murder, it’s always some jogger who finds the body.  I don’t trust joggers — uh — or people who walk their dogs, either.

Why single women in romantic comedies all have crap jobs but fabulous apartments full of cool furniture.  And how — exactly — are they paying for all this?

Why vegans always announce they’re vegan at parties.  Are they worried somebody’s going to accidently drop a pork chop in their drink?

Why English actors can sound like they’re American but, when American actors try to do a British accent, they all sound like they’ve got a carrot up their nose.

Why do people use the phrase “funny as hell.”  By all accounts, Hell isn’t the least bit funny.

Why Nala from The Lion King and Maid Marian from Robin Hood aren’t Disney princesses.  I think it’s a clear case of species-ism (specaphobia?)

Why a stress ball isn’t for throwing at people who stress you out.

Why algebra?

Why everybody cheers for the early bird but nobody has any compassion for the early worm.

Why people watch horror movies.  I fail to see how scaring the bejesus out of yourself passes for “entertainment.”  And that goes double for scary rides at the State Fair.

Every year, charities spend thousands and thousands of dollars making television commercials to solicit donations.  Why don’t they take the big money they’re spending on film crews, transportation, actors, actresses and TV time and just give it to the people they’re trying to help?

Why don’t psychics ever win the lottery?

And finally, two of my favourites:

If Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is correct and there is natural selection, then why, after 50,000 years of human history, are there still so many stupid people kicking around?

Why, when you can pretend to be anything you want on social media, people choose to be stupid.