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!

Advice For Life

Life does not come with a set of instructions.  Around the time we learn to crawl, we’re taught what bites, what burns, what tickles and which farts just can’t be trusted — but after that, it’s all on-the-job training with live ammunition.  Unfortunately, without any guidelines we really never know how we’re doing.  Essentially, if life were a parlour game, we’d have no way to keep score or even know where we are on the board.  C’est le vie!

There are, however, a few tricks one learns along the way.  Since I’m a good guy who’s been wandering this world for a few years now, I’m going to pass a random sample along to you.  They’re in no particular order — because if I actually knew what was important in life, I’d write the book.

1 — A low-cut sweater will fix a bad hair day.

2 — Nobody is ever going to look at you the way women in yogurt commercials look at yogurt — get over it.

3 — You know you’re fat when people start saying “Have you lost weight?” Nobody ever says that to skinny people.

4 —  After high school you’re never going to use algebra again — ever.

5 — You know the relationship isn’t love when, during sex, you fantasize that your partner is someone else and, after sex, you fantasize you are.

6 — You’ve become an adult when your towels match.

7 — Eventually, every parent secretly eats a candy bar in the car, or the closet, or just around the corner so they don’t have to share it with their kids.  (So you aren’t a selfish bastard, after all.)

8 — You know you’re old when younger people talk to you in that tone of voice we all reserve for children and pets.

9 — Later on in life, nobody but you is going to give a rat’s ass how hot you were in college, so you might as well take the four years and actually learn something.

10 — If you’re over 26 and your job still involves extra pickles, you’re doing something wrong.

11 — The biggest lie you’re ever going to tell yourself is “I’ll remember that.”

12 — You know you’re rich when you don’t have to look at the prices on a menu.  You know you’re wealthy when you can do that at the car dealership.

13 — The difference between tragic hero/heroine and perpetual loser is five years.

14 — As you get older, Christmas comes faster and faster.

15 – There’s never going to be anything quite as cool as the other side of the pillow on a warm night.

And finally:

16 — The real secret to a happy and successful life is comfortable underwear.  But you need to have enough money to afford it and the good sense to buy it.

A Little Old Time Wisdom

There are tons of Old People Lists floating around the Internet.  They run all the way from old advertisements — with doctors smoking cigarettes — to lists of things that the world hasn’t seen since grandma was a baby.  Some of them have this smug undercurrent of “Things were so much better in my day,” but mostly they’re just harmless ways to play Remember When.   However, they all tend to unlock the inner dinosaur in those of us who remember a time before Google.  Unfortunately, none of these lists makes any mention of what it takes to survive the rigors of life and actually arrive at an age when you can afford the luxury of nostalgia.  Nor do they offer a list of all those neat little goodies we all pick up along the way — the tricks of the trade, so to speak.  Things like white shirts attract spaghetti sauce, and doctors are never on time.

It takes a lot to get old, and when you do, you need to stop every once in a while and congratulate yourself.  You finally made it, and now you’re old enough to know:

1 — Puppies are a natural antidepressant

2 — There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Somebody, somewhere is going to have to pay for that Happy Meal™.  And if you eat it, chances are good it’s going to be you.

3 — If it sounds too good to be true, just keep on moving — and don’t look back.

4 — Lincoln got it right.  You canfool some of the people all of the time, but no matter how good you are at doing that, eventually somebody, somewhere is going to say, “Wait a minute!”

5 — Integrity is what you do when nobody’s looking.

6 — The meek shall inherit the earth – if they have a big brother standing beside them with a stick in his hand.

7 — There is justice in the world, so be careful what you wish for.

8 — Nothing feels as good as warm socks on a cold day.

9 — Everybody says they want the truth, but sometimes, it’s not that pleasant when it actually shows up.

10 — The shortest distance between two points is a straight line — no matter how many times you think you’ve found a shortcut.

11 — The major difference between wise and smart is a couple of bad decisions.

12 — Most people simply don’t have enough money to get rich quick.

13 — We’re all in the same boat, but some of us are using a different paddle.

And finally:

14 — Like Polonius’ advice to Laertes, most words of wisdom are just made- up crap that sounds good.