Each Sunday, we will travel the Globe in search for the most pious life changing Church signs… in the words of that inspirational World War 2 song, “Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition”
This is the week I turn 50, in the year I also turn 50. But before we go any further, I give you this….
This was me, and this was all of us, and still can be.. Today I ran on the beach with my dog, and this was still me…. In 3 days I will turn 50, significant only in the fact that is how we have decided to measure time, and it is a round number.
At 10, all I cared about was riding bikes and consuming large quantities of sugar and caffeine. At 20 I was in the middle of the lost fraternity years, celebrating my last year of drinking illegally. At 30 I was at the tail end of my marathon craze, running more miles in a week than most human’s life expectancies. 40 marked the first time I was surprised and ridiculed by a group of family and friends in celebrity roast fashion, minus the drug addictions and arrests that go with it.
So 50 looks like the middle ground, except it is not. Life expectancy for men now runs around 75 so if I have my math correct (and you know I do), I am two-thirds toast. 50 years from now it is doubtful that I will grace this planet in this physical form. I am hopeful to come back as a couch. Everyone can depend on you for sitting and I should get to watch most Super Bowls, if that is still going on.
I guess most people take stock of what they have done with their lives at age 50. To me looking at this is a relative thing. Let me give you 2 examples. Some guy sitting in a jail cell for molesting a giraffe on his 50th birthday can be quite appreciative of the quiet and all the free time that gives him to paint murals of clowns in heat. And the highest executive with all the money in the world can be miserable on his 50th birthday when his stock plummets 50 million leaving him with only 500 million.
It all comes down to perspective. I have a beautiful wife that I love more than ice cream that still laughs at most of the things I say, and knows when to “look away” when it is not funny. (which is never) She reminds me every day to take a look at that little boy and never let him get away. I have two kids that will carry my wit and wisdom well after I have turned into a piece of upholstery. If I have given them anything, I hope it is a sense of humor and wonder at what this planet can give you. The 3 of you, Angel, Rachele, and Anna, have made my life the best story I can ever write.
I will sit with that on my 50th birthday, and sit with it proud. And holy shit, I think I am sitting on my great grandpappy Leonard ! Looks like I come from a long line of couches…. Some families are made of royalty, others captains of industry. Mine appears to be furniture. Well I got that going for me, so on March 28, 2014 sit on your couch and think of me… And then take another look at that picture above because that is still me, as I refuse to grow old, and so should you….
This is a short story about a winter that is anything but short, and continues on well into March as I type with wind chills hovering at zero. Everyone on the east coast will appreciate this story, and if you live in a climate that has never experienced this type of winter, Don’t Ever Move !
The morning breaks, the wind howls, hibernation completely makes sense now as you wish you could go back to bed and wake up on the 4th of July. Working your way to the wood-stove, you know before you open it that the fire has gone out. And the first expletive starts the day…..
It has not snowed in days but the icy remains have not gone anywhere as you walk outside to get more firewood. The wind greets you with screams of terror as you open the door and almost fall on the 6 inch thick iceberg that has taken over your entire property. Shuffling your feet has become the mode of transportation as you gather enough firewood to choke a horse. You are guessing the temperature has to be below zero but your barometer may be off as your extremities have not been thawed since Thanksgiving. All that matters now is getting that fire going, more so than anything else going on in the world, including the Olympics in Russia where this year even THAT is a warmer climate. How the fuck did that happen ? Oh to be in Siberia in the winter where a balmy 10 degrees would feel like Spring Break. I hear there was a Spring Break movie filmed there but it was only 3 minutes long as the camera froze.
You fix yourself a nice bowl of sleet to warm up with, and gnaw on a carcass of fresh icicles as you wait for the fire to kick in. You consider placing your entire genital region directly on the wood-stove but reason takes over when you see it has started to snow. Hip Hip Hooray, it’s going to snow today ! The sun has not been out since Labor day, and the animals have all moved to Tampa Bay. You begin to think the world has ended as there is no sound outside save for the crunch of your shoes on snow, or was that your bones making that sound ?
Just when you think things cannot get any worse, you hear an announcement on the internet (that is always true) that Spring has been cancelled and has been replaced by the Ice Capades. I don’t fully understand that one either. I do know that it is sponsored by Alaska Airlines, when you want to get away from it all and truly warm up.
Finally, you crack from the cabin fever of it all and book a flight directly to the Sun as it is rumored that it is warmer there. It is one hell of a deal, but only offers one way flights. Oddly enough there are no reviews of this trip online, perhaps because no one has ever made it back.. You figure why the hell not and take only the clothes on your back , which consists of 16 layers of shirts, 5 pairs of pants, 65 socks and one shoe that is the size of Old Mother Hubbard’s place.
Our story ends with your flight being delayed due to ice on the wings, causing you to shout your 2nd expletive of the day just as the Ice Capades come on.
Now if that story does not warm you to the bone, feel free to sit your genitals on my wood-stove !!
Where’s he been ? What’s he been doing ? It’s been 8 months since we’ve heard from him, so what’s he been up to ? Is he dead ?
Was he in a coma ? Did he have amnesia ? Was he hibernating ? Did he become a monk ?
Did he join the convent ? Was he swallowed up by an earthquake ? Did he freeze to death in the woods of Winterfell ?
There are many questions to be asked, but none of them will be answered as it needs to stay a mystery. The reasons we write or do not write belong only to the writer, with the only true answer being “it was not the time”.
But NOW it is.. Join me in a journey that will span a lifetime, a journey of self discovery as we traverse the landscape of finding out how we get to who we are today. A journey back in time that shows us from birth, and shows the influences that affect us from day one, the memories that shape our personality, and the bad decisions we makes as kids that turn us into the messed up adults we have become.
None of us are perfect. And this book will be a shining example of why as we look back, and look ahead to “The year I turned 50”.