I was born old.
You know the thing old guys say to young women to try to get them in bed? “You have an old soul.” Actually, that might be me. I’m the one with an old soul. I think it’s rarely some 22 year-old nailtech in a bikini who’s just sitting at the bar waiting for her ex-Marine boyfriend, Chad, to come back from taking a dump. But keep trying, Clarence. Us old guys gotta stay on it.
No. I was born old — or at least middle-aged. My dad was old. He was 53 when I was born. A man at age 53 in the 1960’s was like a man in his 80’s now. People didn’t expect a 53-year-old man to live much longer, nevermind to be starting a new family. Fifty-three wasn’t just middle-aged back then: It was almost creaky. Thus while other boys had dads who were just larger boys themselves, I had a creaky, cranky old guy who remembered having to wind-up record players by hand and to whom carbon paper was still a bit of a fascinating innovation.
This has effects on one.
Or maybe it was just the old sperm.
I have a son now. he was born when I was 38. That’s not very old, but when I’d take him to the mall in his baby-carrier people often thought I was his grandfather. That hurt a bit. But it’s not like I didn’t expect it. I was getting served booze at hotel bars when I was 15. That was cool. Being mistaken for a grandfather when I was 38 was the inevitable flipside. There’s always a flipside.
Flipside. That’s something an old guy would say.
Anyway, at 47 I’m reaping the benefits of having been old all my life. My oddly-stiff physiognomy now suits me perfectly. There’s really not much wrong with my body. All of the vast volume of flesh seems to function as expected. This is partially because I always felt too old to play football, or get too extreme on a skateboard, yo. Also, I seem to have grown into my cynicism. People who’ve only known me for a while probably assume I just started thinking like this a few years ago. No! Actually, I am more positive, open, carefree, bright, and loving of my fellow man than I ever was when I was twenty-two. I remember how I was back then every time I see one of those grumpy cat memes. Yeah. I was grumpy cat before there was a grumpy cat.
Screw you, grumpy cat. I was there first.
Anyway, the past year has been great. I’ve realized the crazy shit in my family-of-origin isn’t that much crazier than other families’ crazy shit. Well, maybe the time my mother racked a shotgun at my wife-at-the-time there at Christmas. That was weird. But other than that (and a few other things), it’s pretty normal — which is to say absolutely horrible in the way all families seem to be. Comforting! And even at my advanced age, I still frequently have these eureka moments in which truth is laid bare before me. I think my latest was when I realized women are often attracted to overly-confident men because they are artificially discouraged due to being women. Their natural self-confidence is undermined by society. It’s compensation, in a way. Those douchebags with the backwards baseball hats and the tats and the readiness for schoolyard confrontations about the relative merits of different brands of motorcycle exhaust pipes are seriously filling a need within them — if only for a while. Thing is, as the woman gets more confident, the less she needs Mr. Nitro Circus around her. By then, she’s looking for the nice guy. But by then, the nice guy has gone all gay and stuff. So sad.
So, pour one out for me wherever you are, homies. I was a forty-something at birth. And so I remain.