At this distance, sixty doesn’t appear to be looking too much like the new forty.
It’s getting close – I turned 59 last April spending my birthday as I usually do, buying new auto registration stickers on the expiry date of the old ones because I’m all about value. Just the kind of guy I am. I also ran around wrapping up my tax return because I want to squeeze all the value I can out of the tax department staffers. Just the kind of idiot I am.
As for actual celebration, it was shaping up to be as festive as Kol Nidre. My kids were in LA so I had to do without the perfunctory gift card from Golf Town and a dinner out at an organic restaurant of my daughter’s choice. I didn’t bother mentioning it to the “Old Man” lest he gives me that familiar look of sadness and disappointment he reserves, deservedly, for his ne’er-do-well eldest. I couldn’t very well start complaining to him that I was entering my 60th year. He’s going into his 90th and complains only about the parking rates at the hospital where he was getting some radiation treatment for some topical cancer that, according to his specialist, “…wasn’t life threatening…”. I think, at that age, life is life threatening.
Being single I just couldn’t foist my fear and loathing on any of the women in my ‘harem’ so to speak. (Please play along here because my long married friends think I have the love life of Derek Flint.) My close friend ‘Uncle Benny’ managed to treat me to lunch at one of the “old boys” clubs downtown, the habitué of establishment men who look like they came out of a yachting magazine that covers only craft of a length of a hundred feet or more. I got there early and informed the hostesss that the reservation was under ‘Howell, Thurston the third’. Didn’t go over well.
I was grateful for the experience. It was new, just as is this cathartic public journal recording the ebb and swell of the seas as I try to navigate myself into a third act. Or just fine a place to dock.
Stay with me and you will meet my personal trainer under whose guidance I have perfected the “palliative workout’. Let it be known that I have a bum knee that gives me the gait of Walter Brennan on The Real McCoys. It screams for a replacement to which I have yet to commit.
I will spin the medical “duty wheel”. I will try to retrofit my wardrobe in a climate where the local haberdasheries seem to be stocking only two sizes, ‘Gay’ and ‘Extra Gay’. (Fellas, c’mon, you know that’s the only way that joke could have gone. Besides I can just hear the uproar ‘DID HE JUST STEREOTYPE US AS SKI…? Wait a minute.’)
You will meet my golf game, my car and my circle of weirdness. You will be regaled with stories from my new passion – scuba diving – which I thought I took up to experience the underwater world of Jacques Cousteau. And because chicks dig wet suits. And because nobody can call you at a depth of 80 ft.
I will mourn – people I knew, like my buddy Irwin whose number was called quite suddenly last year. He was a big guy who left a big space in many lives. People I didn’t know too well like David Brenner who was a terrific comic back when my sister was a comic in New York. She’s no longer around too. You will know her too. We’ll discuss TV, mostly in the past tense because I watch very little these days outside of old Seinfelds – for good reason – and Mad Men because I grew up exactly during the show’s timeline. A recent episode visited the old Electric Circus in New York on St. Mark’s. My parents took me there when I was a kid. “There are places I remember…” sangeth The Beatles.
I fall asleep in movies although the irony is that I am in the friggin’ film business. The ass end of it but still very much in it. I restored the old Canadian hockey movie Face Off a couple of years ago for no apparent commercial reason but mainly because I hadn’t seen in 40 years. I am nostalgic for nostalgia. We will rock to my favorite song – I Wish It Could Be 1965 Again by The Barracudas.
Seriously, however, who thought up this “Sixty Is The New Forty” crap? What kind of society do we live in that we have to come up with delusional “new math” of aging in order to mentally stave off the inevitable. I had a grandmother in Miami Beach who died on the dialysis machine at 92. The day before was 92 the new “70”? I don’t believe so. And if sixty is the new forty then shouldn’t I be going through another midlife crisis? My God, how many convertibles and baseball caps can I buy?
The cholesterol pills I don’t take enough of don’t feel like forty, nor do the colonoscopies and dental excavations. How about this – lying about your age so you can buy seniors tickets at the movies and having nobody call you on it!!!
Look there are moments. On a very good evening 60 can be the new 38. However there are days at the gym where 60 is the new 84. When I am with my daughter 60 is the new 12 and enrolled in Special Ed. When I am with the old man 60 varies from 16 – that afternoon when he spent ten whole minutes trying to teach how to ride a motorcycle – to about sixteen and a half. Such is the relationship.
Time is precious no matter what the age and I plan to make the most of it – from rebuilding relationships to restoring my faith in mankind to reinvigorating some passion to revisiting times good, bad and instructive. To hug when its appropriate and maybe when its not. To laugh at no one else’s expense except my own, to rebrand, rework and renew. Its going to be a ride and if you want in, I might ask you to kick in for some gas. I haven’t written competitively in 25 years so be kind. Tips are appreciated – no cash just advice.
Just in case you were worried the 59th birthday was rescued by a nice blonde and not a moment too soon. That night 60 was nowhere in sight. I am throwing a little something for me next month because nobody appears to be stepping up. Film at eleven.