I’ve been hesitant to use my own life and insecurities as fodder for my column in recent weeks. Having one’s own words used against them in court will make a person reluctant to reveal too much personal data. This I discovered the hard way for the better part of a year.
But just as the moth cannot resist the flame in the dark of night, I find myself wanting to eviscerate myself in the public forum yet again. What this obsession really says about me, I don’t even want to analyze. I’ll leave that up to those who might be overjoyed to satisfy their own desires to yet again confirm the belief that I am fatally flawed, which of course, I heartily admit in the hopes of avoiding further litigation based on my own admissions.
But enough about them. Space in my column is precious.
The crux of my angst revolves around my birthday. Not just any birthday, mind you. In a little less than three weeks, I will hit the big 5-0. This is the one that usually indicates you are closer to the proverbial finish line than the starting block. In my case, that’s not true, of course. I’m going to be the first person in the history of human kind to evade death, if for no other reason than to aggravate my sister and ex-wife for the rest of their days on Earth. Petty, I know. But I did say I was fatally flawed.
In the very unlikely event of my demise, I have asked my friends to gather around my lifeless body for five days in an attempt to resurrect me by any means possible. According to millions of people around the world, this feat has been accomplished once before, so there’s no reason to believe it can’t happen again, right?
Miracles aside, this age barrier thing has really taken up more mental energy than I ever imagined. And so I got to thinking: if I can’t avoid becoming consumed by my own mortality, the least I could do is offer some advice to those who are about to walk in my worn-out old boots.
Prepare to be freaked out by old high school friends posting pictures of their grandchildren on Facebook. One minute you are the hipster at the unknown dive bar in Hollywood and the next you are sending congratulatory comments to a buddy who now wants to be called Grampy.
Ignore talk around the water cooler with younger coworkers bragging about their wild weekend in Baja. You’ll want to tell them about the last time you occupied a bar stool at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada. Then you will recall it was in 1986 — about the time some of your work mates were getting out of diapers.
You’ll watch shows like the Grammy awards in disbelief, wondering how it is that the Beach Boys, whose vinyl records you bought when they were first released, are reuniting together for their 50-year anniversary. Didn’t they just play Anaheim Stadium in 1977?
Movie trailers offer no consolation as they tout the rerelease of “classics” like “Star Wars” in 3D. You vividly remember waiting in line at the Chinese Theater when the very first “Star Wars” debuted with some unknown actor named Harrison Ford.
The ride to work is a festival of angst as you see an ad for Roger Waters, who is reprising The Wall concert at the Coliseum in May. A few minutes ago it was 1980 and you were in the audience with one of the prettiest girls in high school at the Sports Arena when Pink Floyd played.
You’ll need Prilosec. Your body won’t recover as quickly from a couple of martinis. The person looking back at you in the mirror has gray hair, wears glasses and now sports a wrinkled forehead.
You will be more cynical than ever. But you’ll also be more cognizant of how precious and fleeting things are. With a little luck, there might even be a little more money in your bank account than when you were in college to enjoy the things that matter.
Sure. You might creak, moan and gripe. But if you can fight through your anxiety, you may just resolve yourself to accept that it’s OK to be getting older.
Because the alternative is really not much better.
GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at email@example.com.