Then you realize … you’re the old guy at the party
Realizing I was getting “older” didn’t all happen at once.
It was a gradual unfolding of occurrences over and over and over again until I slowly and with great hesitation began to accept them as reality. (By which I mean drank heavily and began closing my eyes when I walked by mirrors. Oh, how I wish that weren’t true.)
I will never forget back in the early 2000s when I was still rocking bleach blonde hair and a sweet Guy Fieri spike and spatula.
One of the waitresses was waiting for her food in the window between the cook’s station and the front of the restaurant while I put the order together and she said “Looks like your hair is starting to thin.”
I laughed and said that, no, I just have really fine hair. And that the gel made it look that way.
I really-honestly-seriously-and-for-true had no idea I was losing hair.
It wasn’t until I took to shaving my head for a few years and then let it grow back that I was treated to a balding patch on the front right side of my forehead.
I was dumbfounded, flabbergasted, even flabberfounded! You get the idea.
I’m pretty sensitive about my hair, so it took some years before I allowed myself the realization that the thin patch was not going to thicken back up.
My hair had a one-way ticket to the shower drain and there was no getting it back—regardless of what Joey Fatone promises.
Slowly, I began to notice other symptoms of this syndrome we call middle-age.
As I am wont to do, I compiled a list of things that tipped me off to my life change.
SIGNS OF MANOPAUSE
- I began using the phrase “The young people.” (Now it’s just part of my working vocabulary.)
- I get more excited about new snow tires than I do about sex.
- I make noise every time I get out of a chair or bed or fart.
- At the end of the day, a body part, like an arm or leg, just stops working so well. And, and when I’m tired, I walk like a cartoon old person.
- I have begun thinking about how I’ll fall in different scenarios.
- I try to plan how I’ll land if I slip in the tub or on the icy driveway or the steep basement stairs. I never worried about falling when I was a kid, but a broken hip or twisted knee could really cause me trouble.
- And, the older you get, the better chances there are that a fall could kill you. (Those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials ain’t so funny now, are they smart-ass?)
- Naps. Also known as “you’re too old to get through the day without sleeping.” Turning into a giant newborn, a very real part of manopause.
- Butterscotch starts to taste really good. Admit it (if you are over 40), you’re getting horny just thinking about it.
- I realized snoring can kill you.
- Sleep apnea is no joke.
- Now when I see the Three Stooges doing their loud obstructive snoring routine I yell at the screen: “Wake up! You’re suffocating!”
- I’ve begun planning my day around bathroom trips. I know I can’t do any interviews before 9 a.m. because there is a chance I’ll be on the pot when they call back.
- Everyone under 30 seems to be an idiot. (I suspect this one is more than just a feeling.)
- 18-year-olds look like babies. How was I supporting a woman and child when I was 19? It just doesn’t seem possible. (Oh yeah, I was doing it badly.)
- Old people don’t look as old as they used to, and they don’t look at me suspiciously any more. It’s almost like I’m becoming one of them. (One of us. One of us. Gooble gobble!)
- Toenails become like heat-treated glass. And, if left unattended, can also kill you.
- New found obsession with with the weather. Never used to care about the forecast. Just figured it was going to do whatever it was going to do. But, now? I mean, have you seen what they’ve done with the Weather Channel? It’s amazing.
- Dessert has become a mandatory part of supper.
- I’ve begun to call dinner “supper.”
- I head into the shower with the care and preparation of a mountain climber, knowing each trip could be my last. (See also: falls kill)
- I pay more attention to the obituaries than I used to. (Wracking up silent victories over everyone I’ve outlasted.)
- I finally “get” jazz.
- I still bitch about my taxes but I secretly realize their necessity.
- Music that came out when I was a kid is now being played on the oldies station. (This one irks the shit out of me!)
- I keep catching myself telling the same few stories over and over again. But, with a little luck and a few years, I won’t be able to remember that I’ve told the stories before, and people will be too polite to tell me they’ve heard them before.
- The only problem is, I keep catching myself telling the same few stories over and over again.
- Birthdays look less like Christmas and more like toll booths on the way to the graveyard.