Sunday, May 24, 2009

Barbie will always be older than I am,

but just barely.

I reached a couple of milestones last week. First, I received my invitation to join AARP. Ironic, in the sense that I seriously doubt that I will ever “retire”; I seem to have inherited most of the physical characteristics of my shortest-living related predecessors, and the government keeps raising the retirement age. I figure that, if I should reach that age, there’ll be a campaign against “the other ‘R’ word” (yeah, small joke). Second, I started using a pocket protector at work. I have been putting it off for some time, oh, at least 12 years or so. The practicality of the object has finally won out over the nerd/geek/maintenance guy stigma. What it does is now more important than what it means. It actually suits my bifocals, when you think about it. Like it or not, I’m one of the old guys, now. You should see the punks they’re hiring, these days. “Smarten up!”, we tell ‘em. They don’t listen.

Achieving a new number with a trailing zero always seems to bring some reflection. It’s an opportunity, welcome or not, to catalogue the things that will forever be lost from your grasp, still remain in the realm of possibility, along with what you do have. These days, I am more content (as in contentment, not volume, ok?) than driven, due more to those around me than from within. I have been blessed in some wonderful and often unbelievable ways.

I would have liked to play a stadium, just once. I did get to perform in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., one time, but it wasn’t quite the same. 10,000+ people and my Vox Beatle amp to cover the room – not even a meaningless connection to the soundboard to make me feel better about it. It’s amazing, the memories that stick with you. It could still happen, of course, but I’d need to get busy. Short of jumping the stage and wrestling that ugly green axe from Adam Clayton’s hands in November, I don’t see it happening. I have played some amazing venues, even signed a few autographs. Back then, I hoped they were IOU’s for a future payoff.

I’d have liked to have seen more of the world. I’ve seen a bunch, but still. It’s true that I’ve often traded insecurity for security, and I’m comfortable with that. Yes, I’m trying to be funny; that’s a funny sentence.  Read it out loud and it’ll be funnier.

One of the things I’ve learned is that I can pick through all of the yardsticks that exist in the human grid, and come up short. I’m not the tallest, wisest, richest, most intellectual, no great talent; I sit squarely near the middle along the bell curve of my species. I do have a few gifts, and I find most pleasure by trying to give them at my best. I’m my harshest critic, most competent and least productive therapist, and, the older I get, more and more grateful for those who bless me with their gifts of time, attention, love, and care.

Me, me, me. Blah Blah Blah. Thanks for reading. Thanks for your friendship and love, some of it crossing seas, continents, and even the difficulties of us both speaking English. I’m now in the running to be considered one of your oldest friends. You’ll just have to be more patient, more often, while I explain how it used to be.