It was my birthday the other day. It was a pretty good birthday. They don't thrill me like they used to, birthdays. I'm sure that's true for a lot of us. I don't get horribly depressed by them or anything like that, but all the same, it's "just another day" and age is "just a number" and you're "only as old as you feel" and all that shit. Give me my present, and let's move on.
The men in my family have a sick sense of humor. Well, before I trash them, let me give Peter and Zack and Everett credit for getting me Bacon of the Month Club for my big day. I mean, I basically told them flat-out what I wanted. But this time they actually listened, and more importantly, followed through on it. And it wasn't cheap. And since Peter gets the vapors these days if I so much as put a quarter in a gumball machine, I appreciated it all the more. He's come a long way since the kite and the kitchen magnets he got me for my first birthday after we were married. (I kid you not.) Like most men, if you give them very careful and very specific instructions, they generally do OK. I'll give credit where credit is due. But back to the sick sense of humor part.
After my Sunday birthday, which capped off the long Thanksgiving weekend (when I was little, I waited for years for the day that Thanksgiving would fall on my birthday, before I finally realized it was mathematically impossible) I returned to work on Monday. Back to the grind. After a long day of enduring the tense atmosphere of the workplace thanks to the Department of Ed reps "in da house" reviewing us, I came home to nap off a mild headache before having to return to the school to give a report at the monthly Parents' Association meeting that evening. On the way there, I scraped the side of my van against a double-parked delivery truck. Waaahhh! The meeting, once it started, became somewhat rancorous over various things that worried the parents and those discussions went on for almost an hour before we even got to my little nickel-and-dime report. Once the mommas settled down, and I got my chance to speak, I ran back to my scratched-up van and headed home. To the comfort of home and hearth. Ahhhh.
My cell phone rang as I entered the building. Peter. I couldn't pick up, no service as I was getting on the elevator. Turns out he was home already, anyway.
"Damn," he said, with the phone still in his hand, as I walked in the door.
"Hello to you too," I replied.
"I was hoping to remind you to pick up some sugar," he said suggestively. Peter is Viennese, he needs his sugar.
"Well, it's a shame you didn't catch me before I got all the way upstairs then," I said, as I pulled off my coat and shoes in a decisively day-concluding "I'm-not-turning-around-and-going-back-outside-for-your-sugar" fashion.
Zack was waiting eagerly nearby, next to the table we throw all our stuff on as we come through the front door. Doesn't everyone have one of those? ("I dunno where it is! Look on the table!!")
"Mom, the mail's here!"
I should mention here that Zack has never once in his life concerned himself with the mail, unless his wrestling magazine is overdue. Peter suddenly forgets his sugar crisis and chimes in, "Oh yes! Here's the mail!" He gestures like he's Vanna White or something.
"Yeah? So?" I crank. I snatch the envelope from Zack's hand as he takes two quick safety-seeking steps backwards. I look at the envelope.
I look up at them. I look down again. Re-read the envelope. I calculate my age in my head. I do it again. Maybe I'm older than I think? Nope. I yam what I yam.
Which is most definitely not AARP material. Peter is standing there trying not-so-terribly-hard to conceal a smirk, as is Zack, who has no real idea of what's so funny from the male sick-sense-of-humor angle, but is looking sideways at Daddy for approval.
I open the envelope and have a look. There's a card in there. A membership card. An old fart membership card. That they expect me to put in my wallet and carry around.
And there's an invoice in there. $12.50 a year. They actually want to charge me for the privilege of being designated an official old fart.
Peter and Zack wait quietly by, still a-smirk, as I look at this...this.....stuff. I stand there for a moment and heave a heavy sigh before I finally find the words.....
I'll clean it up here, but rest assured, my tirade was peppered with such four-letter words as I haven't used in the same sentence since the local anesthesia wore off after the bone spur surgery on my right foot. After each expletive I'd turn to Zack, "Excuse me, Zack!" which only cracked him up even more.
"What is this? What is this?? I'm not fifty! I'm not %@$*&% fifty! You're supposed to be
%@*^%*#ing fifty to get this shit in the mail, aren't you? I'm not retired. Who can think about retiring at this age?? Paul, you didn't get this until you were %$*@&@ing fifty, right? Right?? Why am I getting this now? Do they know something I don't know? Do they need the money? Are they gonna start sending out memberships to college students next, @*&%$*@ it?? And who's this on the card? "William D. Novelli, CEO." How the hell does William D. Novelli %@$*&^%ing know how old I am?? How the f*@&%$@ old is William D. Novelli??"
I am NOT joining AARP. I don't need their 10% discounts at Hertz rent-a-car, or "second entree half off" deals at Applebee's or whatever the f@&%$@ they are offering me. I don't want to know about, nor contribute to, the lobbying they do in DC for the real old farts rattling around in this country. When I am an old fart, then maybe I will. But don't try to drag me in now, Mr. Novelli, because I ain't going!!
Maybe I'll start my own organization, I have some ideas.
* The "Those of Us who still look OK with a Little Effort" Association.
* "Coalition of Employees who Want to go Home Early."
* The "Don't Touch That!" Society.
* "Hot Bacon-Lovers of America."
* "I Don't Dust Enough" Anonymous.
* "Schmoozers Unlimited."
* "An Appletini a Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away" Club.
I could go on, because my brain is working, I have plenty of energy, and I am not retired. If I want to define myself, I will do it myself, thank you very much!
Eff off, Mr. N.