Birthday Blues

I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly, black leather papa chair in my living room trying to recover from having another birthday. I used to think that even noticing that you’ve had another birthday after the age of 21 can be depressing. But as Big Louie, the honcho of the Louie Louie Generation says in my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot, “Always remember the “Gratitude-Attitude.” There’s got to be something good about adding another year of wrinkled splendor. I guess you can say when you get to be this age, you never have to worry about dying young any more.

“Gratitude-Attitude.” There’s no question that my slick is slipping. I am no longer the captain of my Sunday Softball League team. I can still swing a pretty good bat, but I have been demoted from second base to first base…and those of you who play ball will understand. No more pop up slides either. I had that knee replacement, and the wobble hasn’t caught me yet. But when you’ve made a habit of thinking of yourself as kind of Prince Charming plus a few years, it’s sometimes hard to remember the Gratitude-Attitude.

I’ll give it a shot. I am grateful that I am not yet just a natural source of methane. And I have learned that life is too short to worry about how short life is. I have also learned how to make a perfect spaghetti ball with a fork and a spoon. I recently found out that if you put a saucer of milk on the floor, a cat will magically appear. I’ve learned the value of an old friend who invites my Lady and me over for the weekend…and we go out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and we compare fortune cookies and swap stories about some of the great Christmas Eves we had as kids…and some of the great Christmas Eves we’ve had with our own kids.

 It’s sometimes hard, but I know it’s important to remember the Gratitude-Attitude when your coffee cup says “Dad” in big brown letters, and the mirror says the same thing too…with lines on your forehead, a scar on your cheek, and hair that isn’t dark brown any more. Most of the time when you drink out of your cup that says “Dad,” or look in your mirror at that upper Louie Louie generation age guy, you feel like you’re still a kid playing at being a grown up. Then, you sit down at your computer and start doing your real grown up work. But some mornings while you’re shaving and drinking your coffee…there’s a problem. The kid inside starts laughing at the guy in the mirror with the Dad cup in his hand, and the lines on his forehead, and the silver streaks in his hair. In fact, some mornings, the kid laughs so hard that you start laughing too. And you both laugh so hard you spill your coffee.

But the kid inside was laughing, because he couldn’t ever imagine playing at growing up so he could sit down at that computer. He played at growing up to be the Lone Ranger. The masked rider of the plains. The guy with the big white horse and the silver bullets. You could swear you actually heard the kid saying…”Hey, Dad…with the coffee cup in your hand…what happened to the masked man I always wanted to be. When am I going to thunder down the trail with my big white horse and silver guns? When am I going to swoop down on the bad guys again, or scoop an innocent maiden out of the clutches of a fate worse than death. When do I start passing around the silver bullets, and ride into the golden west before anyone gets to say thanks?” But then…before you have a chance to explain, the kid runs outside to play…and you’re left standing there…with a coffee stain spreading on the floor. 

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast

1-     Why should you never go to a cookout given by a smart guy in a white lab coat?

2-     And why should you decline a flight in one of his airplanes?

3-     How can you tell if a shark is hungry ?

Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

It says in my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot that you’ve got to remember the Gratitude-Attitude. My buddy Kevin is a compulsive, competitive golfer. He was complaining to me yesterday about a new course he’s been playing. He says the fairways are too long, the hills are too steep, and the sand traps are too deep. I reminded him about the gratitude-attitude. I said, “At your age, just be grateful that you’re still on the right side of the grass.” There’s one of the few remaining record stores down the block from where my buddy Al lives. He was complaining about being so old that everything he liked in there was marked down to $1.99. I said, “Al…be glad you’ve still got $1.99.” There’s a story about the Gratitude-Attitude in the lovin touch Personal Audio CD. It’s called, “It’s A Parking Meter Life.” It’ about a “first morning together.”

I got lucky. That turned out to be just the first morning…watching her open her eyes…slowly…in the dawn light…turning the morning sky…blue. There have been tears on that pillow too…through all the years. And very personal smiles. And the first traces of sliver in her hair. I got lucky. That was just the first morning. And it might not ever have happened at all. But it did.

“It’s A Parking Meter Life” is from the lovin touch Personal Audio CD. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the lovin touch icon on the home page.

Another birthday. There’s an old song that keeps popping up in my head…it goes “Another year older and deeper in debt.” But gratitude-attitude. It also means lots of phone calls and cards and emails from some folks who figure I mean something to them. A very special smile from my Lady Wonder Wench. She knows the difference between who and whom, but she didn’t give me a hard time about it on my birthday. It means learning a few more things about this lumpy life. For example, there are lumps in the road, lumps in my oatmeal, and sometimes there’s a lump in my throat. And so far I’ve been able to get over all of them. You live and learn. Stuff like, loyalty should be the eleventh commandment. You never outgrow your love of Mickey Mouse and Road Runner cartoons. Some people mistake habit for love. And sometimes passion quiets down to tenderness…but not always. A biggie is that the sexiest thing you can wear is your self confidence. And it takes courage for a woman to wear a red dress, or for a man to carry her pocketbook in public. So…Gratitude-Attitude. If you break your mirror, and you’re getting old…hey…seven years of bad luck…be grateful…that means you have seven more years.

5 Responses to “Birthday Blues”

  1. Ellen Ferranti says:

    Happy Birthday from NYC!

  2. Betsy says:

    And it seems like the older you get, the faster it goes.

  3. sgtyukon says:

    1.Happy birthday

  4. sgtyukon says:

    1.Happy birthday Dick, and you don’t have to be dead to produce methane. I do it all the time.

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