Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Unavoidable Inevitable

Time is a royal pain; it's a pain in several prominent places, which I need not mention, and the more time that passes, the more places upon which it inflicts pain.

Now, in theory, this is perfectly alright (though I'd like to know according to exactly who) because it's happening to everyone else at the same time and at the same rate. On a practical basis, we know that this is nonsense. Clearly, time affects some people more than others, or, at the very least, it sure seems to hit some faster than others.

In a month, this will be demonstrated aptly. Though I should like to deny it, that's when my 30th high school reunion will be taking place. Mind you, I'm not actually old enough for that to be the case; simply put, time has ravaged me less than a lot of the others, to which I can attest based on my observations at the 25th reunion.

At this point, everyone might as well throw in the towel. Face it, friends, you've lost all the weight you're going to lose (if you were trying), you can't get a new toupee in time, getting a real tan (as opposed to those awful bronzing products, which turn your skin a color that screams "Carrot Top") is out of the question, and all that dental work you've been putting off is beyond your reach. The window for plastic surgery has been slammed shut, which isn't going to help those arthritic fingers. The best you're going to be able to do is to get your hair colored, and at our age, the cosmetic lie is both gratuitous and obvious.

Look, everyone is going to feel like they're under a microscope and that every little flaw and telltale sign of age will be lit up like a whored-up Christmas tree. Let me put everyone's mind at ease and settle this question right now: Suck it up, it's true. Of course they'll notice! The majority of the memories that we all carry of one another are, uh, of a fine vintage. Personally speaking, I think some of us look a lot better now. I might even say so to some of those people. But not all of them, because deep down inside, warping my perspective and sense of reason on the issue, I'll be jealous and angry.

Then again, I have my own advantages with which to coddle myself, to engage in a sense of denial and convince myself that they far outweigh the less-than-desirable changes that have occurred over the years. The fact that I still have all my hair will upset a lot of guys. No, I'm skipping the dye job. It's about 15% grey, and I can live with it. Women tell me it looks "distinguished", and for the sake of vanity, I choose to believe them. Since I avoid the sun like the plague (unless wearing SPF 2000 sunscreen), I have no wrinkles on my face. That'll hack off a lot of the women, who will regret the sun-worship of their youth. What else? Uh, reach for it.... no arthritis, though it would be a terribly low blow to mock someone for it, and even I won't stoop that low. I'll be among the approximately 27% who've never been divorced, and to my great relief at this point in my life, I don't have grandchildren yet, which I know that some of my former classmates do. You cannot avoid being grown-up and expected to act like it if you have grandchildren. Thanks, I'll be glad to wait.

Forgive me if I choose not to dwell on my "debit" qualities, but that's what denial is all about, isn't it? I just hope things don't devolve into uncharitable comparisons of what everyone has "achieved in life". This isn't fair because life is not fair, and nobody should be looked down on because they haven't had any of the lucky breaks that others have. It's also a mistake to interpret another person's life goals in terms of your own. You can't presume to know what makes another person tick; hell, I don't even know what makes me tick.

Actually, that isn't true. However, some of my proudest achievements on Maslow's pyramidic hierarchy won't make sense to most people, and I'm at a loss for an effective way to explain a lot of it. Fortunately, there's always the excuse that I'm an artist, and artists are legally exempt from having to explain themselves.

No, I intend to have a good time, and try my best not to worry about what other people think about me. Besides, some of my energy will be spent tracking down members of the reunion committee, as I've a bone or two to pick with them. It's faboo that they've taken the initiative, time, and expended the energy to arrange the reunion, and I give them their due kudos for it. However, the theme of this reunion is Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise". Would that I were making it up. At least I won't have to worry about dressing nicely (a thing I hate to do); the official garb is cargo shorts, flip-flops, and Hawaiian shirts (the latter I have yet to find). And therein lies my last advantage where inevitable comparisons are concerned:

I do have pretty nice legs.

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