I was perusing Yahoo! news this morning and came across an article about funny/mean things that people have put on tombstones and I was reminded that my birthday is this week. I’m turning 38. For those of you who are not good with math, me turning 38 means that I’m only a couple of years away from needing to contemplate what I want on my own tombstone.
I’m kidding. Mostly. Besides thinking about what my tombstone should say, turning 38 has led me to contemplate a lot of things about myself and life in general. For brevity’s sake, I will reduce “a lot of things” to the following five contemplations (in no particular order):
- The Number 40
- Fantasy Football
- Journey of Life
For those of you who read this blog regularly you know that I rarely write any posts that are serious (unless, of course, it has to do with my shoelaces) but in regards to item #1, hair, I find that there is no humor in the subject. As I’ve grown older my hair has become transient. It no longer stays on my head but instead has started a downward journey wherein, like an unwanted relative showing up on your doorstep on Christmas, it peeks out of my ears, nose (both inside and out) to see how much longer they have to go to make it to their only possible destination: my feet. I expect that in less than five years I will have feet that are hairy enough to require me going to a dog grooming service. My only real defense against this hair migration is to shave my head but even this only delays the inevitable transition to having the feet of a wolfman and requires an inordinate amount of work on my part: getting out the shaver, shaving my head, cleaning up the three or four hairs that I managed to shave off before they left my head and then an hour of crying for what once was a full-head of a hair (so much so that, at one point, I was able to even grow a mullet). My mullet-headed days seem nothing more than a dream to me now (long sigh).
Speaking of dreams, I used to have dreams of what I would do in life, they were fairly realistic too. In my younger days I used to dream of being a football player for the Chicago Bears and, in my 5 foot, 85-pound NFL-ready frame, I would follow in Walter Payton’s footsteps as one of, if not the, best running back to ever play the game. Like most of my other extremely realistic dreams (astronomer, physicist, screenwriter and brewer) this dream, through no fault of my own, didn’t come to fruition. Instead of being a 38 year-old ex-football player who can’t walk or remember a single play in my storied 14-year career I , instead, became an accountant who wishes he couldn’t remember a single journal entry that I booked; especially the entries that contained the number 40.
The number 40 holds a certain amount of trepidation for me. Nothing good comes from the number 40. If you don’t believe me just look at the following well-researched examples:
- Beer. I have yet to find a good beer that comes in a 40 oz serving.
Do you really need any more proof than that? If so, consider this: I recently came across an article that states that the ingredient Red 40 could be hazardous to your health. I didn’t actually read the article to find out how or why it’s dangerous but the fact that the ingredient has the number 40 in its name clearly implies that it’s no good. I’m sure that there are other reason I dislike the number 40 but the most pressing reason for it, as I get ready to turn 38, is that my fantasy football team is already down by 40 points this week and the games haven’t even started.
Fantasy football is an evil thing. Every year I tell myself that I’m going to quit but instead I find myself thinking that this year is going to be different; I’m going to win. To be clear, I have won a couple of times. In fact I think my record, per season, is somewhere around 3-286. Not bad. I blame this addiction on the latent dream I still harbor of being a football player for the Chicago Bears. It’s sad in a variety of ways. For the sake of brevity I’ll narrow the “variety of ways” down to five bullet points:
1. Every year my team is amazing before the draft.
2. I believe I can fly
3. I believe I can touch the sky
4. I think about it every night and day
5. Spread my wings and just fly away
You gotta love R. Kelly right? As an aside, I met him once and felt very fortunate that this was prior to his urinary problems. At any rate, I hate fantasy football and I hate that I join in every year. I tell myself that it’s a good hobby but, here is the thing, I’m lying. To myself. It’s not a good hobby. It makes me angry. It makes me wonder what is wrong with the world. It makes me remember that there are others teams/players outside of the Bears and that, and only that, is the reason I continue on the journey that is my fantasy football life.
In regards to journeys, they were a great band weren’t they? I can’t stop believing any time I listen to them. In regards to the journey of life, however, there are times that I stop believing; particularly when I travel to Chicago just to watch the Bears play and they lose. It’s hard to believe then – except for Matt Forte; he helps me keep the faith, but that’s a different band entirely. Back to life, in my 38 years I’ve learned a lot. In the interest of brevity I’ve narrowed down “a lot” to the following two bullet points:
1. The longer you live the older you get
2. Getting old sucks
Let me explain. While getting old does in fact suck, it’s better than the alternative. Regardless, I have aches and pains that are unexplainable. I have emotional distress that is unexplainable (even when I factor in hair, lost dreams, the number 40 and fantasy football). I have a need to go to the bathroom way more than I should at 38. Despite all of this I also have a need to be thankful.
It’s sometimes difficult to be thankful for what you have (family, health, a win or two in fantasy football) and don’t have (no family, Ebola and two out of three losing fantasy football team – well, maybe not that last one). Yet, when we (or I) look deep within ourselves we see that we have everything that we need at any given moment. It’s a challenging thing, this journey of life but, again, I wouldn’t trade it for the alternative, at least until I come up with something funny/mean to write on my tombstone.