It’s a windy twenty degrees in Michigan right now. Our heat registers look like iPod docking stations, only the iPods are actually humans, and they aren’t recharging, they are soaking up heat. There are fights and arguments over the dining room register because it blows the most heat.
Even the dog is reluctant to go a outside to pee.
I used to watch all those shows about living in Alaska and think I wanted to move to there. . . . where only real men survive . . . . I would live like a wild mountain man and all that nonsense. I’m starting to look at things more realistically now.
I will miss garbage day just to avoid being outside for the three minutes it takes to put the garbage out. Real men in Alaska would take out the garbage in their underwear on a windy twenty degree day.
Real men in Alaska hunt and fish for food on a twenty degree day. I get chilly in the frozen food section of the grocery store and try to hurry down the aisle.
Real men drive a team of Husky dogs pulling a rickety sled through the snow to go the hundred miles to town for supplies. I won’t drive anywhere without starting my truck and letting it warm up for an hour before driving to the store to get more hot chocolate.
I now know that I would rather live in a jail cell with a group of delinquent kids repeatedly shooting me through the bars with BB guns than to live in Alaska.
I’m not giving up my dream to go and live like a real man. I’m just altering the location where I do it. There must be some place in the Caribbean where real men endure hardships to survive. Hardships like slow service at the beachside Tiki bar.
Some unexpected events and signs that I have now reached middle age:
1. I don’t know why or how, but at some point after reaching the age of forty, I began to catch myself walking around with my zipper down. It’s not like it never happened in my youth, but the frequency it happens now is alarming. I don’t know if it is the onset of dementia, or perhaps the jeans that I so proudly buy at the thrift store for pennies on the dollar are there in the first place because of mechanical failure.
2. I nearly got into a fist fight with a friend who casually mentioned that it had been 31 years since Van Halen released their album 1984. I argued that his statement was ridiculous and that it didn’t seem that long ago that the cassette had arrived in the mail with my other eleven albums that I had purchased for one penny. It wasn’t until I actually did the math that I had to apologize for my insolence:
“If that album was 31 years old, it would have had to have been released in nineteeeeen eighteeeee. . . . . four.”
1984. Just like it says right their on the cover.
3. The last two times that I caught a woman staring at me like she thought I was attractive, I later found out that one time I had a booger hanging, and the second time I had forgotten to finish shaving the left side of my face.
4. This morning when I woke up and began walking to the bathroom, I realized that I was walking the same way I used to walk when I was making fun of old people.
5. And finally, an embarrassing and personal one that I can’t figure out how it could be caused by middle age, but I can’t deny the onset around the age forty.
When I wake up and go to the bathroom for the first time in the morning, what normally used to be one stream, is now sometimes two streams that end up on either side of the toilet. It happens enough that I know that by quickly turning slightly to the left, I can adjust my aim so that one stream lands in the toilet, and the other lands in the bathtub which is next to the toilet.