Getting Old Sucks Ass

As much as it pains me to admit it, I can’t deny the truth anymore. It’s staring me dead in the face, unblinking, like a pissed off Rottweiler that’s ready to knock me down and relieve me of my throat. So… I’m just gonna take a deep breath and blurt it out, okay? Here goes;
 
I’m losing my fucking hair.
There, I said it. I put it out there. And while this might not seem like such a shocking revelation for a guy pushing 40, you don’t understand how it is with me and my hair. I like my hair. Sure, I bitch about it incessantly, but “I’m going bald” are three words I never thought I’d have to say. There’s no denying it, though; my hair has most definitely started thinning near the front, to the point where I asked the girl who cuts my hair about it. “No, no, that’s a cowlick,” she was nice enough to say. Well, of course she’d say that… she wants a good tip. But I’ll just let you take a look at my giant-sized cranium and see it for yourself;
A good portion of this hair will end up in the shower drain tomorrow morning.

A good portion of this hair will end up in the shower drain tomorrow morning.

First off, I know there’s probably some mid-20’s, bald as hell dude looking at this picture and bellowing “FUCK YOU” at his screen, thinking I have a lot of nerve to be bitching about hair loss considering my “still-wooly” noggin. I guess that’s a valid point. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice, and would chalk this up to an issue of vanity. Well, let me tell you something… I have no vanity. But I’ll be damned if I’m not noticing a hell of a lot more “scalp” on my head than I ever did before, especially when my hair is wet. It might be able to hang tough for a few years, but I have to assume my hairline is officially on Death Row. I’m not counting on any last minute calls from the governor, either, so it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Shit, I wasn’t given a whole lot to work with from a genetic standpoint, so my hair has always been one of my best features. I’m guessing my full set of teeth will be the next thing to go…

Ain’t getting old a bitch? I used to think the saying “Youth is wasted on the young” was a cliché, but that was before I was able to get out of a chair without grunting. We’re given so much as children and we don’t appreciate it at all. Noooo, we don’t start to appreciate these gifts until we live long enough to see them get taken away from us, one thing at a time. That’s what aging is; a front row seat to your own slow destruction, as your youth, vitality, looks and health wither away before your very eyes, leaving you saying, “What the fuck happened??” I know I’m definitely not the first one to make this observation, but the inevitability of it all has been gradually sinking in ever since I found my first gray hair at the age of 18.

But you know what I miss about being young? It’s the little things. I’m talking about those things you would do every day of your life and not think twice about. Want a few examples?

1. JUMPING OFF THE SWINGS
This was an essential part of any recess period during grade school, a reckless and stupid act that I just couldn’t get enough of. You know the drill–you’d run to the swing set, start swinging as high as you could possibly go and then LAUNCH yourself into the air, hoping you didn’t kill yourself when you hit the ground. This activity was frowned upon by the faculty, but that didn’t stop me from doing it. I remember my kindergarten teacher warning me of the danger involved, telling me she had broken her arm as a little girl by doing that exact same thing. Do you think I gave a fuck? Psssssh. As soon as her back was turned, I’d go right back to jumping off the swing. Maybe she had broken her arm, but I was an invincible little shit!

"Catch me, Lord, catch me!! Oh fuck..."

“Catch me, Lord, catch me!! Oh fuck…”

Flash-forward 30+ years, and you won’t catch me jumping off any fucking swings. Honestly, I probably couldn’t even fit on the swing in the first place. If I did manage to squeeze my ass on the thing and get to swinging, I shudder to imagine what would happen if I was stupid enough to jump off. There would be one hell of an impact when I hit the ground, leaving a Jeremy the Loner-shaped crater and a humongous dust cloud. I’m not saying it would rival the impact of the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs, but I’m assuming there would be a dust cloud over the entire southern Michigan region for at least a week. Meanwhile, I’d be lying there with two broken ankles, moaning, “Why did I just jump off that swing?”

2. TAKING A STAIRCASE TWO STEPS AT A TIME
My bedroom was upstairs when I was a kid, and I very rarely walked up the staircase to get there. That would have taken way too much time. Instead, I’d race up the stairs like a bat out of hell, taking those steps two at a time. I’d come down the stairs much the same way, many times grabbing the metal bannister on the staircase when I got toward the bottom, swinging through the air in a graceful arc and hitting the living room floor with an earth-shattering BOOM. My parents used to get pissed about it. My mom would call me to dinner and it would sound like a fucking bison bounding down the steps. One time my dad got so uptight about it, he made me walk up and down the stairs 20 times in a row. He actually had to force me to not run up and down the steps.

I live in an apartment on the 3rd floor these days, and you sure as hell won’t see me racing up the steps at my age, even if I’m all jacked up on crystal meth or something. Are you kidding me?? If I tried, I’d get about halfway there before collapsing flat on my face, gasping for air. Climbing stairs is a very cautious, deliberate act now, especially when my arms are loaded with groceries and my left knee is making me wince in pain with every slow step. The whole time I’m plodding up the stairs, I’m thinking to myself, “Next time, get a place on a lower floor.”

3. PLAYING ANY GAME WITH YOUR FRIENDS THAT INVOLVES BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF EACH ANOTHER
This is a timeless rite of passage for any young boy, and it can take a number of different forms. A lot of kids like to play tackle football sans equipment, but that wasn’t my thing. I was never into football… too many rules. But I do remember one particular game a bunch of us used to play. It went by a number of different names (including the politically incorrect “Smear the Queer”), but we called it “Kill the Guy.” The object was very simple; the kid who was “it” would stand at one end of the yard, while all the other kids stood at the other. When the signal was given, all the kids would run toward the “it” kid, who would try to tackle one of them by any means necessary. If he managed to take someone down, that person would have to join the “it” side. The ritual would repeat over and over, until everybody got a chance to get demolished or someone’s mom saw what we were doing and yelled at us. Whichever came first.

Oh no, WE KILLED JOEY!! Wait... did I just hear the Ice Cream Man down the street?? Yay!"

“Oh no, WE KILLED JOEY!!
Wait… did I just hear the Ice Cream Man down the street?? Yay!”

I took many a lump playing this game, but I dished out quite a few, too. It was strangely satisfying to run full speed across the yard and level some poor bastard face first in the dirt. What’s a few bloody noses and bruises among friends? Our bodies could handle any abuse we’d dish out at them, with no sore bones to deal with the next day. I guess I figured it was always gonna be that way.

Well… you won’t see me tackling anybody these days, unless they try to snatch my beer and run off with it. And the ONLY time you’ll see me running full speed is if someone is chasing me with a weapon, or there’s a rabid dog looking to bite a chunk out of my ass.

So yeah, getting old sucks. I think I was trying to make a greater point with this blog, but I started writing this over an hour ago and I forgot what that shit was. I guess this means my mind is going too, as well as my hair. My whole fucking head is going downhill.

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