Well, the day is upon me. It has crept up over the years, and yet it seems like just yesterday that it was so far in the future that Buck Rogers would seem it’s contemporary. (If you are too young for Buck Rogers, think “Star Trek: Next Generation”). Those of you who are passed it will laugh, while those of you who have yet to get there will remain blindly immortal to the inevitable. But for those of you who were born in 1959, you know exactly what is on my mind. Yes, this week I turn 50.
Fifty. Okay, writing it out wasn’t any better. Yes, the half-century mark is upon me, and I have to admit I am somewhat in a dither. (See, it’s already starting to show – I never used the term “dither” before.) There are many markers in our lives. The first day of school, first love, the Playboy Centerfolds are younger then you, turning thirty and discovering that you can still be trusted are but a few. Fifty, well that’s another. And, it doesn’t come unnoticed, although it shakes me up a little that “they” have been watching. Watching… waiting… anticipating… and then…. it happens…. “AARP.”
I received my temporary draft notice about six weeks ago and sent in the fees. I wasn’t sure what to expect when turning fifty but clearly AARP understands, and their welcome material has been helpfully explaining the details of the changes I will be experiencing.
For instance, there was a whole article explaining the physical changes surrounding dining out that my body will be going through. It covered in detail that (apparently) I will soon be noticing a bodily craving for dinner much earlier in the day which naturally led to a detailed enlightenment surrounding the “Early Bird Specials,” along with a thorough accounting of how to complain about a draft from the air conditioning. I didn’t even know that after the children’s menu and the adult menu that there was a secret “Very Adult” menu.
My driving experience will apparently be undergoing some changes as well. From what I understand, I will be required to bring my car to a specialist who will turn up the idle as high as it goes and remove the gas pedal. I also understand that he (or she) will randomly choose a turn signal that will continually blink, and that I must surrender my leather steering wheel cover for a soft fuzzy one. I already am driving my father’s old Buick Le Sabre so I understand that no trade-in will be required.
I was surprised to also read about all the ways I will have to interact with those who, on the day I turn fifty, will suddenly go from the energetic youth of my neighborhood to “those young people.” I have been studying the illustrations provided on the proper way to shake my fist in their direction but don’t see how I will ever get comfortable with the phrase “You damn hippies” or “Get a haircut.”
I was relieved, naturally, to see that I can keep my blue Jeans instead of having to switch to “Trousers,” and that I can legally keep them at my waist instead of in the “Fred Mertz” position for at least another 10 years. I am, however, a little disturbed at having to wear socks with my sandals, and still have not worked out the details of how to even get a pair of flip flops and a pair of socks to work. I have to go back and reread that portion of the handbook they sent me, and somehow I don’t think I am going to like it.
Not going unnoticed were other details about the material itself that they sent me which I just happened to observe. Things like: it came in large print and the centerfold was a “Geritol Complete” ad. And yes, I got a little turned on.
Well, there is more but its 9:30pm and I understand that I need to start thinking of that as bedtime. Of course, there is a bright side. Besides the obvious alternative of not reaching fifty at all, my beautiful wife and I happen to share the same birthday. So come the day, I’m just celebrating hers. She’s younger. Damn Hippie!
Lloyd E. Flyer is a freelance writer and may be contacted through the “Tolucan Times” or at Alternateangle@pacbell.net.