James At 55

 

Another December 1st., another birthday. They come quickly these days! And 55 is such a clunky age to be, numerically: it was Jimmy Carter’s exhortation to Drive 55 and Save Gasoline; it’s deep into the curmudgeonly AARP rolls; it gets you discounts on things like creamed corn at those senior buffets that serve soft, bland food; and it’s the age of mass murderers. You know, when you read in the paper about the nice man next door who was arrested because they found three hundred bodies under his house? They’re always 55. And referring again to driving, 55 is what they make you do when threading your way through endless turnpike construction projects. “Speeding Fines Doubled. Fun Halved.”

 

Fifty-five doesn’t LOOK good on paper. In my manner of thinking, 5 is a “heavy” number, just by the way it looks. Numbers like 1 and 2 and 7 are “thin.” 8 is definitely heavy. So put two fives together and you end up with a heavy, clunky number– not like, say,21, which is svelte and streamlined.

I also notice that, when filling out online forms, you have to make an extra mouse movement or two to get to the boxes that include that age. I have officially passed “39-54.” Now I have to roll down to “55-70.” It takes more time!

I was also born in 1955; that’s not even SEEN in forms where you have to click the year you were born. When you scroll, it feels like you are going back in time. Years like 1955 share the screen with 1931, 1923, and 1902… and sometimes you even see 1899. Who the hell is on the internet at that age!

But, if you know me, you see that I’m really not complaining about being 55. It stymies me only in the sense that it’s a number corresponding to how life has changed my body. My mind, however, will always be that of a precocious six-year-old wishing he was eighteen.

How many years do I have left…maybe forty? I hope! It’d be nice to be approaching 100. I hear that the president sends you a birthday card, so maybe I’ll be hearing from Bristol Palin.

It’s been a beautiful ride so far. The world challenges me and causes my eyes to pop open a lot. And my Dad was right– you realize that life is about your family and friends, not about stuff and nonsense. Though he didn’t actually say “stuff and nonsense.” If he did I would have had to look at him and say “where did you hide my Dad?”

One of the things I enjoy is the fact that the good friends I have who I knew when they were in their twenties are now all in their forties, some even approaching fifty. And I don’t mean that snarkily; what I mean is that we share a lot more now– the gap has lessened.

Here’s to another 55 years !  <<CLINK>>

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10 responses

  1. Whoa! You look much older than 55! There are ways to soften the advancing years. Just look at the Hollywood crowd. No, I mean the faces! Breast implants would do you no good!

  2. Remember what your friend Curt (Kirk) said on Thanksgiving….”Jimmy, if you dressed in drag you would look just like your sister! For Halloween you can be HER!” We laughed and laughed but today I am trying to figure out if that was a compliment or not! Anyhoo…HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO:)

  3. I loved your comment about possibly getting a birthday card in the future from Bristol. I forgot about Jimmy Carter’s 55 mph limit! You know, “5” is my favorite number—it always seems to follow me through life, for some reason. I’m proud to say that I’ve known you since we were 15 (there’s another “5”!).

    Happy Birthday, Jimmy. You deserve the best.

    Eugene

  4. 55? Surely you mean 25. I still remember meeting your in college while you were cutting out furniture shapes with an exacto knife. Has anything changed since then? Everything and nothing!

    Happy Birthday to my very special “old” friend. Here’s to 55 more years……!

  5. I’m 66 so you are a relative youth but no longer a “stripling”. Hard to use that word. I note your optimism in giving yourself 40 more years. I’ve always noted the official life expectancy (78 for women) added 2 and subtracted to get my possible remaining span. I married a man 16 years my senior and he’s in better shape than I am.

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