Monday, December 07, 2009

I Wish I Knew What I Know Now...When I Was Younger

There’s a new television drama/comedy on TNT called “Men of A Certain Age” that looks at three men who are going through a mid-life crisis. The music that they are using to promote the premiere of the show is an old Rod Stewart song called “Oooh La La” that has a refrain in it that says: “I wish I knew what I know now (when I was younger)”…which brings me to this:

Some Things I Wished I Knew What I Know Now (When I Was Younger)

#1) Girls don’t have cooties. There are a lot of thing that girls do have, but I have come to the conclusion that cooties isn’t one of them. I wouldn’t doubt that somewhere on this vast planet that there are scientists in a lab trying to document the “girls have cooties controversy”, but they’re just wasting their time and money in doing so – because once you get to know girls you discover that you let the fear of cooties get in your way of getting to know them. Trust me -- girls are ok.

2) Sooner or late – we all become our parents. While attending Northern High School in Flint, Michigan some forty-one years ago, I was a walking “Hey Look At Me” billboard. If weighing in at some three hundred or so pounds with hair that went down to the middle of my back wasn’t enough to get your attention then maybe the white bib overalls that I tie-dyed four different colors could get you to turn your head. My divorced parents were basically split on “the look” I had in high school….Mom basically accepted me for who I was and didn’t make a big deal out of it – but my Dad with his flat top haircut hated “my hippie looking ways”.

As I have gotten older a lot of things have changed – especially when it comes to my hair. What once flowed down to the middle of my back has now turned gray and is now even shorter in length than what my Dad’s hair was when he died. How in the hell did that happen? Who knows? As I have gotten older, I have found myself saying things out loud that our parents use to tell us. I’m usually taken back by what I have said , because even though it was my voice that spoke the words there was a voice of one of my parents in my head that shoved the words out of my mouth. Most of the time that voice was my Dad and every time “his voice” enters my head it scares the shit out of me. It scares the shit out of me only because it reaffirms that no matter how hard we fight it -- we eventually become our parents.

#3)In looking back…I know that I made a memorable impression on people when I was young and back then I enjoyed making that kind of flamboyant statement – but when I see kids today – Oy Vey! Kid’s hair today is pretty short – compared to when I was a kid – but when they dye it purple, green or some day-glo pink color you have to say….(reverting back to “the we have become our parents” theme)….what the hell! Now add the piercings and the tattoos – the sometime Goth look – and I find myself asking why do they have to look this way….but then I remember the bib overalls and long hair that I wore and I really don’t have a right to judge them. In the not too distant future, the kids of today will have their “ah ha” moment and when they come to that intersection where youthful expression takes a backseat to the realization that you’re an adult and you have to act like one. (I just wonder how they’re going to hide the tattoos and piercings.)

#4) When you’re young…If you read the newspaper – it was to find out what time “Star Wars” was playing at the local movie theater or to check out the box score of your favorite baseball team – you never read the newspaper for the news. Duh! Then slowly but surely, you're not checking the times at the movie theaters anymore and you start to become interested in some of the news stories and articles in the paper; and then before you know it the first thing that you go to when you grab the daily newspaper are the obits. If we just went to the obits and read them that would be find, but then we take it another step further by reading them aloud and then asking our friends or significant others, “Did you see who died today?”. Then you have long discussions about the deceased person. Then you attend the person’s funeral, because believe it or not, funerals have become a social event. You check out all of the people and wonder aloud why this person or that person didn’t attend the funeral. All I got to say is if I would had known when I was younger that death plays a big part in your life when you get older, I would have invested a little money in a better suit.

5) Enjoy it while you can. When you’re young, you can do anything. You’re indestructible and nothing’s going to harm you. When you’re young, you can get shit-faced drunk and laugh off the hangover the next day. When you’re young – you don’t think twice about eating this or doing that – you just did it. It’s only when you get older that you have to deal with some medical professional in a white coat telling you, “You can have pizza, but only in moderation – have a piece, not the whole pie.” Or be asked" “Is there diabetes in your family?” Or be told: “I think that it’s could be tumor – I’ll set up some tests.” Or you have to deal with the ball buster of ball busters: “I got the results back from the lab and I’m going to set up an appointment for you with Dr. So and So because I think you might have.....”

It's like the song says...I wish that I knew what I know now…when I was younger. Ooooh La La!

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