Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southern Belle v. Dougie Howser

Regardless of where a person is born and raised, nobody likes getting older.  Some folks go to elaborate lengths—such as fudging the numbers on birthdays—to keep the myth alive.  Some folks also take an “ostrich in the sand” route by completely ignoring anything and everything having to do with how old they are.  Birthdays?  Don’t have ‘em.

Unfortunately, Time waits for no Belle regardless of whether or not it is being studiously ignored.  Yep, even the ostrich has to pull its head out of the sand in order to read the invitation to its 20-year high school reunion.  One also must pull its head out of the sand in order to attend the graduations and weddings of the little tykes they babysat.  A friend of mine mentioned the other day that, when her former charges have babies, she actually feels a little bit like a grandmother.  Not untrue...sigh...

Yes, it’s the classic case of a youth thinking that 30 is the pit of despair/the point of no return and that 40 is positively elderly.  Great.  So what are we supposed to do when we find ourselves staring at 40? 

It’s the little things that get us.  It was a very, very dark day when I suddenly realized that I didn’t understand one single thing broadcast on MTV and that I preferred Retro VH1.  Scott got bummed when he turned 36 because that meant he was out of the 18-35 demographic targeted by media and advertisers.  (My tastes kind of run toward the quirky, so I was already used to being ignored in the popular demographic arena.) 

Rather than sit back and enjoy the ‘80’s weekends on the radio and I Love the ‘80’s I just get kind of self-conscious and bummed.

In my line of work, it actually does help me to stay tuned into what “kids are doing these days.”  Although I will probably never understand why my younger clients do what they do and think what they think, I can at least get an idea as to some of the predominant thinking at the time such as the latest trend of “murdering cars out.”  I don’t get it, but at least I know what it is.

I also don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell you that the younger kids I work with speak a completely different language.  As I’m sure you can imagine, it helps greatly to be able to converse with a client.  It also helps when I don’t have to spend any preciously earned cool points by having to ask what in the hell “they jacked him up on the down-lo” means.

I remember when Bill Clinton first got elected and my dad was kind of taken aback by the fact that, for the first time, he was actually older than the President of the United States.  I can relate, but on a less global scale.

I think the thing that gets me most are the doctors.  I had to take Baby Belle 2 to the pediatrician and I apparently babysat the doctor that saw us.  Of course, I don’t have to know the doctor personally in order to get completely depressed.  I always get nervous when the little Doogie Howser types come into the exam room looking like they should be playing dodge ball in the high school gym rather than checking out my asthma flare-up. 

If I hadn’t had a chance to stare at all of the “Top Surgeon in the Universe” awards while waiting for my doctor, I very likely would have hauled ass out of the room when he came in looking not a day over 12 in his cute little bowtie.  (Want some lederhosen to go with that look, doc?)

Yeah, it’s scary as hell when little whippersnappers go and get medical degrees and such, but sometimes the jobs that your contemporaries fall into can be even more scary.  When it comes to your contemporaries, you know where the bodies are buried.  That guy that did the keg stand at the summer party on Masonboro Island?  Navy SEAL.  The dude that fell off of his own deck during a college party?  Nuclear Engineer.  I can’t even get into the number of cops I know from my youth—I mean, somebody actually gave them a gun? 

Get yer’ bomb shelters ready, folks.

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