Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wearing a life

I'm 37 years old. In fact, I'll be 38 before this season is complete. The winter of my 38th year in every sense.

I'm consistently told I don't look my age. Some of it has to do with having a "young face", some other part of it is how I hold myself.

I'm never sure whether I appreciate this fact. Most of the people who mention this seem to assume it's inherently a compliment. But then I earned these years. If I were Rip Van Winkle and woke up after a twenty year nap, I'd probably be glad to hear that I didn't look twenty years old, but as it stands, I lived these damn years.

When I was 22, I looked 14. It was a pain in the ass. Bars didn't feel comfortable letting me in, they'd check and double check my id. I won't even get into the whole issue of dating, because I'm seriously not doing a whining post here. The point is that everyone told me I'd be glad as I started approaching 40. And now that it's come, I've got to say I'm never sure if I am or not.

For example, last night I was randomly accosted by a group of about six teenage boys, I'd say they were around 15.

I found myself thinking, "Are you fucking kidding me? I look like somebody to mess with?!"

I mean, I'm not a Green Beret or anything, and come down to it, I'm certain in most situations I couldn't beat up more than one 15-year-old boy, but I still don't at all see myself as someone to pick out of crowd to mess with.

Seriously, I worked for five years as a blacksmith.

No, I worked as a blacksmith and I sucked at it. I ground my fingers to the bone every day trying to prove myself. I stood next to a thousand degree forge on hundred degree days. I crushed my left (and dominant) thumb with an 80-pound hydraulic hammer. Seriously, it was twice as wide and half as thick.

I started my dream and it's sat hopelessly lost on a bunch of tapes and hard drive space for two years. That's not even to get into the challenges and humiliations life has presented in those years that are the reason for that.

Again, this isn't a post to whine about my life. Just to say that I've lived through a lot of crap in my day that six teenage boys couldn't hope to compete with on their best, or worst, day. And, obviously didn't or this would be a different post altogether.

I'm not sure I'm ready to have the weight of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino "Get off my lawn!" look...

... and by the way, if you don't want to see that, it's clearly because there's something seriously wrong with you...

... and I don't frankly care if some kids think I'm somebody to mess with, aside from it wasting time I could be spending eating my dinner and watching Cowboy Bebop. See, I had a really grown-up evening planned of sitting on the floor, eating cheap pizza and watching cartoons, what the hell were those kids thinking?

But somewhere there's got to be a middle ground between showing every bad thing that ever happened in your life deep in your eyes and having no one you meet respect that you've had a life and have experiences built up from that. Doesn't there?

I don't know.

Seriously, though, get off my lawn.


Karl said...

Well Happy belated birthday Neil.

Oh and that age thing gets more interesting the older you get. Go figure!

Neil Sarver said...

It's actually early... or too belated to be worth noting.

And I look forward to the interesting, frankly.

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