FT » Memoir » A Lummox Looks at 40
Here I sit on the final weekend of my thirties, reflecting on my life and pondering the rather jarring possibility that the road ahead just might be a good bit shorter than what’s in my rearview mirror. This is the first birthday I’ve ever dreaded, after spending 364 days each year anxiously awaiting the previous 39. It’s pretty heavy stuff for a pretty heavy guy.
When my father turned 40, I was halfway through high school. And when my mother turned 40, I was already halfway through college. So shouldn’t the fact that my oldest child just started the fifth grade help reassure me that maybe 40 isn’t as old as I thought it was after all? Plus, both my folks smoked like chimneys and drank like fishes, whereas I do neither (outside of the occasional beer).
Even so, despite my seeming lack of vice, I can’t help but fixate on the fact that my father died at 59 and wonder how genetically predisposed I might be for a similarly premature rendezvous with The Reaper. Death doesn’t scare me, but “ceasing to be” sends chills down my spine. I mean, how will the world get along without me? And if it can, why was I even here in the first place?
Everybody wants to make their mark, but so far the only real lasting impression I’ve made has been on an endless series of irreparably collapsed couch cushions. We all struggle to find our true purpose in life, and it disturbs me that I’m about to embark on my fifth decade without having the slightest clue of what mine is supposed to be.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be noble. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to find a cure for cancer or solve the world hunger problem. In fact, I’m a pretty significant contributor to the latter. So, what IS my reason for being here? I’d certainly be willing to settle for something less Nobel-worthy. There’s got to be some sort of useful application of my sedentary ways. Come to think of it, the upcoming start of football season just might be my time to shine.
Instead of rooting for season-ending injuries to the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis and Donovan McNabb, perhaps I should lead by example and redirect those negative energies toward more positive support of my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Sure, peace in the
Besides, everyone knows the Raiders are the real Al-Qaeda of the NFL. The only difference is that unlike Al Davis, Osama actually knows how to find guys who can inflict damage on the opponent with bombs.
OK, so I may not have figured out my true purpose in life, but at least I figured out a way to end this column. And that’s enough to lift the cloud hanging over my impending 40th birthday...at least for now.