Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This year's birthday was tolerable.  I had some well-wishing from the family down south, Eric and Zoe invited us over for dinner, my high-school chum Chris has invited me out drinking this Saturday, and I did the usual melodramatic reflection on life.  You know, alternating between wondering where you went wrong and how you got so lucky.
At least, hopefully you know.  I'd hate to think I'm the only one out there suffering through that roller coaster.  Is it a flaw in thinking or a natural extension of empathy to be able to better bear pain that you know other people also bear?  Or maybe that's a throwback to being a little kid and being obsessed with "fair", where you win the spelling bee at the expense of your peers, and "unfair", where you are caught pulling April Cornelison's hair and get publicly chastised by Julie Smith, her best friend.  Poor April.  I'm so sorry, honey.  I hope you know it was because I was madly in love with you, and, well, that's just how little boys are.
So after taking stock of where I am in life, I took stock of stuff I've been meaning to get around to, and it turns out I'm slowly accumulating quite the to-do list.  Here is the abbreviated version:
Day by Day Armageddon, J. L. Bourne
Dust, Elizabeth Bear
Marvel Zombies 3 (yes, I know it's just a funnybook, but, you know, it's got zombie superheroes!)
The Dead Lady of Clown Town, Cordwainer Smith
The Book of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
Bottle Rocket
Arrested Development
Test JCL updates to prevent logfile contention problem
Update Remedy/Ikon integration to use new XML format and service names
Follow up on MDCH router queue name hash table mods after testers are finished
Finish cleaning out downstairs bedroom and bathroom
Throw out crap in garage to make space for crap in basement
Replace light switch in laundry room
Get Heidi's heartworm pills
Re-inflate game ball for Inferno's upcoming home game this Friday
Everything under "read" is a recommendation.  Some by Dave, the "kid" I mentored since he was 14, and who is now 20 and more of a family member/buddy to hang with.  He, like me, likes the zombies, and the fantasy fiction.  A couple of the recommendations are from blogs I follow, and the stories' Wikipedia descriptions seemed pretty cool.  Two of "watch" are recommendations, two are gifts; one from me to Liberty at Christmas that we somehow haven't got to yet, one was my only birthday present.
Like how I just slipped that in there, in an attempt to illicit sympathy from the reader? "My only birthday present," it sounds so sad, doesn't it?  And when I'm feeling pissy, I pull out the long list of things like that throughout my life that I can massage into the "unfair" category under the right light.  It's completely untrue, though.  I had calls from family, a card from grandma with money in it, a throwback to when I was a boy, I had a dinner invite, and I had about 30 minutes of my wife's time doctoring up my beard and chatting about whatever.  The time hanging out with my wife trumps a collection of new "things".  "Things" I've already got a giant surplus of.
Like Liberty, I'm a little uneasy about the attention that comes with celebrations in your honor; that's why we opted to elope.  Although I don't actually want the giant party and the hordes of presents and almost believable adoration, I still manage to find a reason to grumble when it doesn't happen.  I still pull out the "only present" idea when I'm feeling sorry for myself, old, alone, and unloved - again, none of which is actually true.
After I swung back to the "how did I get so lucky?" side of the reminiscing, I started mentally organizing the to-do list above.  It's good to have something to look forward to (as Terminator 2 taught me), and having a little checklist to tackle one item at a time is like a scavenger hunt, a quest, if you will, and appeals to my nerdy side.  The checklist idea is a big part of how I got so lucky.  It had items like "Get down to 230 pounds.  225 pounds.  220 pounds" and "Join soccer team" and "Find hot, younger wife who is creative and not an idiot".
I finished the old checklist, which involved mainly pain and starvation to improve my courtship chances, and am happily embracing my new one, which involves mainly reading and watching movies, and the cartharsis of throwing old things away.  An order of magnitude better, just like my life now, all crying in my beer aside.
And in case you don't know how old I am, and missed or ignored my little Facebook post about it:
From Farmtown pics
Yes, I was born when Nixon was in office, when handwriting was still taught in school, and when your home entertainment system would have been the TV, and "The Hi-Fi", complete with huge silver knobs, a turntable with a "78" setting, and a 5 pound headset with a 20 foot cord.  Good times.

No comments:

Post a Comment