I don't pay much attention to my birthday. Some people I know demand a major production, relishing the fact they are the center of attention. Me? I'm of the belief that once you hit my age, birthdays are nothing to celebrate. Let's face it; at this point, every day is another day closer to death.
I'm not going to try and stave off age. I would never dream of coloring my hair, for example, thinking if it does turn gray I might finally be considered distinguished-looking and gain a small modicum of respect from my staffers here at the newspaper, who usually ignore me.
I would never have a facelift. The way I figure it, the saggy skin covers the acne, and so it is a good thing. I would never get a tummy tuck, because then none of my pants or belts would fit and I'd have to get all new stuff. Besides I'd have to clean the lint out of my belly button and I believe it's been in there for at least 40 years.
I was a gorgeous baby. All parents are under the belief that their newborns are adorable, but they delude themselves. Babies are like grown-ups – some are pretty, some are plain looking, and some are just plain ugly. We've all told the big white lie: we go up to a baby carriage or a crib and the mother says, "Isn't she adorable? She just turned one!" We look down and see something so hideous we almost pass out. But we invariably gush, "Ohhhh, she's soooo adorable!"
I believe I am one of those people who will get better looking with age. That's because even though I was a pretty baby I was an ugly teenager -- I had braces and pimples and kinky hair.
The bad thing about being good-looking is that, at a certain point, people invariably say, "[He or she] has gotten so old!" That's why movie stars struggle so to keep their looks — in addition, for them, it's more than vanity, it's their job to look attractive.
The rest of us though, might as well let ourselves go. When you're a slug, it's pointless to get a nip or a tuck, because no one is going to notice or care.
When you reach my age, you begin to have doubts. "Am I becoming irrelevant?" I asked my long-suffering wife.
"You were never relevant," she replied. Oh. Silly me.
As we age, the old adage, "all things in moderation" becomes useful. I've learned to take it easy on my body.
For example, I've had to reconfigure my intake of alcohol. Instead of drinking an obscene amount of vodka every night and falling asleep in a pool of my own vomit, I drink a load of beer and fall asleep in a pool of my own urine. This necessitates more showers, so I've upped my total to two per week.
As we get older we have to watch what we eat. During football games, for example, I usually have a bowl of chips, some nachos, pretzels, some crudités and my trusty cooler of beer. This year, the crudités are out.
I've cut down on red meats and fried chicken and try to eat more bacon and sausage.
Exercise is essential. When watching television, I try to lift each leg off the floor and onto the couch, and then down again later when the beer necessitates a trip to the bathroom. I do this several times. I also enjoy taking a nice stroll from the front door to my truck.
No matter how healthy our lifestyle as we age, parts of our bodies begin to shut down (like in my case, the bladder). Now, we finally realize this is what god made drugs for. When we were younger, we took drugs for recreational reasons - to help us enjoy music and the camaraderie of others. The list included PCP, MDA, acid, cocaine, and heroin. I'm done with those silly diversions. These days I'm pretty much drug-free, but my wife has read up on the newer ones and makes recommendations to me.
For example, she keeps insisting to me that there is a great new drug I would like, Viagra, and I'm sure going to try it one of these days. She also told me that prescription painkillers together with sleeping pills and a nice bottle of brandy before bed assures a sound sleep and a healthy body.
Well that's it from the Birthday Boy. Just remember what the great Jackie Gleason said on his 50th birthday: "The 50 yard line is still the best place to watch a football game."
He died a few years later.