Latest 3 Things

Monday, August 30, 2010

3 Facial Scares

I’m not a fan of facial hair. I’m not sure if it was my ten years in the Navy, my early childhood spent in the universally bad-hair 70’s, or simply my overexposure to “true crime” television programming, but in any case, I’ve always seen hairy faces as the hygienic equivalent of failing to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, and a reliable means for identifying the least desirable elements of society. Sure, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, as I have plenty of good friends with facial hair who are neither felons, freaks or otherwise foul-smelling. But a quick visual survey of those unsavory types indicates a nearly universal predilection towards failing to shave completely or regularly. Sure it doesn’t make you a pedophile to drive around in a windowless van - but you can’t blame folks for being suspicious, right? It simply seems to me, that in a era where hair removal technology has advanced to the point of lasers, permanence and razors with a half-dozen blades each, ignoring these advances is like eschewing the modern kitchen and simply cooking over a wood fire in hastily dug pit in your backyard. In any case, facial hair can be an obvious warning sign of personalities you’d be better off avoiding. So after careful study of the worst types of unshaven faces and the people they’re attached to, here are the three facial hairstyles to stay the hell away from:

1. Domestic Violence Goatee. The amount of effort required to actually put a goatee together almost screams out with the sort of fastidiousness that will boil into a violent rage if the towels aren’t folded just right. If a guy is spending this much time on his beard and not shaving it off, something else has got to give. It might simply be the balance of his hygiene, but it’s far more likely to be the amount of time he should be devoting to exercise, nutrition or personal intellectual enrichment. Seriously, anyone spending an appreciable amount of time carefully crafting a ring of hair around their mouth has obviously lost some perspective. You know, the kind that keeps one from thinking that slapping around their girlfriend is a demonstration of affection? Be honest, when you’re watching COPS and you see a domestic violence call, you’d be absolutely shocked if the offending male wasn’t using a bad goatee to hide a weak chin (which his ill-fitting t-shirt is giving away anyways). The only better indicia you’ll find of a guy who wishes gender roles were the same way they were fifty years ago (i.e. get back into the kitchen, dammit) would be the Mad Men DVD Box Set proudly displayed on a guy’s mantle. Look, unless you’re a magician and over the age of 40 you’ve got more business wearing a pink tutu than a goatee.

2. Jihad Shadow. Despite what the “tea party” would have you believe, it’s nearly impossible to profile a terrorist these days. Of course, if you do believe them, you can camp outside your neighborhood mosque (you might already be there picketing) and watch them walk out in droves. But in reality, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The one thing they do appear to have in common, however, is a penchant for avoiding daily shaving. Listen, it hasn’t been cool to let all the hair on your face grow our for a couple of days since George Michael and Don Johnson were doing it, and even then it was suspect. I don’t want to hear about how it’s a cultural thing - what it definitely is, is nasty. It would be cleaner to simply rub dirt on your face than let the greasy mess that aspires to someday be a Domestic Violence Goatee linger on your cheeks. Nothing this side of a neck-tattoo says “I have a job that requires a name-tag” quite like the non-shave. I have it on pretty good authority that the Jihad Shadow is actually intended to be a display of masculinity. Well, the only thing less masculine that a guy can have on his face than this style-by-omission would be make-up. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the best thing to do with the time you’re saving by keeping your razor dry. That way, you can be the prettiest terrorist around.

3. Date Rape Soul Patch. If you’re the kind of guy who thinks that growing only the hair under your lip is going to drive the ladies wild, it’s no stretch to think you’re also the kind of guy who thinks a girl in a short skirt is “just asking for it.” Come on, there hasn’t been this pathetic of an attempt at manliness since chirping the tires of your Honda Accord at the stoplight in front of the Dollar Store. First off, what on earth makes you think you’re even cool enough to pull off a look called a “soul patch”? You wouldn’t have soul if you had James Brown surgically attached to you, you wouldn’t know good jazz with Miles Davis sitting on your lap, and you couldn’t be cool in a walk-in freezer. Patchy facial hair makes you look more like a Chernobyl survivor than a bad-ass. The only thing your ill-considered swatch of facial scrub could possibly be good for is distracting the random, unwary female with your impossibly bad hygienic/fashion choices while you slip a “rufie” into her drink. The perfect accessory to this abortion of a grooming decision is a two-sizes-too-small ribbed t-shirt that you think makes you look built, and that everyone else thinks makes you look like a chode. Seriously, you’d be better off just carrying around a club to hit women with before dragging them back to the cave where you decided this was an o.k. way to walk around in 2010.

* * *

Sure, it’s a free country, and you’re allowed to wear whatever you want; on your body as well as your face. Fortunately for me, I’m similarly allowed to mock you based on those very same decisions. It’s possible that you might not be a wife-beater, a terrorist or a date rapist, but why not play the odds? You’re allowed to wear Ed Hardy shirts if you want to, and I’m allowed to know that you’re a douche. You’re allowed to wear Crocs, and I’m allowed to assume you’ve given up on life. You’re allowed to have your hair cut into a faux-hawk, and I’m allowed to question your sexuality. As the old saying goes, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. The point is, if you don’t want people to make assumptions about you and your life, you have two choices: you can protest against prejudice, campaigning for all of us to get to know one another before passing judgment, or you can just stop dressing the part. Want to be manly? Build a shed, change a tire or lift something heavy, and while you’re at it, find a razor and shave your damned face.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3 Are We There Yets

It’s 2010. In fact, 2010 is careering towards its closing season, and let’s be honest, it really hasn’t been what we were hoping it would be. Nearly three decades ago, 2010 was memorialized by Arthur C. Clarke as a year which would embody even more remarkable technological advancements than we were to have seen in 2001. We were even supposed to have a propulsion system so advanced that it would get us to Jupiter faster than the ship that had left for it nine years earlier. From 1982, 2010 seemed like a universe away, and while some things have risen up to the challenge (e.g. computers, cell-phones, and hairstyles) it’s difficult to argue that any of the aural tragedies produced by Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus are an improvement over The Clash’s ‘Rock the Casbah’ and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”. Like all future visions, though, we have overachieved in some areas, underachieved in others, and in a few rare occurrences, actually regressed. So in the interest of celebrating the year we’re not having, here are three big steps forward we’ve haven't taken on the way to 2010:

1. Up, Up and a Waste. You’d be hard pressed to find a prediction of the future back in the 70’s or 80’s that didn’t involve flying cars. Ever since the Jetsons were providing a projection of the 1950’s family into the 21st century (2062 to be exact), we’ve imagined our highways as our sky-ways; a third dimension to make traffic jams an antiquity to be laughed at like Coke in glass bottles and the Pony Express. But we’re no closer to flying cars than we are to living on the moon. Actually, we might be closer to living on the moon. And, we’ve turned traffic from an inconvenience into its own personal hell for each of us. In fact, the FAA just this year, granted preliminary approval for a vehicle that operates as both a car and an airplane. But it looks about as practical as a Zach-Morris cell phone and about as convenient as hand-crank car windows. The reality is that we’re even farther from personal flying cars than we were back then. American automakers had to nearly go bankrupt to work towards ending their four decade streak of making increasingly crappier cars that no one wanted to drive (unless they had to) and Japanese manufacturers are just trying to keep their cars from regularly killing people. Are these really the same folks you want creating devices that fly? I think we’d best stick to the ground.

2. 3-Duh. As quickly as television technology was progressing back in the 70’s and 80’s, imagining home holographic projectors didn’t seem like much of a stretch for 2010. From black and white to color; from technicolor to millions of colors; from tube to flat; from plasma to LED. The next step seemed obvious. Movie and television studios were quick to promise immersive three dimensional experiences in our own homes, and we imagined virtual reality with a grandeur that we had previously reserved for only wildest dreams. Unfortunately, the only difference between 3D forty years ago and 3D now is the color of the ridiculous glasses we have to wear. In the same time that computers went from taking up entire buildings to be able to fit in the palm of our hands, 3 dimensional technology has evolved from requiring paper glasses with red and blue lenses that were free to requiring battery-operated single-colored lens glasses that cost $150. Hooray, progress. Seriously, the first thing they should with 3D is try to make it look a little less like something only Japanese teenagers and kids who play Dungeons and Dragons do for fun on Friday nights. That or make it cool enough that I won’t mind wearing the same shades on my couch that my great grandmother does to go outside.

3. What are you doing, Dave?. Ever since computers started doing some of our thinking for us, we’ve been excited/worried about them doing all of it. As our keyboarded friends went from playing tic-tac-toe to chess, from performing arithmetic to math in multiple dimensions and from drawing lines to drawing three-dimensional worlds, we imagined that there would come a time when these machines wouldn’t need us at all. They would become sentient, and equal partners in our world, rather than simply electronic slaves. What we did not imagine, of course, was how large corporations (we'll call them "Microsofts" for reference) would dumb down and commoditize this technology to the point where we actually become slaves to them. Sure our computers are faster, brighter, sharper and smaller, but they’re no closer to thinking on their own then we are to figuring out to reliably connect to wireless networks, set up a printer or open attachments to our e-mail. Granted nearly limitless computational power and access to the world’s library of knowledge and information, we’ve done what any other enlightened and advanced society would do: we use it for porn, gossip and shopping. Come to think of it, it’s probably for the best that computers aren’t thinking for themselves, because when they do, I think they’re really going be pissed.

* * *

Okay, so it’s not the future we imagined. It’s certainly no Utopia. It’s more like a low-rent suburb of Utopia - call it U-troit. Things in U-troit are no picnic; some of the stuff we though would stand the test of time is crumbling, while some of the things we hoped would fade away are still going strong (can you hear me, Madonna?). But overall, life in U-troit is a lot better than things were forty years ago. Hair is combed down and socks are pulled up; to be any more connected with one another we’d have to all be holding hands, and our televisions have more channels than our SAT verbal score. Crime in U-troit is, well... crime. We’re smarter about energy, dumber about politics and know way too much about celebrities. There are more health clubs than McDonald’s restaurants, more Starbucks locations than bowling alleys, and our average life expectancy has gone up over 5 years. Besides, the folks in U-troit know one thing better than ever before: no matter how bleak things look, hope springs eternal, and you can't look down the road without looking up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

3 Things Not To Say...

For the most part, it takes a lot more than one sentence to get to know someone. Human beings are complex creatures, and the way each of us uses language is normally as unique as our fingerprints, ear shapes and DNA. We are shaped by countless people, places and social forces as we build our vocabularies, sentence patterns, and slang. And in many ways, how we say what we say is a better life’s story than any we could actually tell. There are, however, a few choice sentences, phrases or figures of speech which are so fantastically overwrought, stupid or self-absorbed that they can literally invalidate the balance of words that have ever or will ever come out of the same mouth. These choice bits of language provide an instant, unmistakable insight into the soul of their utterer which affords the careful listener the unique opportunity to avoid the disappointment, disgust and potential cognitive impairment involved in actually listening to anything else that person might have to say. And so, as a public service announcement, 3 things people say that should be the last thing you listen to:

1. “I don’t wait in line” If the Age of Entitlement had a slogan, this would be it. There hasn’t been this reliable of a way to spot a woman you should stay away from since they were sewing scarlet “A”s on aprons. For those of you living in a cave, far away from any reality television or in either one of the Dakotas, this delightful little phrase is a reference to the queues outside of nightclubs, bars, ultra-lounges or other evening entertainment locales. It is, quite simply, an assertion that one is far too attractive, important or otherwise unable to bothered with the inconvenience of having to stand alongside the rest of the proletariat when awaiting nighttime amusement. If it sounds absurdly self-aggrandizing, it is. If it sounds like the sort of thing you’d only hear Paris Hilton (or a similarly infamous celebu-tante) say, it’s not. The number of times I have heard this uttered by admittedly attractive, but otherwise unimportant young women makes me worry that the fairer, smarter and more mature sex is about to relinquish its lead. I can certainly agree that every little girl deserves to feel beautiful, but I’m not certain how this became the right for every little to girl to feel better than everyone else. Take it from me, if you have to say that you don’t wait in line, you probably need to. 

2. “I like Sarah Palin” There was a time when David Duke was the most apocalyptic political figure any of us could imagine. Those were the good ol’ days when the fact that a former Klansman was gathering nearly nationwide support (albeit a small percentage) could actually shock the conscience. Compared to Ms. Palin, Dave Duke looks about as dangerous as Daisy Duke. The national popularity of this play-acting simpleton is a frightening referendum on the popularity of stupidity in a nation which has led the way in public information access for the last two hundred years. She is possibly the most prominent female politician ever, and seems bent on setting back the women's rights movement at least fifty years. The last time I can recall the “if I can’t understand it, it’s stupid” school of thought gaining this significant of a following was amongst the bully crowd in elementary school. It takes a special kind of dumb to look at a woman like this as a role model. The only person that I can think of who can rightfully rejoice in the national popularity of this champion of fools, is Dan Quayle - whose famously inane sayings now look like the Kennedy memoirs. And the only types of people who should be allowed to not be able to name a single newspaper, magazine or Supreme Court decision are 7th graders. 

3. “...Pal; ...bro; ...dude” I combed my brain for a particular phrase which might help to identify your classic douche by sound alone. Usually the visual clues are usually more than enough, and if you’re someplace dark with someone you suspect might be a douche - well, you deserve what happens to you. But, as the species grows more advanced, they will likely abandon their giveaway plumage (e.g. Ed Hardy, Affliction, TapOut) for more plain clothing - and aural clues will become ever more important. But it turns out that it isn’t what they say, but how they finish saying it which is as dependable an indication of douchebaggery as a Von Dutch truckers hat. Closing a sentence with one of these emasculating, nameless pronouns is the douche’s way of letting you know that (a) your name isn’t important enough to know, (b) even if he does know it, you’re not important enough for him to use it and (c) no matter what he’s just said, he can still kick your ass. Seriously, this is the spoken equivalent of pulling your pants down and measuring your penis in front of everyone. Anyone over the age of 18 that speaks like this is in desperate need of a good beating, and wouldn’t know masculinity if it walked up and smacked them. Listen, you’re not in the mob, you’re not a rapper, and the only thing connecting you to the 70’s was the Ashton Kutcher picture you had up in your high school locker. Do us all a favor, use our names or shut the hell up.

* * *

Perhaps the only thing more convincing of the coming social Armageddon than people-watching is people-listening. The real noise pollution going on these days has nothing to do with modified exhaust pipes, overly-loud hip-hop, or annoying ring tones. It is the seemingly endless stream of banality, ignorant opining and vapid utterance that is generated by our youngest generations with ever-increasing volume. There was a time when a lack of confidence in what one was saying dictated speaking in hushed tones. That time has passed and idiocy is now shouted from every street corner. Well, that or not having an idea what you’re talking about no longer inspires a lack of confidence. You don’t have to overhear conversations anymore, they’re projected at you from seemingly impossible distances nearly everywhere you go. Peace and quiet has never been at a higher premium and all of a sudden, the $300 Bose charges for headphones to keep the rest of the world out seems like a pretty damned good deal. In the end, you may not be able to control what you hear, but you can control what you listen to.

Now, what were you saying?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

3 Overratings

In a world where hype has almost completed supplanted substance (see Paris Hilton, E! Television, and Justin Bieber), it should come as absolutely no surprise that we are surrounded by things that are substantially overrated. But as nearly unlimited access to information has become ubiquitous, and you can get user reviews from everything from guitars to grass seed, one might expect that we would gradually be growing more savvy as consumers. But the infomercial industry has never been stronger, and the world’s most popular piece of home exercise equipment is marketed so absurdly that I’m still not sure whether it’s actually a real product (note: it is). The fact is, we’ve now got so much information that we’re just as vulnerable to the hype as we were before. Marketing experts have determined what sources of information we trust, and have exploited them to our own peril. As the fire hose of messages, media and misinformation sprays us all down into a soggy under-informed mess, I present three completely overrated things:

1. What once was old, now is new. There is a certain charm to vintage things. They have a story behind them, and often times a very personal one. Family heirlooms, multi-generational homes, and keepsakes passed from generation to generation lend a gravity to otherwise ignoble items. But buying these things may be the worst way to spend money since burning it (or The Hills on DVD). When an old home has been in your family, its scratches and dents give it character, the smells ring of childhood and big holiday meals, and each corner seems filled with memories. When it’s been in someone else’s family, it creaks like a horror movie scene, is one good stiff breeze away from being so much rubble, and it smells like nursing-home meets something-died-in-the-basement. Old homes don’t have charm, they have old. Whoever said “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” is precisely right - they build them better, with the latest technologies in structure, materials, and energy-efficiency. When an old car is passed down from your dad, or is restored from your childhood, it’s a testament to longevity and care. When you buy a “vintage” car, you either look cheap, like a douche, or as though you still think fedoras are cool (they’re not - nor is anything else you can buy at Hot Topic). The bottom line is, new is good. Our ability to constantly innovate is one of the greatest things about our species. The paranoia and stupidity of the few amongst us who view this as “dangerous” is one of the worst. Do us all a favor: take your rotary phone back into your Depression-era farmhouse and call someone to come haul your old Buick away.

2. Hippity Hoppity. I can appreciate that I‘m not necessarily the target audience for the hip-hop music machine. Being white, 36 and consistently wearing clothes that fit places me more squarely in the demographic most likely to hate rap than to like it. But that notwithstanding, I really do enjoy a great rap song. I grew up loving Kool Moe Dee, RUN-DMC and the Fat Boys (yes, the Fat Boys). I still feel like dancing every time I hear “Mo‘ Money, Mo‘ Problems”, and I even know how to do the Soulja‘ Boy (in fairness, the instructional video came with my iTunes download). But there hasn’t been a performance style that translates more poorly from its recorded to its live version since silent movies. Seriously, going to a hip-hop show is an exercise is disappointment not unlike opening up packages of socks and underwear on Christmas morning when you’re expecting a new Optimus Prime action figure or Big Wheel. The carefully produced beats and samples you know from your favorite record become a muddled, bouncing mess and the carefully balanced and articulate vocals sounds like someone is shouting into a bullhorn that they’re holding too close to their mouth. The well-dressed, attractive and dance-happy crowd from the associated music video is replaced by hordes of weed-smoking, sloppy fat, gangster wanna-be’s and women wearing clothes they haven’t rightfully fit into in ten years. The only thing you’ll get from these crowds are a contact high and re-dedication to your workout routine. No matter how they advertise it, or how much fun it purports to be, the best way to stop liking hip-hop is to go see it live.

3. Ultra-lame. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but right under my nose, the predominant style of nightclub switched from “dance club” to “ultra lounge”. And there is no place where it is more prevalent than here in Vegas. Giant dance palaces have been replaced by dimly lit rooms with predominantly decorated with couches behind velvet ropes and curtains, and where there is only about 30 or so square feet of usable public dance space. In these uber-lounges, in order to gain access to these cloistered couches, one must purchase bottles of liquor for anywhere from $350 to a $1,000 or more, which will be made into hastily poured mixed drinks by a pretty girl in her underwear (who expects a 20% for her trouble). There will usually be a world-class disc jockey somewhere in the joint, but the dancing is only really to be done if you’re (a) female, (b) wasted, and (c) on top of something. If this sounds lame, that’s because it is. The promise of fun at these “hotspots” vastly outpaces the actual fun you'll have there. In reality, the only “ultra” thing about them is the ultra-high price list and the ultra-disappointment you’ll feel afterward. The worst part of it all is that these clubs are all marketed with either an insanely hot girl wearing very little and in a provocative pose that you can (ostensibly) meet at the club or with a celebrity host. What they fail to mention is that even for the brief amount of time that either of these folks are actually there (which is only for about 30 minutes), they’re being paid, they’ll be behind half a dozen velvet ropes/bouncers and that neither of them wants to meet you.

* * *

I’m a big fan of ratings. I’ve liked rating things with numbers of stars since I first saw Ed McMahon doing it to comedians and singers when I was a kid. But having access to everyone’s opinion on everything has turned out to be just as valuable as having no one’s opinion on the same. All of the hype has proved, however, instructive on a few key points. First, if something sounds too good to be true, it is. Second, if someone has to try really hard to sell you something (like used cars, good Snoop Dogg tickets or $1,000 bottles of vodka) it’s probably not worth buying. And finally, there is no substitute for just doing it. If you want to know whether you’re going to like something, it’s best to go ahead a give it a go. Just don't sign any long term contracts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3 Bounced Checks

I’m not really fond of saying that I’m getting older. I prefer to think of it as getting old-ish. I mean, let’s be honest, you’re not really old until you’re getting that look from girls in the bar. You know, the “what-the-hell-are-you-doing-here?” look. That being said, the more old-ish I get, the greater the disconnect between my mind and my body. Sure, I’ve honed a few choice hand-eye skills to the point of mastery, but more and more my brain seems almost immovably wed to the idea of what my body was capable of doing ten years ago, despite copious amounts of evidence to the contrary. It’s not to say that I’m falling apart... okay, well maybe I’m falling apart a little bit. But it’s just that my brain seems to still know exactly what it wants my body to do, and unable to cope with the fact that my body often can’t or won't listen. And so with all due credit to Stinger, Maverick and Goose, here are 3 checks my ego is writing that my body can’t cash:
  1. Spicy, spicy. There is a moment in many restaurants where you have to make a decision. In Mexican restaurants it’s hot, medium or mild, in Asian restaurants it’s on a scale from 1 to 10 and in other restaurants it’s simply a pictograph of flames next to a menu item. And in this moment, my inner caveman blurts out “hot!”, “10!” or “Bring the FIRE!” Of course, there is also that still, soft voice which warns “you know, you’re really going to regret that...” and does so in no way loud enough for me to pay any attention to it. These decisions often come while the memory of a spicy-food-inspired gastro-intestinal incident so horrible and painful that it brought me to tears is still fresh in my memory. And yet, I can’t quite get my mouth to make the words: “mild”, “3” or “I’ll just have the Teriyaki.” My relationship with antacid is my longest-running and the most committed I’ve had in years. I’ve logged more tears and screaming in my bathroom than I have in my bedroom, and I’m pretty certain that the chef at my favorite Chinese take-out place is laughing about my morning-after fate when he hands me my Kung Pao chicken “extra spicy”. I’m not certain what it will take to finally and reliably divert me from such masochistic food decisions, but I suspect it will require some sort of bleeding and/or an ambulance ride.

  2. Dance, dance. There was a time in my life where I would and could go out dancing 4 to 5 nights a week, for 3 or 4 hours at a go, stopping only for the occasional drink, dancing myself sweaty, heading home after they closed the place, get a few hours of sleep and be up for the same routine the next night. That time has passed. Anymore, dancing on consecutive nights feels more like two-a-days practice than revelry. Waking up from the first night is a little slower than normal, and waking up from the second night feels like waking up from a bar fight. The only popping and locking happening at that point is in my knees when I head down the stairs to grab a breakfast of pop-tarts and pain killers. Of course, no matter how many times this happens to me, I still spend any number of weekends kicking my heels up on both Friday and Saturday nights - only to end up in a couch coma on Sunday, freebasing Icy Hot and weighing the pro and cons of amputation. My mind knows exactly how much fun I’m going to have bouncing around the dance floor, and conveniently omits the unintended workout that I’m getting. Because I’m pretty sure that confronted with the option of 3 hour cardio workout, my brain knows precisely how likely it is that I’d be signing up for that. But this knowledge notwithstanding, I suspect I’ll stop signing up for consecutive nights of dancing the first time I need professional medical assistance to get up from the second one.

  3. Jump, jump. I used to be a pretty good athlete. I used to have what the kids call “mad hops” (that’s a large vertical leap, baby boomers). I used to throw girls around like gym equipment. I still know how to do all of these things - which normally means that I should be coaching young people to do them. But since I’m fighting my thirties like they’re a threat to the ongoing to survival of the human race, I prefer to continue to try and perform these athletic feats. After a roughly ten year hiatus, I recently stepped foot on a volleyball court again - only to find that when I told my body to jump a few feet into the air, it responded (albeit with exactly the same motions) by elevating a scant few inches off of the hardwood. When attempting to reprise my professional cheerleading career, I attempted to throw a spry young lady into the air over my head and succeeded mostly in throwing her into the air around my waist. And finally, when engaging in a trampoline dodgeball game (yes, seriously) and intending to hurl an unavoidable missile of a throw at an opposing teenager, he caught it with no more difficultly than I had I thrown it underhand. In my defense, he looked as surprised as I did that it didn’t come any harder - apparently everything about my throwing (aside from the actual throwing) still looks pretty mean. The primary consequence of this wishful thinking outpacing my athletic performance is that I’m getting picked later and later into the team selection - so I suppose I’ll know it’s finally time to stop when I’m getting picked after the fat kid with the inhaler and the sweaty palms.
* * *
I’d have to say that, on balance, my mind is aging much more gracefully than the rest of me. My brain doesn’t have a bevy of inexplicable aches and pains, isn’t prone to any involuntary functions that I used to have full control of and isn’t sprouting grey hair in any unseemly spots. In fact, I fancy myself a little smarter than I was the year before, continuing a streak that I believe to be unbroken since, well, puberty. What’s more, I do sort of enjoy having a “young mind”. I still prefer air hockey and go karting to wine-tasting and book clubs; I would rather spend my nights sweating on a dance floor than sipping in an “Ultra Lounge”; and still think AC/DC bootlegs are better than digitally mastered opera. Sure, the downside is that my body continues to cash all these checks - on an ever-dwindling balance of youth. But I suspect there will always be something left in that account, and that the lives best lived are those where it ends up without a thing left in it.