It's my birthday.
How old am I? Well....my great-grandmother won her husband in a jumping contest. It was about 1870, she was 15, maybe not ready to wed; but the civil war had wiped out most of the eligible men in her Missouri town. So competition was stiff. She however, had to be flexible and literally rise to the occasion. And rise above every other hopeful.
I'm lucky that I knew her; but she didn't talk much. She was exhausted. I mean, come on -- she won her husband in a jumping contest.
Regardless of my age, I feel great and see no need to change that. I have a physical each year. Mostly to see my doctor when I'm healthy because he's super-handsome. The last thing I need is for him to see me when I'm sick and look like shit.
Last week as I signed in at his office for my check-up, he came in the reception area. He looked up, recognizing me.
"Is it possible that you look younger than last year?" he asked.
"This is Los Angeles," I thought, "it is possible."
I haven't had a facelift, but once I was at another doctor's appointment. The doctor looked at me closely. He held my face in his hand and rotated my head gently, like he was frosting a cake.
"Well, it's clear that your face has fallen."
I was there about a sprained wrist.
I'm not that concerned about looking old. When no one's around; however, I do need reading glasses. At my last eye exam, I told my ophthalmologist that I was going crazy switching from my reading glasses to my regular glasses every time someone walked in my office. He nodded and made a note. We were sitting knee to knee, him facing me. I saw, upside down from my perspective, that he'd scrawled "Going crazy" in my chart.
"You can't write that in my chart!" I told him.
"Oh," he explained, "I make notes of how people seem in the event I'm called into court to testify. It's habit."
If I'm ever confirmed insane you'll know it's not true, even though a doctor testified differently.
I ended up with progressive lenses that offer every point of view I need, in one. I used my AARP card for a 20 percent discount.
Some people think I'm younger than I really am. Maybe because I have a full head of hair. But at my age, I didn't expect to still have any hair. So I celebrate it by blow drying it every morning. Get it huge. Then it deflates through the day in direct proportion to my life's disappointments. By 6 p.m. my spirit's crushed -- but my hair is perfect.
I try to prepare for my future. I have an "in case of emergency" document saved to my desktop. It's a list of everyone to call in the event I get an erection lasting more than four hours. I also have a living will that I made with my best friend. Whichever of us is still living rushes right over and clears the other's browsing history.
I don't watch porn. Too risky. Not that I'm afraid the NSA is watching - it's just in case I go senile. That happened to my grandfather. He read so many Louis L'Amour novels that when he was 88, he started believing he'd grown up in 1845 driving cattle, instead of in 1955 driving a Buick. So I can't watch porn - with my luck I'll be in the old folks home and take on all those crazy, raunchy scenes as my reality. I'd re-shape my pajamas into assless chaps. The nurses would try to give me pills and I'd grab their hair, take control and say, "No, you take it bitch."
As it is now, I'm in a weird place. I have Peter Pan syndrome complicated by daddy issues. I'm still young enough to want to spoon but old enough to need to fart. Often.
Anyone else use a post-coital cuddle as a chance to make sure you're alive after sex?
I've almost stopped eating bacon. But if I develop a heart condition requiring me to wear a vial of nitroglycerine around my neck, I'll keep another full of bacon. Should I feel a massive heart attack coming on, I'll first swallow the nitro pills, then pop in some bacon bits. I don't want my last great flavor to be medicine. Or kale. Kale is awesome, but it's not the new bacon.
Birthdays are like voting: a privilege. I vote to have many more. If for nothing else, Bed Bath & Beyond coupons never expire. And Forever stamps? I have got to stick around to see how that plays out.
My memoir, The Pink Marine, sold and will be available to pre-order on Amazon in September.