This is kinda mind-blowing to me, as I am now officially “in” my forties. I’m no longer just 40. Oh, no. I have now fallen off the cliff into being middle-aged. That nebulous time when we’re supposed to be all grown up but we still don’t really know what the hell we are doing and we spend all of our time trying to get everyone around us not to see that.
It’s fun. No, really. I also enjoy playing the “what hurts this morning?” game and having to squint when I read small print. It’s just lovely.
I wasn’t inspired to write this post because of angst over my current age bracket, though. What actually got me to blow the dust off the old WordPress server was the decision to come clean about a few things.
You see, folks…In many ways I’m not your typical member of Generation X.
I have a theory about the J.J. Abrams Star Trek universe. It’s likely wrong, because Abrams seems pretty well content to just do whatever he wants regardless of whether or not it makes any kind of sense (see : The Enterprise at the bottom of an ocean), but it’s a theory I have nonetheless.
What follows is a whole bunch evidence that demonstrates, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I spend far too much time thinking about this kind of shit. Some of what follows here isn’t necessarily canon, but it’s the best info we have so I’m going to go with it.
I have a real problem with revisionist history and perceptual reality. Namely, I take issue with the whole “things were better back when I was a kid” statement. Our parents said it, and their parents said it, and despite the fact that we grew up swearing we wouldn’t say it members of my generation are saying it now, too. This commonly crops up when we talk about the fact that the “streets were safer” back when we were kids. They weren’t. In fact, the violent crime rate has been steadily dropping over the last 20 years. What’s different now from 1991 is that we didn’t have such a huge proliferation of information at the time. In this modern 24 hour news cycle era we sit glued in front of our tiny glowing screens eagerly lapping up the latest gory news. We analyze it over and over again and rail about the injustice of humanity.
The reason I’m thinking about this so much today is because of the number of complaints I’ve seen about “sexy” costumes, as if this were some kind of new phenomenon. I will admit that some of the “sexy” costume subject matter is a bit much (sexy Little Orphan Annie? Really??), but to say that the “sexy” costume is a recent phenomenon is to ignore history.
To prove my point I have used the magic of the internet to take a trip back in time to find some examples of “classic” sexy costumes…Come with me children, as we explore the sultry side of Halloween Past…
Since I’ve been stuck between the choice of hanging out in my hotel room or gambling I opted for the former and decided to check out “Hot Tub Time Machine” the other night. On the whole I enjoyed it for what it was. It was kind of nice to see John Cusak back in the silly, juvenile type of comedies that I came to know and love him in. It was raunchy at times, really gross at others, it had some boobies in it, and a few points where I laughed out loud. Certainly not the best movie I have ever seen, but far from the worst.
I have a real problem with the ending. A statement like this is often accompanied by a Spoiler Alert, so here is yours.
The reason we picked this particular movie is because it appears on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. While we were waiting in line to get on the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios last week we decided that there were a lot of “classic” films that we haven’t seen and that one of our goals in 2011 should be to rectify that situation. The Searchers was the first movie we picked off of the list, largely due to the fact that it is only going to be available through Netflix for a few more days.
I am writing this post on October 20th, 2010. The date is important because today has been declared Spirit Day by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. For those of you who have not heard of this, Spirit Day (in the words of the promoters) “honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.”
I want to state right off the bat that I am just as horrified and outraged about the suicides that sparked this event as any other sane human being would be. It is also not my intent to offend anyone who may have been bullied or teased because they were a member of the LGBT community.
The above statement is what is known as a disclaimer.
I follow a lot of folks on Twitter who, like myself, are very active in the social media community. These people, again like me, are very passionate about the importance of social media in the business world and about how valuable of a tool it can be to promote your business. Unfortunately, many of them seem to fall flat on their face when it comes to coming up with a valid justification as to why a business needs to be involved in social media. In fact, they very frequently tend to take offense at the very nature of the question. Which is, of course, a sure fire way to guarantee that the business you’re trying to convince to get into social media never well.
Return On Investment, kids. It’s not a dirty word. Get over it. The whole nature of taking offense at the idea of justifying why a business should spend money on your idea without being able to quantify where it will turn into profits for them is absurd. It is tantamount to an artist claiming that people “just don’t get” their work. It’s a cop out. Sure, it’s all fine and dandy that you might be doing something unique and awesome in your mind, but if you can’t prove to someone that giving you money for doing so is worth their time you have no business trying.
Several of these choices have taken me some time to decide on, but this one was a given from the moment I saw the title.
My Father and I didn’t have a whole heck of a lot in common. He was raised on a farm and wore cowboy boots even if he had shorts on. He spent his entire life working with his hands. He served in the military. His favorite author was Louis Lamour. He was a good old boy in every sense of the word.
Obviously, this is not me.
Given all that, it’s probably pretty obvious that he was a big fan of Country music. I, for the record, am not. There are artists from that genre who I admire a great deal though, and one artist who I shared a love with my Father for was Johnny Cash.
I first heard this song several years after my Father passed away, and the minute I did it instantly became “his” song in my mind. As a Nine Inch Nails fan, it seemed to perfectly bridge the gap between our two worlds. Not only that, but the message of the song itself strongly resonates with the demons my Father dealt with in his life (He was an alcoholic and only sobered up for real in his last few years).
Most of the time when I hear this song I am overcome by sadness as I remember my Father and wish he were still here. He never got to see me perform on stage, and my son hardly remembers him. He was, despite his many flaws, a good man. A decent man who made a lot of mistakes but really made an effort to try and make up for them.
I have a good life, and I don’t want to ever give the impression that I do not. I have a wonderful son, a wonderful other half, a home, and a good job. I act on a fairly regular basis, and I’m moderately active in social networking circles. I’ve got it pretty good.
I am, however, acutely aware of the missed opportunities in my life. Two things, in particular. I am aware of how much damage I did to my body by not making the conscious choice to be healthy until my late twenties, and of how I pissed away the opportunity to actually go to college full time. More so than my weight, the fact that I did not take my education seriously until it was far too late for me to devote all of my energy to it is a constant source of shame and sadness for me.
I had a taste of what is described in this song. One small, fleeting moment in my life that I can still remember vividly to this day. Six months that I absolutely pissed away and which I describe as being miserably lonely, and yet I can recall countless moments from that time period that still make me smile to this day.
The first day of orientation and how excited and nervous I was. Sitting in the Student Hall surrounded by other students like myself and feeling all of that energy in the room.
Sharing a cigarette with my English professor on the steps of the building our class was in and realizing that we were sitting right next to the spot where George Wallace protested the integration of the University of Alabama.
The first time I went to the gamers meeting and realizing that I wasn’t the only geek on campus.
Seeing comedian Henry Cho at the campus nightclub, and how he was having so much fun just telling us stories about his college days that he went about an hour over when he was supposed to finish.
Spending my Sundays with old family friends at their home outside of Tuscaloosa watching the Buccaneers play.
The absolute stunning beauty of the campus at the University of Alabama.
The parade of honking cars that snaked all over campus the night we beat the Auburn.
Hanging out with my Hall Monitor and thinking that the math he was studying was something I’d never even come close to comprehending.
Watching Twin Peaks in the basement of Mann Hall, the residence hall on campus that didn’t have monitors because you basically had to be a MENSA member to get in. As a result it was the place where you could score the best drugs and there was ALWAYS some kind of party going on.
I could go on, but I need to get ready to go to work and as much as I am enjoying this trip down memory lane there’s nothing I can do to get these experiences back. That’s why this song makes me sad. If I had simply done the bare minimum…just put out SOME kind of effort…I could have had four or more years to build these kind of memories. I am, alas, stuck with a mere six months.
More than some people get for sure, but not nearly enough by far.
While there are a lot of songs that make me happy, the Pet Shop Boys are guaranteed to do so with their song “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing.” I can’t put a finger on exactly why, to be honest. I mean there are a lot of reasons so it’s hard to give a specific one. It reminds me of the time we used to spend going to Tracks back in the early 90’s. It has a pretty positive message. It’s bouncy. It’s great to dance to. All of that, and I just have a weakness for this kind of pop music.
Regardless of the reason, this song is virtually guaranteed to get me to smile and dance around like a fool.