Monday, October 17, 2005

Much too old to feel this damn young

Forty years ago today, in the predawn hours, I made my entrance in the world and I’ve been working to fuck it up ever since. How 'm I doing so far?

Milestone dates offer an opportunity for reflection and I am not immune to looking back in the rear view mirror to see what there is to see.

The world has seen a lot of changes in those 40 years. During my lifetime the bulk of the Vietnam war was fought. Man walked on the moon for the first time. Computers went from being the size of rooms to being so small you can carry them in a briefcase or the palm of your hand.. Televisions went from being large pieces of furniture with small black-and-white picture tubes to flat color monitors you can hang on your wall. An American president, Richard Nixon, resigned in disgrace over the cover up of a burglary with a political motive. Telephones when from being a luxury in a home to being a fashion accessory adorning people’s belts and pocketbooks and all too frequently held up to their heads while driving down the road.

The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, got married, made a musical comeback, got divorced and died all within the span of about 10 years. Disco came and went. And music went from being something you listened to, to something you watched, to something you could carry around on a little device not much bigger than a cigarette lighter.

The great communist threat, the Soviet Union, crumbled and the Cold War ended, only to be replaced with a lot of smaller, hotter skirmishes around the globe. Civil rights became a reality, but bigotry still remains. The dream of all men (and women) being equal in America is closer to being realized today than ever before and still too far from real for those black or Latino or poor or gay or female or some other of ethnic or social minority here in America.

It’s a bit humbling to learn that men who had an impact on the world during my lifetime did so by the time they were the age I am now and many of them had made their exit from life’s stage at an all-too-young age.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the age 39. Robert Kennedy was assassinated at the age of 42 during his campaign for president. Elvis was 42 when he died. John Lennon was 40.

That is not to say that I am particularly thinking about, or consumed with, thoughts of mortality on this day. I’m not worried about the end, nor am I afraid it may be close at hand. I don’t know if my best days are behind me or yet to come. But I do think that the days keep getting better, more fulfilling.

I used to wonder a lot about what my destiny was and what my legacy on this earth would be, but I’ve come to realize that if I achieve not one more thing in this world, I leave a proud legacy in my daughter, who is now 14. She is my greatest source of joy and pride. I am fortunate to have played a part in giving her life, but she has most certainly changed my life for the better. More importantly she has made me want to make life better for her generation, even if it’s only in some small way.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to experience the love of family, friends and of a good woman – and a few bad ones too.

It’s not world peace, but it’s not a bad gig either.

So, thanks for stopping by today and putting up with my rambling, disjointed post. It’s hard to put 40 years into perspective. I think my dearest Brat did a better job with her post today, although don’t believe everything you read over there. Thanks Brat for the kind things you said and as for the rest, I’ll get even.

And thank you for stopping by today.

By the way, here are a few other folks who were born on Oct. 17 over the years:

Jupiter Hammon, the first published black U.S. poet (1711); one of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands, the late author and playwright Arthur Miller (1915); the late actress and screen siren Rita Hayworth (1918); Robert Craig Knievel, better known as motorcycle stuntman and daredevil Evel Knievel (1938); Actress Margot Kidder (1948). Some of the other celebrities and notables who have birthdays today are actresses Marsha Hunt, Beverly Garland, Julie Adams; actors Tom Poston, Michael McKean; George Wendt, Bill Hudson, Sam Bottoms, Norm Macdonald; singers Earl Thomas Conley, Jim Seals, Gary Puckett, Alan Jackson, Marshall “Eminem” Mathers, Wyclef Jean and Ziggy Marley.

Not a bad bunch of Libras to be associated with.


Brat said...

Happy Birthday G! I love your post and I am glad I left you alone long enough yesterday/today to make it. Have a wonderful birthday and a great time at the concert tonight and know that I am there in spirit.

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

Happy 40th Birthday G-Man! I hope you have a fantastic and fun day today! :-) Welcome to Mid-Life!
PS. Have a good time at your concert tonight.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

The G-man said...

Thanks all. You brought a smile to an old man's face.

Now I'm off to flirt with Sheryl Crow. I so hope I don't have to kick Lance Armstrong's ass, at least not until after the concert.

Brat said...

Wait! Are you supposed to be flirting? After all I am there in spirit. I am going to have to find Lance myself and have him kick your ass (I mean butt)!

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