Silly, stu­pid myths.

I am expected to think of them now, since I’m 39.

Well, I say bullshit.

Many of you might remem­ber the series ThirtySomething. I don’t, since I never watched it.

Gods, what an inane idea. Let’s focus on con­structed midlife crises explored by peo­ple entirely imag­i­nary, and pre­tend they’re valid explo­rations into the human con­di­tion of being … of being … next week, in a Very Special Episode of…

Of Old White People With Problems. Does Blasé fuck the lawn­mower boy? Does Crudité hump the UPS guy? Does Idontgiveashitteté blow the entire Eagle Scout troop, with hilar­i­ous results?

So now I get to expe­ri­ence 330 or so more days of peo­ple smirk­ing and say­ing, “Thirty-​​nine and hold­ing, huh?”

Shit, shit and fuck and shit.

No; just 39. And next year, 40.

I can’t WAIT to be forty. Get it?

Holding on to what? Onto a myth of youth, or a ludi­crous idea that a moronic coun­try song is in any way an address of real­ity? If so, why not nine­teen and hold­ing? (Well, we know what most nineteen-​​year-​​olds are hold­ing onto, but still.)

The part that pisses me off the most, per­son­ally, is that this stu­pid cul­tural mythol­ogy more or less requires me to make a mon­u­ment of the big Three-​​Nine, has turned it into … into a mile­stone that sim­ply doesn’t exist.

I used to hear that my high school years were sup­posed to be the best of my life. Maybe that would have been believ­able, if my high school years hadn’t sucked cold dead dog cock.

I knew, even then, in my teens, that that was a lie. I’ve never bought into social ideas about the val­ues or mer­its of any age. Maybe I was born 20,000 years old; or maybe, just maybe, I man­aged some­how to escape ageism totally.

Still, at 39, I guess I’m sup­posed to Look Back Fondly, etc etc, bla bla.

So here are my remembrances.

Remember Space: 1999? A great, and I mean great in the sense of abysmally bad, SF TV series. Awful, ter­ri­ble sto­ry­lines and a def­i­nite tilt into fan­tasy. A lot like Babylon 5 or Farscape, only a lot, lot worse. But the series had one good thing going for it: Amazing hard­ware. You could really believe that Moonbase Alpha was plau­si­ble, that its eagles were viable space­craft. I mean, look at this shit:

Eagle from Space: 1999

The con­struc­tion is won­der­ful. Symmetrical fore and aft pods that were com­pletely inter­change­able, engine and com­mand mod­ules just attach­ments to the con­nect­ing sub­sec­tions; and in between, you had freight, human or cargo trans­port options — and, in a pinch, a more or less com­plete fly­ing hospital-​​cum-​​rescue ship.

This was a viable, com­plet­ley believ­able moon­bus; you could imag­ine it being mass-​​produced in the thou­sands, a sort of space SUV. The only major flaw was that its hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal thrusters needed to be reversed in terms of size. (On the moon, up would be harder to achieve than forward.)

Here’s one:

The Muppet Show

Remember that? Kermit and Piggy, jokes about sweet and sour pork, and the ter­ri­ble, gut-​​wrenching loss of Jim Henson, far too soon, to pneu­mo­nia. (Brian Henson went on to make Farscape, BTW; I’d like to think Jim would have approved mightily.)

Oh, and of course, this:

TARDIS

The first Dr. Who to invade the US, Tom Baker, changed the way I looked at … at pretty much any­thing; the show might well have switched on an Anglophilia meme in my brain. After all, what came next was…

Marvin

Yeah, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the book series of which kept me more or less sane through­out my dread­ful high school career.* Here we have Marvin, the inaptly-​​named Paranoid Android, from the tele­vi­sion ver­sion of the series.

And we had throw­backs like Monty Python.

Of course it was fun; but there’s noth­ing to hold onto with sad nos­tal­gia. It was not a nos­tal­gic feel­ing, for instance, that made Brian Greene an influ­ence in cos­mol­ogy; nor was it a sad sense of yearn­ing for the past that made David Brin a hit. Magic: The Gathering was spawned by my peers, as was TiVO, the inter­net, and Xbox, the only good thing Microsoft ever made.**

I’m not afraid of 39 and I’m not afraid of 40. The idea that one gets older is only partly rooted in real­ity; the cal­en­dar is unde­ni­able, but the reac­tion to the years is entirely psy­cho­log­i­cal. (Except for the occa­sional ache; but what the fuck, that passes.)

I have always, more or less, been a kid. I own a Furby, a Pokedex, and have been tempted more than once by Bionicle. My favorite Xbox game is Lego Star Wars II. Maybe my brain chem­istry, odd as it is, is a part of it; but at least some of it has to do with atti­tude, with a solid res­o­lu­tion to not become one of the staid, bor­ing, cranky peo­ple in busi­ness suits; or the grumpy farts we see all the time in restau­rants, frown­ing in disp­proval at the noises of the young;*** or those who shake their heads in sad sor­row at the mis­guided, randomly-​​pierced skin of the wan­der­ing Mall Teens.

Heh, you’re only as old as you feel; but if you find your­self using the word young­ster to refer to any­one, ever, it’s time for you to die.

====

* Which, if you recall, sucked cold dead dog cock.

** Apart from the typ­faces from Microsoft Foundry, most notably Georgia and Trebuchet.

*** Though I fess up to ask­ing reg­u­larly to be seated in infant-​​free zones in restau­rants; but I have never, in all my life, wanted to be stuck next to someone’s whine, shit and drool dia­per fac­tory. Babies in pub­lic are hideous.

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