So I had a birthday a couple weeks ago, a sobering celebration of walking upright for six decades. Next year I’ll be 60-years-old. Sixty? It looks better spelled out than glaring at you with its round-numbered glibness.
Perhaps you saw the replay of the gentleman at the Cubs game who lent his wife the ice cream cone he had just bought. She took a couple of licks, handed it back to him and before he could take a single taste, the whole mass of soft-serve rolled out of the cone and into his lap. Wow. The look he gave her was the same one that the Duke of Medina Sidonia must have given to Phillip II after losing half the country’s fleet instead of sailing to the greatest triumph in Spanish history.
That’s kind of like what having a birthday at my age is like. You hand your day to friends and family, and absorb all the happy family stuff -- the nice wrapped presents, the dinner out, all the swell Facebook remembrances. But then, when you’re alone and the day gets handed back to you, it plops right into your lap with a cold splat.
Another ballpark story. Jill and I were at the Cubs-Astros game a week ago. Great game. The Cubbies scored 12 runs, and Soriano went three for four. It used to be that despite the parking situation everyone pretty much showed up at game time. These days there’s a continuous dribble of fans finding seats right through the third inning. It’s bothersome – all the getting up and down for the folks who have the seats in the middle of your row and politely wave their iPhones in your face as they march between you and your beer.
Anyway, a 20-something couple comes up the steps of Section 228, stops at our row and the guy points to the row behind us, empty all the way to the middle. Standing right next to me, he says, “Let’s climb over. It’ll be easier to get past the adults.” Adults, meaning us. Adults, meaning the old guys on the aisle who look like they get out of their seats about as easy as Kevin Gregg gets out of the ninth inning.
A couple days earlier, reading what is left of the Chicago Tribune, I came across a letter to Amy from someone who signed “Facebook Friend.” Here’s the gist of it . . .
Dear Amy: Not to sound rude, but at 63 “Faced Out” is too old to use Facebook . . . Younger people know that when technology is involved, not everything is personal. There is a different culture going on around here, and Baby Boomers are going to feel left out.
Not to sound rude? No, Facebook Friend, you little twit, you don’t sound rude. You sound smug and full of yourself and your electronic gizmos. No, you don’t sound rude. You sound like a visionary who sees a world in which the elders on the aisle who don’t get up quickly enough to get out of your way stay seated while you go up a row and climb over them.
You sound like me when I was your age.