57 Thoughts

57 Thoughts

It turns out 2014 is a special year for me. I was born in 1957, so this is the year I turn fifty seven. I had not thought of this occurrence until a week ago. The last time I did any real calculating I was a teenager figuring out how old I’d be in the year 2000. At the time, 43 seemed ancient of course, but I didn’t imagine living that long. Coming up in Detroit and DC, I figured I’d be murdered just because I was in a wrong place, wrong time scenario.

When I hit 57 on March 11, I may begin to accept the fact that I’m getting to be an older dude. Perhaps this date in time will jar me enough to stop believing I’ve got a shot with 20 and 30 somethings for a life partner. Lately, I have been paying attention to those AARP ads on TV. I actually almost wrote down the number from one of those insurance ads. (Who will pay my final expenses?). I now have a greater understanding of the quote attributed to early jazz great Eubie Blake, “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Since turning 50, I eat a little better and for a few months at a time, walk for an hour in the morning. If laughter truly is the best medicine I am in pretty good shape. Retirement is the furthest thing from my mind. Even after 30 plus years in the stand up comedy world getting up on stage still excites me.

For the most part, longevity runs in my family. My maternal grandmother lived to be 104, and other relatives are making it into their 80’s; it blows my mind that I’ve already outlived my dad, who passed away when he was not quite 50. My namesake used his time on the planet fairly well as he graduated college, married, became a Tuskegee Airman, had 4 kids, and taught high school Black history for more than 10 years. I went to a community college for 20 minutes, never married, and have no kids.

My chances of getting married began to recede in 1968 at the age of 11 when my parents divorced. At that time, I had two sets of grands that were still together, so my hope was still alive, though barely. In my 30’s whenever I was asked why I was still single I had the same response. “I never want to get divorced, and the only way to get divorced is to get married.” I have since dabbled with online dating with no results. Nowadays not even the “second chance” sites hold any interest. If I fall into a permanent hookup it will be the old fashioned way, face-to-face. Online chemistry is as real as a genius crackhead. I’m about to be 57, I was born in 1957, and I am a principal at the old school.

I have never thought of life in sections- infancy, youth, teen, adult, old. For me, they have all combined into one big thrill ride, filled with adventure and discovery at every stage. If I could write the final page of my life script, the last line would read “I think I might have time for one last joke…or not.”

William Stephenson

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