Well, it happened. Turned fifty. In retrospect, it was inevitable. Guess all one really has to do is be patient. Wasn't much to it. Going bald never bothered me; my vanity manifested itself in not allowing me glasses before I turned fifty. Guess I was in presbyopia denial. The summer months were challenging as I squinted through the crossword puzzles. The big day finally arrived. Happily went downstairs, put on reading glasses for the first time, and perused the paper with regained clarity.
A caution: Should you decide to head to the refrigerator without taking off a brand new pair of glasses, you may want to use a spotter. After stumbling into the kitchen and grasping the counter for support, I wisely chose to remove all glasses until I was safely seated. First mishap avoided.Caution two: Warn "newbie-wearers" not to accidentally glance past their reading material. Was quite startled when an errant gaze revealed the suddenly enormous Cheerios floating in my cereal bowl. Eating with glasses may prove to be more effective than the South Beach Diet.
Turns out it's pretty easy to arrange a surprise birthday gathering if the victim is overly absorbed in the weekend crossword. When my sweetie pie realized most of my own friends and family were too stodgy and/or otherwise engaged to make the trip north to help celebrate, she graciously arranged to let me borrow hers for the day.
Still not sure why she coaxed all those good people to freeze the afternoon away on a windy bluff in Stanley Park. Pretty sure the how was the promise of a fantastic cake. To anyone considering opening a dessert shop, may I suggest the name Big-Ass Cakes? Deliver on the business name and loyal customers will soon hold up their end of the bargain.
After realizing I hadn't automatically acquired any new-found wisdom at fifty, I decided to pursue knowledge. Another tip: If one's immediate goal is knowledge, don't begin with quantum mechanics or string theory. I suspect wanting to believe in an eleven-dimensional multiverse is not so much the yearning to understand higher-level physics as it is the dwindling hope of a potential reunion with my long-lost sleeping bag in some intergalactic nexus of the cosmos.
The list of cartoon friends grows. Long-time readers may remember that the old universe of several years ago, before ducks knew to make police calls, was populated with inflatable, frog-voiced, and/or two-dimensional line drawing figures for friends. This universe seems to be amassing people named Guy. A salmon fest attended by the Rubber Chicken Guy, the Checkerboard Guy, and two Gizmo Guys was providential. The concentration of guys per square meter apparently reached a critical mass that may have opened a hidden portal for achieving long-term goals. Checkerboard's rock pile was inspiring enough to finally build the labyrinth I have only mentally constructed for several years.
It's pretty great. Along with weight lifting, treadmill running, and juggling, every day includes time to walk the rinth. So far, not much spiritual progress to report. Have noticed all the dips and rises in what I used to think was a perfectly level yard. It is also a nice reminder to stop, enjoy and give thanks for being able to live in this wonderful area. The increased time wandering the front yard has the additional consequences of meeting my neighbors and strengthening the idea to plant lavender bushes. We shall see.
Do most people also think they are potential comic book heroes, carrying a latent gene that a chance encounter with some unknown type of little-understood radiation will transform into a hidden ability? Thought I had finally ended my quest for a superpower. For a while I was convinced I was cursed with super-hearing. Turns out Chris' neighbor (one building over) is just an inconsiderate jerk who likes to play his stereo too loudly. Recent indications are that my own, personal superpower may be the uncanny ability to conversationally bring up topics that will soon be covered in the upcoming weekend newspaper. Other than a vague feeling of deja lu, haven t figured out how to use this talent to benefit society. Please be assured, however, I vow never to exploit this extra-dimensional prescience for evil. Happy Next Year!
copyright 2003 by Todd Strong
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