my 5th birthday
I always write these blogs late at night, so by the time you read this, it will be my birthday. I’m turning thirty-seven years old today, an age so bizarre-sounding that you have to write it out: “thirty-seven.” This means I am no longer “in my mid-thirties” – in fact, some people would call it “pushing forty.” I remember a long time ago, my brother Kent was telling me that the band members of XTC (whom this blog is named after) were “pushing forty,” and I thought that seemed unbelievably depressing.
Of course, Kent himself provides an excellent scout to the lands ten years ahead of me – he’s like Achilles’ ship in “Troy,” seeking out the decades before I get there. By my definition, he’s “pushing fifty” and he still rock and/or rolls every night and parties every day.
Ten or eleven years ago, I was part of an online community on Usenet that was a vibrant, electric and eclectic discussion of all things Generation X, and the time came when the eldest members were about to turn 30. It was a really big issue for all of us, but I decided that I was going to embrace 30 for all it had to give.
Turned out 30 had to give existential dread and moments of suicide contemplation, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.
my 20th birthday – note Sean’s super-mullet at far left, and my clear Swatch
Now, at 37, most people will tell you how they are in the best shape of their lives, and how they never felt so good, and how everything seems to be falling into place. I think that’s a lot of wishful hooey – I have to stretch like crazy after the first hoops game or else I will seize up like an old Datsun with no oil, and I can’t fucking drink anymore because the hangovers are SO NOT WORTH IT.
But I will cop to two things: things do seem to be falling into place, and I still look relatively young. Bad skin and stupid hair, as I always say, will keep you fresh in the eye of your beholders. People who look at me these days think “no self-respecting 37-year-old would have hair that stupid.” I still get carded.
Sixteen years ago tonight, I drove to the all-night liquor store in Arcadia (only a few miles from here) and bought my first legal liquor: two airplane bottles of Absolut. Tonight, I went to a similar store in Santa Monica and bought a Forbidden Coke and a Zantac. Perhaps that’s telling, but fuck that Coke tastes good. I have reverted to the simpler pleasures of my tenth and eleventh birthday, and it feels wonderful.
a few minutes after midnight tonight, in the car