Friday, November 05, 2010

My Elvis Year

As I enter my 42nd year on the planet today, I’ve thought a lot about the day in August of 1977 when I walked to the Circle K down the street from my grandparents’ house in Victoria, Tex. and scanned a slew of “Elvis Presley Dead at 42” headlines while waiting to pay for a grape-flavored Slush Puppy.

I realized Presley’s death was undeniably tragic, but I also remember thinking, “Well, 42 is pretty old.”

And I guess it was if you were an 8-year-old kid whose parents were still in their early thirties and not cocked up on pills.

42 doesn’t seem so old anymore, though.

I’m vaguely aware of being well beyond the vaunted 18-34 demographic, but I never felt like I was at the zeitgeist to begin with. One part of getting older that I’ve always sort of looked forward to is the prospect of “aging into” the curmudgeonly nostalgia that was part of my personality even as a child.

Becoming a father has definitely made me feel older, but that’s more a function of parenthood than age. I still don’t feel the sociocultural gravitas I thought I’d feel at 42. I have a family and an accidental career in civil service, but I haven’t put away childish things and have no intention of doing it voluntarily.

I’m glad that spending most of my days garbed in jeans and a T-shirt just like my infant son makes me a thorn in the side of sphincter-lipped scolds like George Will. Let them choke on their dull, grey notions of maturity and propriety – plum-dumb commode humor has sustained me through far too much to give up on it now.

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