Thursday, October 6, 2011


As I was leaving a restaurant last week, I was saying good-bye
to the Japanese hostess and laughing after she said, "You big".
I chuckled, then waved back to some friends who were sitting
at the bar as I was about to exit, stage right. As I turned to go
out the door, it hit me. Or I hit it. I ran into the big, plate-glass
door like a Bull in a China shop, except the China didn't break.
The door was half as thick as the one you'd find in a vault
at the Bellagio. I'm sure the restaurant fortified the door with
industrial strength glass, guarding itself against drunkards, fools,
and guys like me, although I've been considered the aforementioned
at times.

After crashing into the glass door like a raven flies aimlessly into the
bay window of a kitchen, I struggled to regain my senses,
and that's when it hit me. That's when it really hit me. No, not the
glass door on the rebound, but the realization that Father Time has
caught up to me. Some of the senses are not as sharp, the skills are
eroding but at least I haven't had to go see Dr. Oz to get those
little blue performance-enhancing drugs. But if, and when the time
comes, I won't be calling the doctor if I have one that lasts for more
than four hours. Ahhhhh, Such is the life of a 47-year old man.

When I see that number on a screen while squinting and saying,
"WTF?" I have trouble believing that I'm actually 47 years
old and my vision is fading. 47? Much closer to 50 than 40,
the age people start playfully reminding you that you're approaching
the crest and just a few steps away from going over that
hill. I refuse to get the "grandpa" glasses at the drug store even
though a pair would help decipher those Mark Zuckerberg-scripted
logarithms on a restaurant menu. I'm in denial about my age and sight,
which seem to be fading along with my hairline while my waistline easily
grows bigger.

Man, wasn't it just yesterday that I was off to Chapel Hill to
play baseball, party, and do very little studying at the University
of North Carolina? Where the hell did the time go? It often
feels like I'm riding shotgun with Helio Castroneves in the
Indy 500, everything just a blur at 230 mph. Everything goes by
quicker after you hit 40, doesn't it? Years go by like months,
months go by like minutes, and then you're celebrating another

It's funny how when you get older, the rear view mirror
doesn't show you what's behind you, but rather what lies
ahead. A quick glance the other day pointed out the effects
of the crows that have been pounding their feet around my
eyes. I can only imagine the damage those feet are going
to cause me in five years.

As you get older, sleep becomes one of the most important
things in your life. You get tired a whole lot quicker and
9:30 pm comes pretty early  these days and that's ok by me.
That large, fluffy pillow has never felt so good. One wild
night that takes you past the late edition of "SportsCenter"
can wreck you for days.  Recovering from a "big" night
on the town that brings you in at 1:30 am can be a struggle.

As most people in this day and age of the Internet, Facebook,
and Twitter, not to mention a brutal economy and the
incredible shrinking 401k, I've got a lot on my mind with
many different distractions. We all get forgetful sometimes,
but when it becomes a pattern, then you know some of the
brain cells are either dead or stuck in molasses. When I went
to compete in the triathlon a few weeks ago, I left my shoes
at home. That's like a jockey forgetting to bring his horse to the
Kentucky Derby.

Oh, I realize that I'm lucky to still be upright and have
the ability to compete in events like the Half-Ironman. But boy,
have I gotten slow. I was never fleet of foot, however, when
I saw some video of myself running in the triathlon, I realized
that there are 65-year old woman who can walk faster backwards
than I can forward. The Kenyans can run half of the Boston
Marathon, stop for a McDonald's Happy Meal (super-sized, of course)
then complete the last half of it while I'm just getting to the
drive-thru window.

I know that while my hairline is receding, I still have
most of it and remarkably, very little of it has turned
gray. I am truly thankful that I inherited very good genes,
even if the ones I bought a short time ago, no longer
fit.  But there is a time when we all get that feeling, that
realization, and that moment where we know we've made
the turn and are on the back nine of life. A time, or an
epiphany, where we concede that we are a little bit
slower with our moves, not as quick with the mind,
and not as sharp with some of our skills.

After hitting that glass door, I had a red welt on my
forehead, which has since turned black and blue, to remind
me that Father Time is starting to kick my ass.

No comments:

Post a Comment