Assuming I live one more day, I will turn 40 on Saturday.
Forty. That just doesn’t seem possible. How in the world did I get to be 40?
I just graduated college yesterday, didn’t I? I was playing high school baseball, what, last month? Playing with Hot Wheels and “Star Wars” figures last year?
It feels that way, anyway. My Granny, who is headed toward 90, once told me she didn’t start to feel old until she was 80. We must be cut from the same cloth because I certainly don’t feel my age. Well, maybe sometimes when things hurt for no good reason first thing in the morning.
But mostly I feel like a big kid. (Some people might say I act like one sometimes, too.) I certainly remember being one.
There’s a country song by Mark Wills called “19-something,” part of which goes like this:
I was Roger Staubach back in my backyard
Had a shoebox full of baseball cards
And a couple of Evel Knievel scars
On my right arm
Well, I was a kid when Elvis died
And my mama cried
It was 1970- something ...
That’s me. NO team was cooler than the Cowboys. No man was cooler than Knievel. I don’t remember mama crying, but the lady across the street did.
And it still feels like yesterday. The next chorus even moreso:
It was 1980-something
In the world that I grew up in
Skating rinks and black Trans Ams
Big hair and parachute pants ...
Oh, how I wanted a black Trans Am like the one Burt Reynolds drove in “Smokey and the Bandit.” (I did end up owning a black Z28 for awhile.) I was a pro on a pair of roller skates at the old Golden Glide rink in DeKalb County. And there may be a picture or two floating around somewhere that shows me with gel in my hair. I am proud to report, however, that I never wore parachute pants.
And now? Knievel is dead, the Cowboys are cruddy, and I have no doubt putting on a pair of roller skates would end tragically. And I drive a pick-up truck.
For Pete’s sake, I’m closer to my senior citizen discount than I am to my high school prom! On Sunday I’ll officially be closer to 60 than 20. I’m a full five years removed from that 18-35 demographic that advertisers treasure so much, which means commercials will just make even less sense to me as time goes on. Movie titles are already getting confusing. Modern music is just plain mystifying.
Speaking of music, all mine can still be found on VH1. Classic.
My television shows are on TV Land. More and more of my movies are on Turner Classic Movies. There’s that word “classic” again.
So that’s what I am now, a classic? I thought it was too soon to throw that word around. The closer I got to 40, the younger it seemed. Then on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion some of us in the newsroom were talking about where we were, and one of the copy editors said he was 2. Then a reporter piped up: “I wasn’t born yet.”
Now that will make you feel old. Which brings me to the end of that country song:
Now I got a mortgage and an SUV
But all this responsibility
Makes me wish sometimes
It was 1980-something ...
But it isn’t and won’t be ever again. But you know what? Like my daddy says, there’s one good thing about getting older.
It sure beats the alternative.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.