I've got a few friends who don't like to acknowledge their birthdays, especially those that end with zeroes.
Maybe it represents another year of dreams unrealized or jeans unwearable. Perhaps it's just the notion that some of us have scampered substantially past life's fifty yard line, the end zone looms ahead and we're just not quite ready to spike the pigskin and kick off.
Yeah, well screw it. Tomorrow's my fiftieth birthday and I'm going to wear it like a freaking halter top.
Fifty years old. Seems like a long time when you consider that John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Malcolm X still had beating hearts and passionate aims when my mother awoke with a raging spinal headache and a gooey little meatloaf named Tim swaddled up next to her.
Oh, but there were others who broke onto the scene in 1962. Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target all got held upside down by the ankles and whacked on the arse that year, ushering in the era of retail box stores.
Had to have been a C-section. Ouch.
Coincidentally, 1962 was also the year that eight-year-old Chinese kids learned to weave horse hair into Barbie Doll heads while assembling Etch-a- Sketches with their toes and elbows.
I also felt compelled to google celebrities born in that Year of the Tiger, and I must admit, we've got an impressive smattering of crazy among the ranks.
Demi Moore and Paula Abdul are fellow fifty-year-olds. While I wouldn't exactly say they're insane, I also wouldn't ask them to babysit my pain meds while I run to the Circle K for some Corn Nuts.
Then there's the Scientology contingent: Kelly Preston and the man himself, Maverick, the king of shiny-faced weirdness, Tom Cruise. Those two do look fantastic—too fantastic in fact. It's hard to tell if their youthful complexions are the fruits of having arduously attained an operationally clear thetan state...or...you know, Botox.
Add Travolta to the mix and you've got yourself a nice steamy stew of creepy.
Also turning fifty this year is a Puget Sound institution where they're not called Tater Tots, doggone it. They're freaking Mexi Fries and I'm referring, of course, to Taco Time.
Back in 1972, my mom and I established a tradition of hitting Taco Time for a taco salad following Weight Watchers meetings. If I'd lost weight that week, I usually went for the sour cream ranch dressing. Otherwise, just hot sauce. Since then, I've consumed so many of their forearm-sized burritos I can actually enter the restaurant and order a number seventeen without speaking.
But since this blog is all about reflections and since I've made more mistakes than Mitt Romney trying to figure out a washing machine, here are a few anecdotes which, if given the hypothetical opportunity, I'd pass along to younger versions of myself:
To eleven-year-old Tim: Dude, seriously, just because you watched that movie of the week about that girl who was kidnapped, buried alive and left to breathe out of a straw until her parents scraped up the ransom—it doesn't mean it's going to happen to you. Calm the hell down and turn off the light. It's three in the morning.
To twenty-five-year-old Tim: Dude, seriously, you may think that mullet looks good, but it doesn't, especially in a pony tail. Get rid of it and tell your twenty-seven-year-old self that by no means should he get a mullet perm prior to his trip to Europe.
To thirty-two-year-old Tim: Dude, seriously, I know you haven't had any coffee yet, it's super early and your ten-month old wants you to read "Busy Bear" to her for the fifth time. Just do it and enjoy it. She's going to be a high school senior some day and you'll miss your baby girl.
To forty-nine-year-old Tim: Dude, seriously, try to be a little nicer, a bit kinder to everyone you encounter. You're always talking about how our behavior produces Doppler waves of karma. Practice what you preach. And eat more vegetables.
Oh, yeah, and before I forget. Jon Stewart turns fifty later this year, so whether you know him or actually are him, I thought I'd pass along this birthday nugget to Mr. Stewart:
Yes, Jon, its true. I'm finally willing to write for your show.