Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Crisis? What (mid-life) Crisis?*

the highway scribe is learning how to surf this hot summer.

He’s been out on the waves eight times since April, has some kind of torn rib ligament, and actually tread the black night waters off Marina del Rey ‘neath a dome of Fourth o’ July sky fire, which, by the way, raises the minor and obvious point that we Americans really like our gunpowder.

Surfing at 47 is pretty dangerous, the scribe will admit, but it’s certainly fun and very physical and when you’re facing your third mid-life crisis since the age of twenty-five, a most worthwhile endeavor.

The allure is this: once you've placed yourself in the correct place, are lifted up by the surge, pull into a stance, and begin dropping into the wave (none of which happens easily or often), you simply are, or feel like, the coolest guy/girl in the world.

And, besides, it’s a good way to go. (How’s that for facing up?)

Some will note that there are plenty of surfers out there in their forties, fifties, and sixties even.

And that would be true, but those guys know what they’re doing

the scribe, to continue, has also read two issues of “Surfer” magazine from cover to cover, can tell you that a “Grom” is surf talk for beginning surfer, what a "rash guard" is, and certain rudimentary things about tides, waves and currents the existence of which he was only vaguely aware prior to his new passion.

This mid-life crisis can’t be nearly as fun as the one at twenty-five. That guy was nuts and is lucky to be alive. The one at 36 was the bad one and it was born of the realization teenage girls were pretty much a thing of the past.

Once you’ve accepted that, death is a cinch.

This current crisis is proof life keeps getting better, that you don’t enjoy your fun less than when you are younger: You enjoy it more because you have less of it.

If you follow.

Mid-life crisis is not a crisis at all, it’s a wake-up call to take advantage of what’s around you; a reminder that time is passing and that what is, will soon have been.

Perhaps this is cause for great depression in some people, but those people just don’t get it...dance before you lose the use of your feet.

Mid-life crisis was invented by young and not-so-young people who are afraid of life beyond 40, or 50, or whatever age it is that you’re supposed to feel old at (they keep raising the bar on it).

And don’t get the scribe wrong, all the surf excitement does not signal agreement with Dennis Hopper and his big financial company sponsor’s hooey about baby boomers “redefining” retirement.

Here’s a newsflash. The redefining’s already been done, you're not doing that redefining, and its spells NO RETIREMENT!

Nobody wants to pay for it, not your employer and not your government. When you read about the relatively new president of France and his promises to end benefits that are “too generous” that’s what he's talking about: a pension payment that permits you to stay home when you're old.

Too generous?

As ampm mini-marts reminds us, “You can’t have too much good stuff.”

And you can’t have too many mid-life crises; can’t have too many breaks from the grind because commitment to the grind is enough without proving how commercial cool you are by doing it forever.

You need to do some other stuff and do it before it’s too late. If you still have the option, consider it good news and don’t sit around lamenting what is past.

As the surfers say, “Life is sick!”

(that means “good”)

Annual Fourth of July reprint, somewhat abridged*

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