Getting old is bullshit and I’m roundly opposed to it.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m halfway dead. At 35 (with my current diet, predisposed life span based on the hereditary arc of your average manic depressive and the fact that I haven’t had a physical conducted since my college entrance exam), there are more aspects to my mental and physical well being closing their doors rather than setting up for new business. The first half of my lifetime has been misspent drinking like a fish, smoking like a coal miner with half a brain and a full pension and eating like royalty from the Dark Ages. I’m actually gnawing on a turkey leg as I write this while smoking a cigar on the opposite side of my mouth after doing a round of shots this morning. My willful disregard for any of the natural laws of nutrition is catching up to me and without a third act of repentance after a massive wellness wakeup call, the odds are strong that I’ll drop dead of a coronary within the next ten years. It’s always a good idea to discuss death when dabbling in comedy. Death and humor blend with each other like chocolate and impotency. It’s an unusual combination that’s often incredibly disappointing.
Here’s what you have to look forward to: Hair loss, your body falling apart and a sleep schedule that’s conducive to psychosis or a career in the Marines among other amusing maladies. Twenty years ago I wrote about the bizarre onset of puberty and everything that a young man could look forward to in terms of hair growth. Breaking news bulletin: I am no longer young. In another twenty years I’ll be on the early end of retirement age while in all actuality I’ll be dead. Did I mention the comedy of death yet? If I didn’t, it’s in the last sentence.
Would you like to wake up at five in the morning because you have the bladder of a small toy poodle without the ability to go back to sleep? Would you like to wake up six hours after you went to bed because you have a biological clock that kicks you out of bed at a predetermined time regardless of what time you turned in? Are you looking forward to getting up no matter how exhausted you are because the fluttering wings of a housefly stirred you out of your fitful slumber? If you answered yes, hell to the no or absolutely not to any or all of these questions, it’s going to happen anyway once you stumble onto the back half of your life.
People with kids tell me that you won’t get any sleep for the first two years of your child’s life and I wonder how (and if) that will be any different compared to my current sleep schedule. If it’s not a car door slamming three blocks away at sunrise it’s the urgent need to piss my brains out during the first occurrence of a R.E.M. cycle throughout the course of the morning. Once I’m up, that’s it, I’m staying up. After taking a leak I start funneling coffee into my gullet and chain smoking at the computer. My wife wonders why I’m irritable by the time she rolls out of bed three hours later and I’ve already subsequently demolished a pot of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. With that sort of breakfast she’s lucky I’m not foaming at the mouth and hell bent on jousting with the mailman at ten paces.
Coffee kicks my ass now. If I have a cup after five p.m. I can count on staying up until two or three in the morning. If I drink ice cream after eight o’clock I become incredibly gassy. I don’t think I’m lactose intolerant but my body says otherwise when it comes to ice cream. My constitution could be faulty thanks largely to the fact that I’ve eaten suicide wings no less than once a week for the last twenty years. When (not if) my asshole falls out of my body and crawls into a nearby sewage drain I’ll need a custom made cast iron colostomy bag. My ongoing diet would make Jack Lalanne vomit blood after two snacks.
In my early ’20s I had a cute little patch of hair on the back of my head that looked unnecessarily shiny in a mirror. I also had a high forehead. Some ten years later that tiny peninsula of thinning hair has turned into a bald patch that could easily host a jumbo yarmulke during my Christmas Day outing to an opening matinee and Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. The forehead went from a modified widow’s peak to a five-head to a length of skull that you can screen an opening matinee on. Charlie Brown will be ripping on my hair loss in another five years and I won’t have a comeback for that bald son of a bitch because I’ll be too groggy from sleep loss and the impending coffee-crash that comes with it. I come from a family tree of high foreheads, but I’ve truly outdone all of the follicle challenged. It’s a late Indian summer up there and most of the leaves have already left the building. After nine books and nine accompanying hair dyes (platinum blonde, black, red and green, to name a few), my hair isn’t bouncing back. If this trend continues I’ll have to shave my head and fasten a throw rug into my skull with concrete-bearing screws just like Elton John.
The good news is that I’m growing more hair outside of my ear lobes, so that offsets some of the bald patches and receding forehead. I always thought that I’d look handsome once my hair went gray but it’s falling out or failing to regenerate fast than the salt and pepper conversion. I made the mistake of trying to shave the horizontal inch-long fronds jutting out from ears and ended up spraying blood down my neck. I told my co-workers a tall tale about our cat jumping up and scratching me on the side of my ear but I’m positive that no one believed me. Now I just pluck the hairs out with a tweezer after pulling patches of fuzz out of the inside of my nose. Do you want more hair in your nose and ears instead of on your head? Of course you don’t. Good news/bad news: You’re going to get it anyway. Be careful what you don’t wish for on your worst enemy because biology is a filthy whore of a mistress. If I make it to 50 I’ll be fashioning a comb-over from the pigtails protruding from my nostrils.
I never had allergies as a kid, but at the current trend I’ll need an iron lung just to walk outside. A mild dusting of pollen leaves me sneezing up hunks of glow-stick colored phlegm and a brain that feels like a hot air balloon. If a mild cold travels through the area I’m on hospice care for three months. The last time I ate frozen fish my ass turned into a fire hydrant and I was funneling every fluid in my body out of my mouth and into the bath tub at the same time for three days. Would you like to know more about my bowel regularity? Then log in this instant to: www.tomsgoing.org. Join the other five million subscribers in ongoing chat sessions, photo albums and the increasingly popular creamed corn and cocktail peanut arcade game!
Other assorted things you can look forward to for those of you playing the home version of this game: complete and absolute short term memory loss, diminishing appetite, the metabolism of a sloth with an aberrant thyroid dysfunction and frequent bouts of scurvy, whooping cough, ‘the vapors’ and hysterical blindness. Mental bonus multipliers include a near-total lack of recall when running into someone you haven’t seen for a few years or more, solidified neuroses on par with an average day in the life for Woody Allen and on-command impotency.
If you’re going to open the show with death, there’s no better follow-up act than impotence.
Has anybody seen my car keys?
Tom ‘hair faux-hawk’ Waters