I'm feeling old lately. I know I say that all the time, but this time I mean it.
I am feeling very old.
It's not my age (thirty), my once-glorious now por-ious hairline, my spare tire, or my rotten teeth.
It's all of the above.
The origin of the current episode can be traced back to my dear wife, who pointed to a photo of us on the refrigerator. The picture in question was taken circa 1996 and shows a cleanly shaven man with his bride (also, thankfully, absent facial hair).
"Can you believe how much older you look since that was taken?" she said.
Well, no, actually I couldn't. I thought I looked more or less the same, other than the goatee. It's not like there's some dramatic drop-off in photogenic quality; pretty much any pic of me taken from 1992 to the present looks just like any other. Or so I thought.
[Let me point out that I could have mentioned that any change in me pales in comparison to the difference between a 19 year-old collegiate and a 28 year-old mother of three. But that would be mean and I won't do it]
But then I started noticing the fading hairline, and the lines around my eyes, and the way elderly women are looking more and more attractive by the day. And so I began to take stock of just how much I have changed over the years.
Physically I'm sure I have a few more wrinkles, nicely offset by the reduction in hair follicles. But I really don't feel older. (this may have something to do with the fact that I am healthier now than I was in college; pretty miraculous given I'm a 300 pound smoker. Of course dropping a hundred pounds and laying off the pound of bacon each morning 'll do that.)
Emotionally? Well, sure, I guess I'm more mature now than I was in, say, 1994. Not by much, but enough to make the point. I'm a husband of long standing and a father of two with another on the way. Kind of hard to keep Voltron as the center of your universe with those titles resting on your shoulders.
No, I think the whole age thing for me is mental. Not that that makes it hurt any less, but at least I can cling to the belief that I'd drop a few years if I took up meditation.
And truthfully, most of the time I don't think I'm that old. Unless someone mentions certain trivia:
Like the fact that Eddie Vedder, the one true rock idol of my youth, turned forty last year.
Or that people who turn twenty-one this year were born the year Reagan was re-elected.
But the one that hits me the hardest: most incoming college freshmen this fall were born in 1987, the very same year I started enrolling in high school and took an alarming interest in a Debbie Gibson photo-spread from Teen Beat.
In other words, three-fifths of the women in television and every - count 'em every - adult movie star and stripper currently employed - was in diapers when I was old enough to think happy thoughts about their profession.
Enough to make you want to tour rest homes, isn't it?
I have no doubt this will all get worse in the coming years. Someday my bones will creak when it rains, I'll read the obituaries instead of the comics, and Depends will stop being a punchline to my jokes and start being a fashion accessory.
But I betcha I'll still take a pretty picture.