Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sometimes I Think too Much

It’s 8:35 & I’m going into Manhattan for a friend's (Troy's) birthday party at a place called "Jim's 43rd." The bus's shocks must be made out of Slinkies (or is it "Slinkys" because it's a proper noun?) and it's bouncing all over the place. I shaved my cheeks, trimmed the beard, showered at 6pm for a night out with friends, and I'm having flashbacks to 15 years & 60 pounds ago when almost every Friday & Saturday night were spent clubbing around Monterey, San Antonio, & D.C. (Ok, more at the NCO clubs than around town, but you get the picture.) The main difference? I'm a married daddy now: No more contact lenses, no more pack of Marlboro lights in my pocket next to my monogrammed Zippo (It was engraved with the word ROC, one of my Army nicknames. Another one was Penfold, because some witty Drill Sgt decided that with a shaved head & glasses I looked like the hamster from Danger Mouse. I could go on about how he would order me to say, "Crumbs!" when he was bored, but I'm getting off topic.) I'm wearing a frumpy sweater & loose fit jeans instead of Polo clothes, no longer acting like a Czech Brother out for a night with "the Foxes," because the Queen Fox is waiting for me when I get home. Yes, it's high time for a mid-life crisis.

(Here's an odd thing: the F-train stopped at Roosevelt Ave, & an E- train was stopped across the station. When the doors opened, the lady on the station's loudspeaker could be heard saying, "For the 3rd time tonight, this is an E-train to 53rd St." The trains don't stay in the station longer than 30 seconds, so she couldn't have been asked about it that many times. Was she just bored & counting them as they went through?)

Back to thoughts about being older & mature. I learned years ago to be the funny guy, to not let anything get by me without a joke, to have a snappy comeback ready in case some misanthrope put me down. I realize that this is the result of a childhood wish to be like my cousin Dean, who is one of the funniest people I know. My desire to play the guitar, master chess, & my interest in philosophy also came from my desire to be like him. Then I realized that I didn't so much want to be like him as I wanted to be loved & respected like him. This is understandable, since as a kid I was picked on all the time & felt like no one wanted me around, while he was someone everyone looked forward to seeing & begged to come visit. I then realized that the other half of my makeup comes from my father- bowling, the desire to be a pilot, (some of) my politics, Star Trek, the Yankees, writing, Catholicism (I’ve since converted to Pastafarianism, but at one point in my youth I even considered the priesthood) hell- I probably joined the Army fueled by a desire to be more like & respected by him. I get my artistic talents from my mother, but it's fathers that boys emulate.

So one day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and asked myself- if almost everything I am comes from other people, just what the hell is left that's actually me?



String said...

Your wit and keen discerning brain.

Lee said...

good question Tony - let me know when you get it figured out, but hurry cause I'm speeding towards a mid-life crisis of my own...hope you enjoyed your wild night on the town!

Caroline said...

Penfold? I can't get over that one!

Laura said...

definitely your sharp wit, quirky sense of humor and of course your constant quest for answers - oh yes one more thing, your ability to guess the right amount of gumballs =)

studio lolo said...

But you are you, Tony. Every cell, every thought is yours. We're influenced by people along the way, and of course every experience we have makes us who we are. We may inherit talents, etc., from other people, but we don't inherit personalities. I think a mid-life crisis is really a mid-life breakthrough. It's when we realize we've drifted from our dreams or we scratch our heads and say "this is it?" But then if we're lucky we dig deep into our reserves and find our way back, hopefully without doing anything stupid first. Usually we see that we're not too far off course after all. We just need to make a few minor tweaks. I'm here to tell you I've had a few meltdowns of my own! I have a feeling I'm not done yet.

V.K. said...

yeah I know what you mean, I ask myself who am I anyway all the time - there are lots of me's in here. Good questions. I liked reading this post. I can see it Frank Miller styl/ish as a graphic novel. How long do mid-life crises last? Do they go better with Pabst?

LDahl said...

I am going to tell you a horrible secret. Midlife crisis is just one of a long nameless list of crisis:)))
You'll get used to it, it'll seem normal after while and can be entertaining.
To answer your question, you are the sum of your desires.
Feel better now? heheh!