60 is the new 47

Linette and I just got back from Kentucky. We drove down yesterday morning for my dads 60th birthday. Actually, he thinks his birthday is today, February 29, but hes always celebrated it on the 28th. I dont know how wed prove it now, but he seems to recall that his mother told him that he was born just a few hours into 1944s Leap Day, but that the doctor had suggest they alter the records. So, we celebrated my dads 60th yesterday, but I suppose we could have celebrated his 15th today.

My father was 24 when I was born. I will be 36 when my first kid is born. It took me a dozen years longer than my father to get started. There are good and bad things about that. I consider them often. One of the good things, I think, is that my dad, my baby and I will all have been born in the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar. Every 12 years it recycles and 1944, 1968 and 2004 are all Monkey years. I wonder if my kid will be 48 when he or she decides to have a kid. Its like an SAT problem.

Tonights post may be a bit erratic. Ive decided not to proofread it. I dont have time. Linette and I are expected at a friends

Before I go any farther into the mathematics of Maynard procreation, I want to post links to two great satire sites. One is called God Hates Shrimp and the other is called 12 Reasons Same-Sex Marriage will Ruin Society. Both do a great job, in my opinion, of skewering the religious right, especially the shrimp-eating religious right, on their hypocrisy when it comes to gay rights. Neither of these links really belongs in a post about my dad turning 60, but I had to mention them before I forgot.

I just posted some photos that we took yesterday, but I should have probably put them in context first.

A few days ago, I was thinking about my beard and how this baby of ours, when he or she is born, might not like it. I began to worry that the baby might not bond with me because of the beard, or that, if it did bond with me, that I could never shave again for fear of losing that connection See, these are the kinds of things I spend my nights worrying about when the rest of you are just enjoying reruns of The Golden Girls.

So, I got a little panicky thinking about the ramifications of my facial hair, and thinking about how I could perhaps save this baby from a lifetime of addiction and misery by just shaving. (I was worried that if I didnt establish an immediate, smooth-faced bond, that our child could grow up disengaged and thus susceptible to the influences of organized religion, drugs, etc.) So, I decided to shave by the first of July, right before our due date. But then I started to think that I should just do it now, before I got any more attached to my facial hair Ultimately, I just decided to go ahead and to it. That was Friday afternoon.

Maybe its another OCD thing, or maybe everyone does it, but I cant shave a beard without making a few stops along the way. Usually, Ill try a Van Dyke on the way to a handlebar moustache, on the way to a Chaplin, on the way to a Hitler. (The last step is always the Hitler moustache, unless you go the horizontal route, in which case the last stop in the John Waters.) This time I thought that Id try a long moustache, one where the ends cascade down past the corners of my mouth like the lines on a ventriloquist dummys chin.

I tried it, I kind of liked it, and, since we were going to be heading to my parents place the next morning, I decided to keep it around for a while, at least until they could see it.

First, when I came downstairs to show Linette my new look, she didnt notice it. I just stood there in front of her for about five minutes and it didnt register. Shed probably deny it now, but she said that I looked tall and handsome. I asked why, and she said that maybe it was the pajamas that I was wearing. Finally, I pointed it out to her and she couldnt stop laughing. She said that I looked like a gay porn star playing a motorcycle cop circa 1971. (Im still not quite sure what to make of the fact that she said I looked really handsome before this supposedly hilarious facial hair registered on a conscience level.)

I began to wonder how long it would take my parents to notice the next morning.

So, we drove to Kentucky, where, I was embarrassed to find my grandmother and my aunt Carol waiting in my parents driveway. I was mortified. I hadnt minded looking like a gay traffic cop in front of my folks, but I didnt want to disappoint my grandma. (Once I showed her a videotape of one of my bands performing and she asked me something to the effect of, How does it feel to get up there on stage and make an asshole out of yourself? I didnt want to relive that moment.)

I asked Linette to get out of the car first, as I turned my head and pretended to be dealing with the dog in the backseat. I was hoping that she would distract them with her pregnant belly and that they might not notice. I had my razor in my bag and I thought that I might be able to just head in and shave.

As it worked out, they saw me and my grandmother liked the thing. My mother, however, didnt. My dad did. I think he used to have one like it. My aunt Carol didnt comment one way or the other Most importantly, no one called me an asshole. I wore the moustache for another six hours and then shaved.

Before shaving, my dad and I got to talk quite a bit about parenting and growing older.

My dad told the story about my great-grandfather that I hadnt heard before. Apparently, my great-grandfather and great-grandmother were still living together on their farm in Kentucky. They must have been in their late 70s or early 80s. My great-grandfather, who I knew as Pa Florian, had been going downhill pretty fast, but he had been refusing to move in with another family member or seek assistance from anyone other than Ma Florian, my great-grandmother. She would take care of him and the big, old farmhouse. Finally, my dad said to him, This is killing Ma. You need to sell this place. He responded that hed never move. And, that night, he died

Linette just got home, saying that its time for us to go. Ill have to finish this later Linette also said that she had the realization today, as she shopped for maternity clothes at Value Village, that she was dressed like executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

OK, we have to go now. Enjoy the Oscars.

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 24, 2006 at 8:50 am | Permalink


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