On having completed another lap around the sun

MMbdaycollagesmall

I’d intended for this post to be funny. The image at the top of the page, as I’d envisioned it, was going to be of the happy, young me looking at his older, grayer, more beaten-down self and reacting in horror with something like a, “Jesus Christ, you can’t be serious.”

You would have liked it.

As I was working on it, though, I had change of heart… It just didn’t feel right. The truth is, I think the younger me would be both surprised and impressed to discover that I’d not only survived into adulthood, and had a family, but continued, despite the occasional setback, to keep making things. [The younger me, I can tell you for a fact, didn’t think we’d make it very far.] Sure, the grizzled beard and sunken, blood-filled eyes would probably terrify the younger me, but, once the initial shock wore off, I’d like to think that the younger version of me would appreciate how the older me had played the cards we’d been dealt. And I like that idea. I like the possibility that the younger version of myself, if he were thrust into modern times, might give me a little nod in approval, after poking around my house for a bit, meeting Linette and the kids, and asking a few probing questions.

And, yeah, today’s my birthday. It was 48 years ago today that I was pulled from inside of my unconscious mother with forceps, beginning this long, mostly uncomfortable trip through life.

[While I know it’s unlikely that I’ll ever have the chance to have the younger version of myself travel forward in time to validate the decisions I’ve made post puberty, it just occurred to me that might work just as well to find a random pale, fat kid in a windbreaker somewhere, tell him that I’m actually him in grown-up form, and then lay out my entire life, asking whether or not he approves of how I’ve done. Of course, it could totally depress a kid to tell him that he ends up as a blogger in Ypsilanti, but it’s a risk I think I’m willing to take.]

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17 Comments

  1. Peter Larson
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Interesting.

  2. Posted February 11, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday!

  3. Janice Anschuetz
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Mark. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. We appreciate it.

  4. Francis Baur
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If you told people you were turning, say 55, they’d look at you and say, “Wow. He looks pretty good for his age.” Instead, “He’s *only* 48?” is what’s running through my head.

    Your younger self would probably hate you or at least be disappointed in you. That’s a good thing. Young people are supposed to have disdain for their elders. You could look at that and figure your younger self was going to turn out alright.

    Happy birthday! Don’t slip in the bath tub.

  5. Eel
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, please stop bathing. You’re a national treasure.

  6. Mr. X
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    It’s like a horror movie — a terrifying Mark Maynard approaches you on a playground, saying, “I’m you from the future, and I need to make sure you’re OK with some decisions that I’ve made.”

  7. Mr. X
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Charlie Kaufman could direct.

  8. Debbie Watts
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Be sure to post pix of the cake.
    Happy Birthday, may this be your best year yet!

  9. Andy LaBarre
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday Mark Maynard, but you’re a fraud. The pic on the bottom, one from the left, is Michael Cera.

  10. Susan Fecteau‎
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I wanna see a picture of your cake… It better not have any designer names or jewelry on it!

  11. (the original) Robert
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    It really is creepy that you would try to use your first-hand knowledge of this poor child’s most personal thoughts just to victimize him with these unresolved issues of your adult self. I would hope that your younger self would know to run screaming and to report the incident to his parents, a teacher, or a policeman. Hopefully it would comfort your younger self to know you had then been apprehended and would be facing quite a few years in prison where you couldn’t traumatize any other younger versions of yourself.

  12. Posted February 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday! I tend to go through something similar on my birthday (minus finding a random young girl with a Dorothy Hamill haircut and telling her I’m her), especially since I realized that I have now lived longer than I have left to live.

    I think young Mark would be proud. You’d have to explain “blogger” to him, but I think he would think it is cool. Don’t show him the zombie picture though. Do show him the Puppet.

  13. Rebekah Modrak
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    i think it was a wise choice not to wear bib jumpers past your first decade. And all other decisions too. Happy Birthday!

  14. (the original) Robert
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, and happy birthday.

  15. Patty Stevenson
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Looking at the top right image, it makes me happy that someone I used to make puppets with in the 1970s (Naia) has created a puppet in your likeness. Life is weird and pretty cool.

  16. Jason DePasquale
    Posted February 12, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    When I pitch my ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ remake to studio execs, “he ends up as a blogger in Ypsilanti” is going to be sentence number two of my updating of George Bailey’s life trajectory.

    Happy Birthday.

  17. facebook stalker
    Posted February 12, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Mark from Facebook:

    Damn. Damn. Damn… I told everyone at West End Grill that I’d kill them if photos got out from my secret birthday party, but it looks like Travelingb Lazerham snuck some footage.

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