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This is Paul Hirsch

Paul Hirsch

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I turn 40 today, and I have a few things to say about that

In some ways, today is just another day that happens to mark another rotation around a big ball of fire. I woke up this morning, had a nice poo, had a nice shower, looked at myself in the mirror, and damned if it wasn’t the same dude who was just in his 30s a day ago.

Yet, in many ways, we, as a society, create all sorts of meaning around this arbitrary day. This has some downsides and some upsides.

One downside of turning 40 is that I am magically creepier than I was a day ago. See, when you’re 29, you can still be the cool “older” guy in a college bar, and it’s not creepy, but as soon as you turn 30, you instantly become “that” guy, the one where people try not to make eye contact because the younger crowd knows you probably shouldn’t be sharing the same space as them. Now that I’m 40, I’m a whole new level of creepy when I hang out at bars or go to the clubs. I realize my creep factor would be significantly less if I wasn’t always standing in the corner touching my bits, but for the record, what I’m actually doing is trying to unstick my boys off the side of my leg. See, now that I’m 40, they hang halfway down my leg and sweat too much, a second unfortunate downside of getting older. So give the old guy in the corner a break. He’s not trying to be creepy; he just forgot his Gold Bond that morning.

Another downside is the expectation that I’m supposed to be a whole shit-tonne more responsible. When I was in my 30s, I could be an irresponsible prick and folks around me might write it off as some guy in his 30s who isn’t quite acting his age, no big deal. Now I’ve reach an arbitrary number where I should “know better,” and that excuse isn’t going to cut it anymore. Mind you, it’s not going to change my behavior, but I understand it makes me more accountable, at least until I reach an age where I can claim senility. More on that in a moment. For what it’s worth, I’ve mitigated the whole “be responsible” thing by not having kids, which means when I misbehave (pretty much anytime I’m awake), at least I can say “there’s a reason I don’t have kids,” and I’ll get some points back for not maligning my progeny with my shenanigans. I just said “shenanigans”; fuck me, I’m old.

Speaking of kids, on the upside, now that I’m 40, no one’s telling me anymore that Amy and I should have kids. I think everyone’s resigned to the fact that it’s just not going to happen, and we’d much rather corrupt other people’s children than have to deal with our own screwed up offspring.

Another upside is that I understand this is the year I need to make an appointment to see a certain doctor who is going to tell me if I’m at risk for colon cancer. This means I get a nice cocktail of mind-numbing drugs and a 6 foot rubber hose shoved up my ass, or as we call it in the Hirsch house, a Tuesday night. I can book as many of these theraputic sessions as I want (well, up to once a year or so) because I’m arbitrarily an “older person” now. So that’s something, right?

Later today, I’m going to jump out of a plane (thanks for the skydiving gift Amy!), and we’re going to find out once and for all if karma actually exists. If it does, then Amy gets a nice fat life insurance check, and a whole lot more people than I’m probably aware get instant restitution for my past behavior. If it doesn’t, then I’m living proof the Hindus, Buddhists and other spiritualists got it wrong. If you believe in karma, and I survive my fall, you can suck it, and you owe me a birthday beer.

One of the beautiful things about getting older is that the more years you have under your belt, the more entitled you are to bizarre and socially unacceptable behavior. I’m looking forward to life after the next 40 years, when I can walk into a mall, pull down my pants, take a huge steamy dump in the mall fountain, and people will be like “it’s ok – he’s just some old dude, doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

Here’s to another 40 years and the entitlements they grant me. Cheers!