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How We Earned Our Wings.

Days away from forty, that's what I am.

You could leave tonight on some two week package tour and when you got back home, tired and all bloated from wine and pressurized cabins, me: I'd be forty years old. Go ahead. Go ahead and dip your crusty bread in the shallows of olive oil under the rustic beams of Tuscan's better joints. Go over and walk along the streets of gay Paris with your lover or your partner or your grandmom, I don't care. I'll still be here when you get back.

Fly out tonight if you want; if you can. Seize the goddamn day already and get out there in the German squares. They'll be decked out in all their Christmas glory by now. Hell, they probably have been for a week or so already. Sip some beer from a mega-stein in a cathederal's shadow. Have a bit of mulled wine with your piping hot brown sack of Euro-chestnuts. Buy some shit, some hand-painted Kringle Klause ornaments for your tree back in the states. Let loose for once. Enjoy yourself.

And when you get back: I'll be forty.

I don't know why but age never really occurs to me all that much. I mean, I just don't find myself thinking about it often. Most years go by and for the most part, at any given moment, I'm thinking about, like one of three or four things. You could swish down out of the heavens on a bluebird May afternoon, or some wintery gray morning, and circle my skull three times and then just slip into my earhole and fly back into my Department of Thoughts and the first thing you would see, I guarantee you, would be either a fat trout jumping out of the water/ my kids playing in a field of fresh clover where I have never ever been and neither have they/ various stupid things for sale on Ebay that I am probably going to buy/ or my wife in a tight, white wife-beater, black Chucks, striped knee-socks and these baby blue short shorts she got from American Apparel like six years ago.

That's it, really. I mean, c'mon, that's obviously not everything that ever registers in my brain, but it's pretty fucking close, I'll tell you that.

And so sometimes I get to wondering where exactly my mind should be at 40. What should I be thinking about? Should I be thinking about my health? Because, to tell you the truth: I really don't that much. I go the gym sometimes when I can, but probably not as much as I should. And I know the reality is that if I really had the willpower/the gusto, I could be getting up at 4am and jogging down the country lanes in the dark, like a lost deer with a wafer full of iTunes clipped to my bicep. But I don't do that. And I don't even think about that.

What about money, like finances and stuff? I should be considering those things I know. I should be planning my investment strategy and watching my shares in this and that rise and fall, huh? I ought to be squirreling away some Benjamins too; for the kids' college. Or their bail. But, somehow I avoid thinking about that and instead, when I could be micro-managing my 401K I'm pretty much holding Henry in one arm and motorboating on his ear while I use the other hand to work on stupid shit, like my Amazon Wishlist. If Amazon Wishlists ultimately paid off some kind of weird dividends, man, I'd be set. I update that thing daily, sometimes hourly; the very tides of my immediate existence reflected in the perpetual adding and deleting of swarms of fishing poles and miter saws and paperback Thomas Hardy novels.

There are days when you could be monitoring me from your secret spy cam tucked into the bonsai plant on the living room table, watching my ass with your friends all gathered around your computer screen/drinking beer and laughing, and you'd be mortified as you witnessed me put my baby son down onto the floor to play with the electrical cords from the tv and put big tumbleweeds of dog hair in his little mouth just so I could delete the first two seasons of Mad Men on Blu-Ray from my Wishlist because I don't know if I even really wanna waste a wish on that shit or not. And, then, a half-hour later, you and your buddies would be screaming out loud: OH NO HE DITTINT! as you watched me put a spoonful of Gerber goo on my baby's nose, aiming for his lips but missing big because I'm not looking at him right that minute; I'm adding Mad Men back to the list.

I spend a lot of time outside my skin. I get out a step ladder I keep out behind my heart and my lungs and I climb up on it and crawl out the window of my face and I walk over there, maybe ten yards away and just watch. I watch me and try and clock exactly where I'm headed, who I'm becoming. Maybe there's a name for that sort of thing, but if there is I don't know it. What I know is that I stand there in the corner watching me do my thing and it's hilarious and sweet and trivial and monumental and maybe even tragic too, but it's way too early to say, I hope. 

But I stand there and I watch closely. There I am: fucking wading in the chest-high waves right off the coast of forty years old. Look at you, you husky squat bastard: walking around the house, in the early morning, pushing Violet in her high chair, across the floorboards real fast, making NASCAR engine sounds as she raises her hands in the air and lets out a high-pitched shrill thing that could kill a coyote dead; parking her there in front of the tube, way up high over her little brother who I got sitting down beside the coffee table in his pink chair, sucking on a bottle of his expensive powdered hooch; her taking her first bite of toast and honey as I pull up one of the episodes of Mickey Mouse I recorded on the DVR/ pulling it up in the nano-millisecond before she's about to look at me with a mouthful of food and ask me for just that. Reading her like a book.

Reading them like some super badass book that you can't find on any wishlists because there's only one copy in the history of the world since it was a drop of syrup plunging down through cold dark space a zillion years ago and you already own it.

You already own it like a motherfucker.

So, yeah. I'm not worried. I think about the wrong stuff, I guess. And I waste time sometimes/ a lot of times.

But in all seriousnes: my toast and honey?

It's like swallowing forty years worth of God's personal pecan pie.

Reader Comments (10)

A lovely wife, 2 great kids, a house in the country, and a talented writer to keep us wanting more...why complicate life by wanting any more. Happy Birthday man, enjoy it

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan

You're such an incredible writer, it's actually ridiculas. I've been reading Monica's blog for a while, and kept meaning to research Marah. This post me made do just that (to see if your writing here is any indication of your ability to also write lyrics) and I can't wait find out.

...also you should know, Wikipedia isnt showing your return to the band.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

You wanna' know what's weird? So weird? Seriously. I have that SAME THOUGHT about Monica in the socks, Chucks, and wife beater. I just have her in acid washed Daisy Dukes. 'Cause I'm Old School, 45 years old, and that's how I roll.
Happy Birthday my dear friend in my head. My man Curley and I dream of a day youse two guys, can sit with us on our little patio, and watch the set over the Long Island Sound. Btw, we are so NOT rich, it's a rental. So the wine will be of the big bottle variety, but the beer is usually microbrew. See we compensate!
Anyhooooooo, Mon and you have a shitload of fans out here pickin' our noses through cyberspace. We love her blog, your blog, your music, etc. I think your priorites are right where they should be. You two are a whole buncha alright.
So once again, Happy Birthday. Enjoy your day. Be comforted in the fact in MY opinion, you both are doing everything as right as can be - better than "right", magnificently. And hell, I wipe my ass like everyone else, so my opinion does matter! (Had to talk myself into that one for just a sec.)
Sorry, where was I? Ah yes. Give smooches to those two delish peanuts that both look exactly like you, and soul kiss Monica for me. I mean REALLY soul kiss her, as she is my girl crush, in case I didn't make that crystal clear.
PS- We have a little lawn where V&H can play while we hang. And you can fish off the bridge for Blues. Which granted, are no trout, but I'm trying here!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGiac

Happy birthday! I love it when a man does 40 right, and you are. I think a few looks inside and out are appropriate at any age, but there's nothing magical about 40 that means you suddenly have to start being someone different. You'll see that when you get past it. Keep on doing what you do and writing about it - it's beautiful.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth B

Keepin' it real: " I ought to be squirreling away some Benjamins too; for the kids' college. Or their bail." Adore the real you--- all forty years of your stumpy-ass~ ahem.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

A simple man. That's really the best kind of man. Happy Birthday!

And Mad Men is worth it.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

Age is just a number. Living your life to the fullest is what will make you enjoy your short life in earth.

December 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGarage Equipment

what is not wasted time??? that's the million dollar question...
i like your perspective... i like the fact that you can climb that ladder inside and see yourself from the outside, with your own eyes... but i wonder - and this is not a criticism... i simply wonder how you would write this story if you would climb the same ladder but you would look at yourself with violet's eyes... or from your son's perspective...
keep it up... (yes, i guess that's what i said...)...

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertemp

Temp: right on.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterserge

Mad Men is a must if you love that era. I do.
Ever watched Son's of Anarchy? Oh my, it's a wild, gruesome, beautiful ride that is addictive.

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

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