by Mike Todd
“We’re so old!” my soon-to-be-wife Kara and I started saying after college, when we’d do things like get out of bed before noon or pay our rent on time.
We’d been saying it as a joke, since we were obviously not old, but it still felt somewhat true, seeing as how, at the time, we were the oldest we’d ever been. Sure, we could still split a large pizza without gaining weight, but we’d also obtained firsthand experience with actual adulthood that, we were disappointed to discover, was mostly achieved through the purchasing of insurance.
“Man, I’m so old,” I said last weekend, looking in the mirror for the first time as a grizzled 36-year-old. Thirty-six! That’s actually starting to sound little bit old. Nobody gives a 36-year-old a lollipop after a flu shot.
The tradeoff for giving up your youth is that you’re supposed to gain wisdom. This is why the term “middle aged” was invented, so that we’d have something to call people who were in-between, who had neither youth nor wisdom.
“How are you feeling about your 36th birthday?” my old college roommate Derek asked during a recent phone call.
“At least I can run for president now,” I said.
“Dude, you can be president when you’re 35,” he replied.
“I thought it was 36! My campaign is already behind!” I said.
So we, as a country, have determined that by the time someone is a little bit younger than I am, he/she has the requisite life experience and judgment to be trusted with the nuclear launch codes. Taking a quick look at my peers, many of whom still play beer pong, steal movies off the Internet and consider bodily functions to be high comedy, I’m not so sure this is the best policy. Perhaps we should consider bumping the age up to 45 or so, when we’ll all start wearing pants with elastic waistbands and casting disapproving looks at people who are doing things we used to find lots of fun.
Now that I’ve gained some age and perspective, I feel like I should have some wisdom to dispense. I’ve been writing this column for almost nine years, so I went through the archives to see what nuggets I might be able to pull out to prove that someone should give me some nuclear launch codes.
Turns out, in roughly 400 columns, the only nugget of useful information I’ve dispensed was about actual nuggets. Chicken McNuggets, to be precise. In 2008, in what passes for hard-hitting investigative journalism in my house, I reported that it’s cheaper to buy two four-packs of McNuggets than one six-pack. Since then, there has not been a single fact dispensed in this space, with most of the remaining subject matter treating bodily functions as high comedy.
I did just learn a new trick, though, that might just be valuable enough to pass as wisdom. You know how the first step to opening a bottle of wine is to take a little knife and cut the foil off the top? I recently watched in amazement as my brother-in-law Kris took a fresh bottle of wine and twisted the entire foil top right off. He just pulled it off, like magic.
“Dude! How did you do that?” I asked.
“You can pull the foil right off. It works on every bottle I’ve ever tried,” he said.
I always thought that foil was glued on there, but subsequent experimentation has revealed that Kris was right. You can just twist and pull that foil right off.
So now I’ve passed along my 36 years’ worth of knowledge to you. This insight may or may not be useful for you, but it helps me to get to the wine quicker, which in turn helps me to forget about my new bald spot.