Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
I turned 28 in early May. That’s quite a milestone for someone whose doctors predicted he would die of alcohol poisoning by the age of 15, then 19, then 21, and recently, age 27. Take that, skilled medical professionals who pumped my stomach!
Also, a big thank you to the brewers of Pabst for all your letters of concern. My premature death hasn’t ruined the reputation of your company yet, though I hold no promises for the future.
In honor of my birthday last month, a “friend” who I’m court-ordered to visit every week recommended that I spend a day noting my accomplishments in life. Where am I, how far have I come, and how has my life changed? It was just ten years ago that I was 18, living in a cramped dorm room and eating chicken nugget TV dinners. Now I’m 28, living in a cramped studio apartment, and . . . eating a chicken nugget TV dinner. But now the nuggets dinner has mac & cheese instead of peas, which is an improvement. I didn’t . . . um . . . I didn’t find the peas . . . appealing.
That’s a bad example. Let’s try another one. When I was 18, I drove a $4,000 Dodge Daytona. Now that I’m 28, I’m driving a $3,000 Ford Escort. Damn it! There has to be something I can compare that isn’t horribly depressing. When I was 18, my parents paid for my health insurance. Now that I’m 28, I shell out hundreds of dollars each month for my own insurance, not including the annual $500 deductible. Son of a bitch!
When I was 18, I had zits. Now that I’m 28, I have somewhat fewer zits. That’s a victory, isn’t it? I owned a 15″ TV when I was 18, and now I own a 17″ one. Put another notch in my win column. When I was 18, I worked part-time at the front desk of my dorm hall. Now I work as a temp. Adjusting for inflation, I’m pretty sure I make the same wage. I’m going to count that as a win because it’s probably the only reason I haven’t died of alcohol poisoning. Those skilled medical professionals didn’t foresee me being poor!
I used to drink Coca-Cola, now I drink RC Cola. I used to drink MGD, now I drink Pabst because $14 is too expensive for a 30-pack. Can someone please run me over with their car so I can stop doing these comparisons? I used to spend weeknights going to raves, now I spend weeknights watching reruns of Malcolm in the Middle, a show I don’t particularly care for.
Do kids even know what raves are anymore? You see, people in generation . . . whatever the hell generation people my age are in, we used to get together in old warehouses and other odd places and listen to music with lots of bass. There was this “musician” named Fatboy Slim who was pretty cool for about three-fourths of a year and he . . . y’know what? Never mind. It’s not important. Let’s just continue with the comparisons. I’ll get less depressed doing those than I will trying to come up with an excuse for liking techno.
At age 18, I didn’t have a wife or kids. At age 28, I still don’t have a wife and I’m vaguely sure I don’t have any kids. At age 18, I did not own “Mr. Bean – The Whole Bean” on DVD. Now I do, so that problem has been corrected. At age 18, I didn’t know what “Dermalogica Active Moist” was. I still don’t, but now I own two bottles of it. I got it for free at some thing I went to. I’m pretty sure it’s giving me Grover’s disease.
When I was 18, I did not make jokes about Grover’s disease.
I guess I haven’t changed much in the past decade. I still wrap hot dogs in slices of bread because I’m too lazy to buy buns. I still purposely knock DVD cases on the floor at Blockbuster because I hate their employees. I still consider salsa a vegetable. But even with all my failures and shortcomings, I still have one small point of pride: At least I don’t still write humor columns for the Reader Weekly.