As I’m sure all of you know, I had a birthday recently. It was one of those major birthdays. One of the ones that makes you want to get all of your affairs in order, like wills and powers of attorney. No lie, I had to make at least eighteen calls to ensure that someone would be willing to take over the ownership and feeding of my fish. Shout out to Reverend Jenkins for taking on the task. I know that I don’t go to your church or live in your state, but I appreciate you offering to study the flow charts and spreadsheets I created so that you’d know each of my fish by name and be familiar with their histories and all their hopes and dreams.
For me, the worst part about my birthday was having to figure out which headgear to wear to celebrate. Would I wear a crown to symbolize victory and honor? Would I wear a tiara in support of women’s equality and strength? Would I wear both? I consulted with Duchess Kate Middleton regarding this conundrum, but she said she’d never heard of a Michael Rochelle, Duke of Maryland, so she couldn’t say one way or the other. I swear, The Royals can be so self-centered.
Well, as you can see, I opted to wear both as a sign of humility, but I alternated throughout the day. You should have seen some of the looks I got from other passengers while riding the DC Metro. Instead of letting their stares get to me, I simply waived to all my subjects, remembering that it was elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist and not wrist, wrist, elbow, groin as I once believed. The day went well until I later had to refuse to enter a Target until someone rolled out the red carpet for me. As it turns out, they’d recently used the carpet for Beyoncé, and she decided to take it with her when she left. It turned out to be ok, though. I simply had the manager carry me around the store instead. How dare they think that I would walk on a bare floor on my birthday! Hmph!!!
So, before you find out my age from the tabloids, I’ll go ahead and admit that I turned 35 on October 23rd. Most people seem to think that 35 isn’t that old—unless they’re younger, of course. Eighteen year olds get this look on their face like they’re surprised I’m still alive or like I should be taken out back and put out of my misery. For that exact reason, I stopped by a senior citizen home and went from room to room sharing my age. To them, I’m still a baby, which is exactly why I immediately put on a diaper and stated slinging peas around the room.On the surface, 35 may not seem so bad, but when you put it in perspective, it gets a little sketchy. If I said, “I’ve been to jail 35 times,” or “I’ve gained 35 pounds in my neck,” or “Hey, Mom, I just stole 35 hams,” people wouldn’t dismiss that number so easily. However, I have to admit that turning 35 has its perks. The walking cane that some say I’ll need soon will really come in handy to hit people with whenever they say that I’ll need a cane soon. More importantly, being 35 puts me that much closer to getting that modeling contract for Geritol.
After I finished up at Target, I headed over to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. Of course, I did all I could to make sure my picture was something that models would look at in awe. First I wore my best shirt and my lucky boxers. Then, I took a portable wind machine out of my book bag and asked the lady who would be taking my picture to adjust the lighting in the office. I need to be photographed in natural light and from my good side. All reasonable requests, I thought.
The first picture was horrid.
When I use the term “horrid,” I mean that both the photographer and I threw up in our mouths a little bit after seeing it. I begged to take a second picture. The clerk refused. However, when I pulled out three crisp one-dollar bills from my wallet, her tone changed quicker than a stop light. The second picture was just as terrible. It looked as if I had four chins. The third photo . . . well, let’s not even talk about that one. It was just inhumane. Like I’d been discovered during the last moon landing.Fortunately, I was allowed to take a fourth one, which ended up looking exactly like the first one. I asked for another camera, another lens, and another photographer, but the lady informed me that there was nothing wrong with the equipment. “It’s your face,” she said. “Not much I can do. It can’t be helped.” Because she was the barrier between me and my ability to drive, I opted not to throw my crown at her and sentence her to the dungeon for all eternity. But, if we ever cross paths again, she may not be so lucky.
Well, now that I’m so advanced in years, I’d be remiss to not share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. So, here we go:
- No matter how cool you think you are or how flexible you were back in the 90s, don’t challenge a twenty year old to a rap battle or a dance-off in the middle of the break room at your place of employment. It’s just not worth explaining to a team of doctors and nurses that you threw your back out trying to twerk across the counter. And, by all means, don’t even think about filing an insurance claim if you do decide to drop it like it’s hot on the copier machine. I’m not speaking from personal experience, but the last time I did that, Cigna responded with a simple, “Denied because you’re dumb.”
- Whether you’re a man or a woman, Spanx are your friend. I’d advise you invest in some Spanx for your chin ASAP.
- Regardless of how nicely they jazz up the packaging, fat free and sugar free items taste like death. Save yourself the heartache and the hassle and make sure that everything you buy reads “twice the fat.” If that’s not possible, feel free to add your own Lard or Crisco.
- There is no shame in having your shrink on speed dial and listing him or her as your emergency contact on official forms.
- Avoid scales at all cost. Nothing good can come from knowing your weight. The last time I got on a scale, there were so many digits on the display that I thought it was my social security number.
- Ending a conversation with a simple “shut it down,” is incredibly empowering and worked wonders when I disagreed with my manager during my last performance evaluation. Extra points if you throw in some hand gestures and bang your fist on their desk when you deliver the message. Which reminds me, I’m newly on the job market and may need a few of you to serve as references for my future endeavors. Thanks in advance.
- Being middle-aged gives you the right to stand true to your convictions, no matter how wrong they are—even if there is scientific evidence to prove otherwise. So, yes, my middle-aged friends, this gives you the right to walk into a McDonald’s and demand a crab cake with a side of lobster tails. If it makes you happy, go for it.
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