It hasn’t escaped my notice that this year, I will be turning the same age as both Elvis Presley and Bobby Kennedy—when they died. So by the time Elvis was my age, he’d had 18 number-one singles, starred in 33 movies, and was rich enough to afford a pretty substantial drug habit. I myself have starred in no movies, buy generic ibuprofen because the brand-name stuff is too pricy, and have no hit singles. I did make the cat spontaneously pee on the bathmat when I was singing in the shower once, so I guess that’s something.
And Bobby? What did he do, really? By the time he was my age, he’d been Attorney General of the United States, served as senator of New York, and was running for president when he was shot. I haven’t even been able to muster up the energy to vote in my local school board elections, much less run for office. (I have, however, used my years to become a hardcore Kennedy buff. So again, that’s something.)
I’m starting to feel like a bit of a slouch.
This past year has seen some important changes in my life. Sure, I sold two novels, both of which should be coming out this year, but I’m not talking about the writing career stuff. I’m talking old age stuff. I got my first pair of bifocals. They didn’t work so well at first, mostly because I couldn’t see through my “God, I’m old!” tears, but now I’m used to them. Sure, I look like my father when I wear them, but at least I can now see the TV and my phone at the same time.
Another milestone that I hit this year was noticeable hearing loss. I’ve had tinnitus in my right ear ever since a particularly rowdy Paul Young concert back in 1986, but that’s not even what I’m talking about. It’s the soft clicks and vibrations I can’t hear anymore. I keep my phone on vibrate at all times, for instance. And at least three times a week, I’ll miss a phone call because I never heard the darn thing buzz. (Not that I’m complaining about this—I despise talking on the phone, and not being able to hear is a fabulous excuse.) I also can’t hear the blinker in my car anymore. How many times over the years had I been in the passenger seat of my father’s truck, and snarkily said “You do know your blinker’s on, right, Dad?” Remember how I said I look like my father in bifocals? Scratch that. Karma has decided to turn me into my father. That's what I get for being a wise ass.
Finally, I’ve realized this year that I’ve been living in a state of utter denial. I’d decided some time ago to stop dyeing my hair until the grey demanded that I do so. I was able to get away with this only because the lighting in my bathroom is terrible and I couldn't see the grey (also, I needed bifocals). I had the opportunity to look in a mirror with overhead fluorescent lighting the other day, and guess what? The grey is getting pretty demanding. It’s a bit depressing. I’ve seen a million pictures of Bobby Kennedy, and I don’t ever remember him being this grey.
I’d let all this get me down, but I’ve been trying to remember this: I have two books coming out this year. Elvis wrote no books. Bobby wrote a bunch of books, but never had two come out in the same year. So they can keep their fancy gold records and presidential elections. Because I'm going to spend this year basking in my glory and eating frosting straight out of the can.