no1 wrote:chuck norris at 70 has 42 years of knowledge and experience on chuck at 28. if chuck at 70 were to fight chuck at 28, who would you pick to win?
I don't know, but I would pay good money to see that throw down.
So since Pember asked for it here is my post from near my birthday. Hmm, now that I look at it there is a good deal of annoyed undercurrent to it. At the time, I had a lot of friends doing the whole "Ha ha, you're old" shtick to the point of no longer being harmless ribbing. That and it was pretranslpant so I was fairly sick and didn't need over-the-hill gags thrown my way when I wasn't even sure whether I was going to make the 31st b-day. Anywho, here goes:
I like birthdays. I guess that I am a bit hobbit-ish in that.
I like both getting and giving gifts when I can, and wishing well to
those who have them. It’s a time to celebrate and to just kick back
and enjoy yourself without worrying about feeling selfish for doing
so. But there is something about this particular birthday that I think
bears mentioning. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now. Not
just a few weeks or months, but years. Pretty sure in my mid-twenties
or even early twenties I started thinking about this and I have a
little mini-story later on to give an idea as to part of the reason why
I am going to say what I am going to say. I came to the conclusion
long ago that I don’t want to see a single black balloon, or similar
themed gift, on my upcoming 30th birthday. No snarky comments
about “old man” or “getting up there” or anything of the like. No
black canes with horns on them and especially no “over the hill”
products would I welcome or find
amusing in the slightest degree. I have found them to be a little
thoughtless in the past when I see them given and bought for others. I
cannot imagine how such a ‘tradition’ of giving such things started and
I don’t want it to have any part in my birthday, nor would I want to
give a gift like that to anyone else. Now please understand where I am
coming from on this. Before any assumptions are made about me
being ‘in denial’ or ‘having to be tough’ or ‘grow up’ about it listen
to what I have to say.
I want to make it plain. I feel that all the rubbish I’ve seen
in greeting cards and so-called “gag gifts” about turning 30 are just
old fashioned meanness repackaged under the banner of “good natured
ribbing.” To me it’s silly to give this thing, this treatment of a
friend or family member, a new name or pretense and think it’s all
okay. It is picking on them, at least that is how I feel. Now, before
you think me unwilling to be a bit self-deprecating or “too proud” let
me say that I am well aware that I do goofball things, dumb things,
silly things, and things that make me laugh at myself. Also, I
generally take it in stride when people check my skin color against
that of a banana to see if the fruit is ripe; and I don’t mind that I
get poked fun at for my deep dislike for hell’s messenger, the pickle.
So why is it that I so vehemently despise the “over-the-hill” gags and
don’t want it to have a part in my birthday?
I guess to me it does not have the same feel to it as good
natured ribbing or practical joke in good spirits. When I think of
some one teasing me good naturedly I think of things like the time that
I lost one of my contacts while working the theater concession stand.
I have crummy depth perception when this happens, and in this instance
I made a pretty poor attempt to fill an Icee cup despite a friend of
mine offering to take over while I grabbed a new contact. I got red
Icee all over the side of the cup and my hand and a bit on the floor as
well. We still laugh about it to this day. Or a practical joke (even
if it’s on me), can be hilarious if it’s done in the right spirit, like
a water balloon attack on a hot summer’s day. However, for me, there
is a big difference here. I guess that I find age jokes to be the
equivalent of a school bully tripping a person with an outstretched leg. Even if that tripped person appears to chuckle along with the bully or seems to take it stride, chances are that their feelings were hurt. I know mine would be, which is why I feel like that about the age jokes. It might seem at first blush that I need to “lighten up” or “take a joke” or “be mature” or “tough it out” about these jokes. Quite frankly though, who in their right mind would want to be treated poorly, laughed at and
joked about in a demeaning way? Especially on their birthday which is supposed to be a celebration?
I guess I feel like if I were to hand a person what I call
a “black balloon” gift it would be a slap in the face. I’ve felt that
way for a while, maybe since a certain incident that I’ll relate to you
all now. Several years ago a friend of mine turned 40. A group of us celebrated with some cake, dinner out, and general goofing around. But the evening was peppered with others in the group joking about him
being “an old man now” and “needing dentures to chew his food” and
other stuff of that ilk. It seemed just wrong to me. He half-smiled
at the ribbing, even when he got one of those black canes with turn
signals and a horn. It might have just been me, but it seemed like he
wasn’t enjoying the ‘good natured ribbing’ as much as those who were
doing it, and he also seemed a little sad and annoyed.
I felt bad for him and knew then that the “you’re old” gags and
jokes were not something that I’d never be okay with on any birthday.
Certainly not my own birthdays, and I really wouldn’t want to
participate in that kind of stuff in other people’s birthdays. Why
would I want anything that seems to me like a person saying in a
mocking, snide tone, “You’re old and going to die! Ha ha, and as an
added bonus I want to mention that you’re best years are behind you,
and death is closer than life. Isn’t that funny? Now laugh with me, because if you don’t that means you can’t take a joke and need to lighten up.” Now please bear with me for a second here while I give the equivalent of a “What Would Jesus Do” moment. Imagine if Jesus were to show up on your doorstep on your birthday. Do you think He’d hand you one of those aforementioned canes and laugh at you? Or more likely would He slap you on the back and say something like, “Happy
Birthday! It’s great having you around. Where’s the cake—just kidding, I know it’s in the dining room--though I wish you wouldn't have picked the lemon cake, it gives me gas.”
(Ladies my apologies, I don’t know what the female equivalent of a
hearty back slap is, but I’m sure that Jesus could make the switch pretty easily.)
Now don’t take this to mean that I’ll never accept the “old man”
moniker. When I’m in my late 70’s early 80’s (Lord willing) and have
an awesomely long Gandalf beard that I can tuck into my belt—then I’ll probably be okay with it and smile along with you if you make an age joke. (Even though we both will know deep down you are a little jealous of my magnificent Gandalf beard.) However, until my glorious forth-coming facial fuzz appears, I won’t really appreciate any age jokes.
So please, no gifts or comments or posts that have that bent to them.
Please don’t give me anything black colored as an age joke, no copies of Logan’s Run, or “over-hill” cards. Birthdays should be a celebration of life and all that can be done with one’s life. I think of birthdays as an opportunity to think on the memories of the past and
look forward to the adventures of the future no matter how old you
are. Oh yeah, and the family, friends, cake and presents are pretty cool too. I wish I could put it better about how I feel. I guess the best way to sum it up is to direct you the Randy Stonehill video/song on youtube called Turning Thirty. I’ve always liked it, even before reaching this age and (minus the joke about writing the song 8 years
ago and daughter bit) I feel like it sums up a lot of how I feel.
(Sorry that the formatting is wonky. FB to here is a bit off.)