Happy Birthday to me…Dying has got to be easier than aging. The mind is the second thing to go. And the first leaves me shooting pool with a rope. I always wanted to be 12 years old forever…

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I have no bloody idea. In my bedroom the sheep are always running too scared for me to count them. Besides, age is the last thing I’m trying to round up.

Then again, it’s a question worth considering – especially with this being my birthday.

And no matter how much I may kvetch, it isn’t that I detest aging. It’s nothing more or less than another disease that makes us uglier than all three witches of Macbeth.

We accumulate new bumps and old bruises, extended foreheads and shortened legs and memories that don’t need glasses — just like my 91 year old mother…because she drinks right out of the bottle.

Aging is much like the rest of life — a real fatal disease waiting for the expiration date. Which in my refrigerator is most everything. I don’t know about the beets. Never touch the crimson creeps. And after 6 years I ain’t about to give them the finger lickin’ test. Give them another 6 years and maybe “Mikey” will eat ‘em. Kid’s gotta be collecting social security by now.

If I knew I was going to live this long, I probably would have taken better care of myself. Then again, that would kill my mother’s delicious pleasure of endlessly pointing out all my unhealthy pursuits.

And what man wants to deny his mother anything. Although now I better understand why my Jewish father died long before my mother — because he wanted to. He should have never stopped drinking.

Which reminds me, oh lord, however I got to this age, please never let me stop drinking…again.

I tried.

Many times.

During my married periods.

All of them.

I don’t know which was worse: Being sober before noon, or the cruel and unusual punishment of waking up dreary with a woman whose name you couldn’t grunt, groan or squeeze into memory.

Actually, I can’t even remember any of my exes’ appellations. Except that I recollect referring to them all by the same name – plaintiff.

Thank G-d for bourbon.

So how old would I be if I didn’t know how old I am?

Well, I thought it would be wonderful to be 25 again. But the authorities and bureaucrats wouldn’t let me. It had something to do with Homeland Security.

Go figure. Now they not only police our dreams, but they give me nightmares. Maybe I could skip over my years when the genitalia duo of Bush and his Dick were in office. Now that would be a wonderful birthday present.

Unlike the offering my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy gave me on my 18th birthday. He patted me on the shoulder and told me if I ever needed a helping hand that I’d find one at the end of my arm.

Hmm….

It’s no fun becoming a man. I mean, it’s not just no more beer for breakfast anymore. It’s having to make decisions and having only yourself to blame.

I only made my first decision just about 18 years ago. Until then my choices were merely made with a shrug of the shoulders and a “why not.” No doubt why I had so many future ex-wives.

But then when my younger son was born with life and death complications, I suddenly had to man up.

In other words: Grow up. That is something we journalists vow never to do. We have no choice but to grow older, but never grow up.

Unfortunately, life intervenes.

As it is doing today. I am older, even though I always thought I was too busy to grow old. The face in the bathroom mirror is more of a road map. The enthusiastic eyes have hardened. My family’s gobble skin walks and talks beneath my chin.

Let me tell you, with the way I look, a paternity suit wouldn’t look so bad right now. But the one thing I don’t want to look like is respectable. Yet that’s what  happens when you get old. Like they said in that movie: Even politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last into old age.

Well, we were all taught to respect our elders. And the good news, for me, anyway, is that in 30 years I won’t have to respect absolutely nobody.

Isn’t that a stretch of good news?

But meanwhile, today in my birthday. And I stocked up on my Cialis. I am hoping to get a surprise – at least one that doesn’t kill my repaired heart. You see the last woman I can remember being in…was the Statue of Liberty.

I think.

Then again, as we know, the memory is the second thing to go.

The first?

That’s why I need the Cialis. Otherwise, my sex is like shooting pool with a rope.

You know, I dread the day on a pending distant birthday, when I get even older and bring home another future-ex-wife. And the bride goes upstairs to the bedroom. Eventually she yells down: “Well, aren’t you going to come up and make love?”

And all I can reply is: “I can’t do both, darling.”

So it’s happy birthday to me. It’s not that I hate birthdays, it’s that I hate what future birthdays harbinger. Dying has got to be easier. It’s the living – the aging – that scares me flaccid.

And in case you are wondering, I am the same age as other men my age: 12, when we are all boys and think everything is still possible.

And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.

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