26.04.2006 20:37 - An Anniversary
On Sunday, I will turn 40.
This is not something I've been looking foward to. My father had a terrible fear of turning fifty, because his father died at 50. I'm not exactly safe, being in a high-stress job and not doing a lot of exercise, although one of the biggest killers of fat 40-year olds is doing too much exercise all of a sudden. On the other hand, I hardly drink and I don't smoke.
As a student, which seems only yesterday (but is now, amazingly, twenty years ago) I used to enjoy a couple of glasses of cider. Foolishly, perhaps seeking notoriety amongst my peers, (let's face it, we were as naiive and stupid a bunch as any students) I used to neck whole pints of the stuff. Fortunately I wasn't rich enough, or daft enough, to continue such behavior until I awoke the next morning in a puddle of my own stomach-contents. Such behavior did, however, lead to sudden and undeniable calls of nature when it was least convenient. It also meant that, on the whole, I did't wake up wondering why I was looking at the wrong wallpaper. Many of you may consider this a large gap in my education. I don't. There's many a man who has ruined a life of promise due to accidents whilst wearing beer goggles, and I'm glad I'm not one of them. As for smoking, I never even bothered. The smell of cigarettes used to give me such a headache I've never dared to try them. My Nan was such a chain-smoker I couldn't bear to stay too long at her house. Due to lack of smoking, I've never been drawn into experimenting with drugs. My sole indiscretion in that case was a slice of hash cake, which caused a friend and I to sit each side of a kitchen table all night and laugh at each other as we kept forgetting what we were about to say. The subsequent comedown (not assisted by the allied cider hangover) was enough to put me off the stuff for life.
It's said that Vivian Stanshall spent the night of his 39th birthday wondering why he hadn't dropped dead, like his heroes. Personally, I'm rather glad I've gotten this far, and have achieved something that Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin didn't. I can certainly swim better than Brian, at any rate. Of course, that leaves Lennon, who got to forty, but didn't have the chance to enjoy it due to a severe case of high-velocity lead poisoning, and Harrison, who got past that landmark, but never made it to 64 (Yes, I know McCartney wrote that). I doubt, however, that the slim sales of my CD are enough for me to attract a stalker.
So, there we are, then. Forty. I've probably got about thirty years left, as things go, but, knowing how things seem to speed up (1996 - 2006 has gone terribly fast. It's hard to believe that 1996 was ten years ago. It's unbelievable that I've been in Germany for the large part of a decade) it'll probably seem like ten. All downhill from here. See you at the incontinence clinic.