A Writer Looks at 40 by Noah Baird

I’m in a little bit of a holiday savings time warp. I’m beginning to think Thanksgiving is only a grocery store holiday. Every other store goes from Halloween to Christmas.

Here’s something you don’t know. I will be turning 40 this month. There’s no punchline. 40. That’s it.

I remember my older brother, a heavy metal fan, confiding to me that he was listening to mellower music. At the time, I was shocked. I was a rock ‘n roller. Always was. Always will be. Getting older was not going to change that. Now I’m noticing there’s more country than Motorhead on my mp3 player. The rest of the bands on my mp3 are so mellow, Saturday Night Live did a skit on them.

I was thinking back to my tastes in music over my life time. Here’s a brief history:

  • 1984: Ratt- Out of the Cellar. In hindsight, I probably looked pretty silly singing “I’m a wanted man” at 13. I was a killer with an air guitar. Little known fact: air guitars never need tuning.

  • 1988: The Pursuit of Happiness- I’m an Adult Now. I really wanted this song to be my high school graduation song.

  • 1988: The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death. 1988 wasn’t painting a pretty picture of adulthood.

  • 1991; Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit. So, as a teenager, I was listening songs about how it sucked to be an adult. As an adult, I was listening to music about deodorant.

  • 1992: The Black Crows Sting Me. One great line: “Yes I’m young and don’t like getting older”.

  • 1995: Ramones – I Don’t Want to Grow Up. This was originally a Tom Waits song. I didn’t get turned onto Tom until later.

  • 2008: Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers – Captain Suburbia. “I’m not too young for anything, anymore.”

  • 2008: Jack Johnson and Dave Mathews – A Pirate Looks at 40. I’ve come full circle. The artists I listen to are playing the music my parents listen to.

I figured out it’s not the number that bothers me; it’s the body. I used to only have two gray hairs – I named them after my children. Now the gray hairs outnumber the kids. I thought I had a zit on my chin the other day, but it turned out to be a gray hair. You may be relieved to know I’m not losing my hair. It’s just not growing out of the top of my head. They decided to start growing out of my ears, my nose, and my back. It’s like they’re just too lazy  to go all of the way to the top of the head.

Maybe I mellowed out too. In nearly 40 years, I’ve learned to have better control over my proclivity for self-destruction. I think the kids have something to do with that. I don’t mind shooting myself in the foot, but you can’t do that with mini-werewolves around. I used to end up in the emergency room at least once a year. Now I worry that they’ll end up there.  I think that’s where the gray hairs come in. That’s okay. It’s a small price to pay. I saw an interview of John Cougar Mellencamp. In the interview, he said men weren’t good fathers until they were 40. I hope that’s true.

The goods news is, I’m already planning my midlife crisis. It’s going to be epic: Monkeys jousting on the backs of golden retrievers. I can’t wait.

Author’s note: I would like to point out I did not curse or make a crude comment once during this entire blog. Don’t think I’m growing up. I’m very immature for my age. I don’t plan on that changing. My teeth may yellow and the scars on my face now hide inside wrinkles, but I won’t grow up.

“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage” – Indiana Jones.

Noah Baird is the author of Donations to Clarity.



Filed under writing

6 responses to “A Writer Looks at 40 by Noah Baird

  1. Forty ain’t so old, Noah, although it is, by popular opinion, one of those Dark Mmilestones along the way to Dusty Death. Your generation did have a few good bands, 😉 but mine had Stones/Beatles/Hendrix Experience/Eric Clapton in various manifestations/Pink Floyd/Dylan etc., etc.

    Still, go for the midlife crisis. I can’t wait for the jousting part!

  2. oooops must be getting really old–didn’t mention The Velvet Underground, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Country Joe (awful but apt), Janis & Big Brother, The Doors–evenThe Fugs’ and their gross-out basement satire…

    • Speaking of Velvet Underground, Lou Reed just made an album with Metallica based on the German expressionist writer Frank Wedekind writing. It’s not rated high, but I’m going to check it out. I like Lou Reed.

  3. Man, you have an impressive collection of songs for the chapters of your life! Although my favorite age for a lot of reasons–not all of which I really remember–was 37, I loved being in my forties. I think you’ll like it, too!

    Since I’m getting dangerously closer to 60 each day, I’m beginning to think I should start paying attention. On the other hand, why? I hold onto the words of the old adage, “Age is just a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

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