Saturday, February 07, 2004

The age of Aquarius

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It’s my birthday. I’ll probably celebrate it the way I do every year: fire my AK-47 into the air at the precise time of my birth — just after midnight. Then, after consuming what would be, to lesser men, deadly amounts of Wild Turkey and Carvel ice cream cake, my wife and I will drive around mooning the square people and tipping over mailboxes.

I’m turning 27 this year, which means that I’m practically a 30-year-old. That doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t mind aging.

Every so often, if I happen to be driving by the schools in the early afternoon, I’ll see kids leaving class. Kids have become more awkward-looking since I was that young, frankly. Perhaps it’s through the prism of age that they seem removed from my experience — or I’m removed from theirs.

Whatever it is, kids are goofy. I don’t know if there are more chemicals in the water, or if the field of orthodontics has taken such a step backward that braces have gotten larger.

Also, have you heard the average kid speak lately? Their voices are so squeaky, and they always seem to be talking. And the things they don’t know! There are kids who can’t locate Massachusetts on a labeled map of only Massachusetts. They think World War II was a country. And they‘ve never seen a single, solitary episode of “Three’s Company.”

I cringe. Mostly, I cringe because I used to be that young and green. I’ve never admitted this to anybody before, but when I was a kid, I said “brang” instead of “brought.”

So the more age I put between myself and those years, the happier I am.

By the way, I feel a special kinship with “Three’s Company” because that delightful masterpiece of a television show premiered in 1977, the year I was born. It’s like they knew.

It’s coincidences like my birth and the “Three’s Company” debut that make me wonder if there’s anything to this astrology business. According to the Zodiac, I’m an Aquarius, which is the water-carrier. I’m nothing so noble as an archer or a lion. I’m the waterboy.

However, this is from my World Book Encyclopedia: “Aquarians have powerful, logical and scientific minds.” Yes, indeed, there certainly must be something to this astrology business.

There are quite a few of us powerfully minded writers born on Feb. 7 throughout history. In 1812, Charles Dickens was born, author of “David Copperfield,” “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Christmas Carol.” I don’t really write anything like Dickens.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born Feb. 7, 1867. She wrote “Little House on the Prairie.” Decades later, it was turned into a TV show that I hate. Every time I saw the show, somebody was standing around in what seemed to be a prairie, near a little house — just standing there and being rustic. Fuck you.

I know it’s a bit late, but perhaps they could have spiced up the show by keeping the little house and the prairie — but filling it with two single girls instead of a boring family. And John Boy could have been their wacky roommate, pretending to be homosexual to fool the landlord, who lives in another little house on the same prairie.

Sinclair Lewis, author of “Main Street” and “Arrowsmith,” is another writer who shares my birthday. He was born in 1885, was the first American author to win the Nobel prize, and I don’t write like him, either.

This is from Wikipedia.com, an online encyclopedia: “At first, [Lewis] produced romantic poetry, then romantic stories about knights and fair ladies.” Let the record show that at no time have I ever written a romantic poem or story about knights and ladies.

Here, then, is my debut! My present to you is a romantic poem about knights and fair ladies. I apologize in advance.

There once was a knight and a lady,
Who met in the tenth gradey;
He asked her to dance,
But tripped over his lance,
So she said, “Let’s go where it’s shady.”


Also born on my birthday is model turned actor Ashton Kutcher. The star of such watershed moments in film history as “Dude, Where’s My Car?” is only a year younger than I am. I have not ever misplaced my car, and if I ever do, it will not make good cinema.

Kutcher was able to earn that movie role as a dumb stoner through his success playing a dumb stoner on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show.” I refer you once again to the World Book Encyclopedia: “Aquarians have powerful, logical and scientific minds.”

He’s dating Demi Moore, who’s so old she could have given birth to him if she’d played her cards right. My wife is about nine months my senior. So the one thing old Kutch and I have in common is that we dig the older ladies.

Perhaps the nail in astrology’s coffin is this: on the exact day I was born, halfway across the country, in Chicago, an infant girl named Hillary Wolf was born. Wolf would later grow up to be on the 2000 U.S. Olympic judo team — extra-lightweight division.

If everyone has a twin out there, everyone must have an anti-self, someone who’s the complete opposite. I know nothing about judo and even less about being extra-lightweight.

Hillary Wolf, if you’re reading this, happy birthday. And eat some cake — with the 2004 Olympics coming up, you should bulk up. You’ll be harder to flip that way.

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