This is the beginning of the end, my friends.
Yea, gather ‘round and hear my tale of woe. For today is the final day of my robust 30’s. Tomorrow I turn 40.
I know. The switching to a new decade of age is hardly a plot for a Greek tragedy. What can I say; the thought of officially being middle-aged does not excite and delight me. I am the youngest of three. How can I be the youngest if I am older?
Yet I have no plans to fully embrace the midlife crisis. Sports cars and motorcycles hold no appeal. Dating a twenty-something would be creepy. I intend to keep doing what I have been doing.
The concern I harbor is losing or the waning of skills I currently have. What if I cannot do what I have always been able to do?
Some folks can solve The New York Times crossword puzzle in less than three minutes. Many folks are expert cooks, run marathons, or bench press impressive amounts. Much like Liam Neeson, I have my own unique set of skills.
My Unique Skills that Might Decline
- Many of my skills revolve around my hands. I have massage capabilities. More importantly though, I can reach an octave and a half on a piano. That is from “alt” key to “alt” key on a desktop computer’s keyboard. Admittedly, I have only taken nine months of piano in my life. But the hands! Marvel at the hands!
- I can contort my thumb to tuck underneath my pointer finger’s knuckle. This is, as far as I have found, the single least useful talent on the face of the earth. Yet it is mine. (If you feel any resistance at all in your attempt, STOP. It is a pointless trick. It is not worth dislocating digits over.)
- I flip a coin with expertise. I spent many long hours working nights at a movie theater. We were not allowed to read (for reasons I still do not comprehend). Thus I expended hundreds of hours flipping a coin. Behind the back, around a leg, left-handed, high up; you want a game refereed, I have this one aspect of that mastered.
- I use the webbing of my fingers to open doors and grasp things. I find it entertaining to leave as few fingerprints as possible. It would come in handy if I planned to become a thief, but my fingerprints are already in the federal system thanks to my tenure at the United States Postal Service. (That is a story for another time.)
- I can reach any spot on my back. All itches get scratched, all sticker-pranks thwarted.
- Currently I am capable of wrestling three nieces at once. They are getting older and stronger. At the moment, I still have the upper hand.
- I am adept at playing two kazoos at once. One on each nostril. Sounds gross, looks silly; suitable only for family talent shows.
- Nine times out of ten, I can put a newborn child to sleep. Terribly useful. As my best friend said after I had held her first kid for ten minutes, “How did I not know about this?!?”
- I can recite the first five minutes from The cartoon one, please. I can recite the Arabian Nights song that was released in theaters and on the soundtrack, or the changed, less racist version that made it to VHS and re-releases.
- Also, the sheep oath from, Babe.
- I can name all seven dwarfs from Snow White. In alphabetical order! Oddly enough, this may be the most useful of my skills. It comes up quite often.
- While we are on a memory kick, I also know Clark Kent’s Social Security Number.
- For two decades I have been able to work three jobs at three different places, six days a week. Yay?
- I wear the same size clothing that I did in high school. My waist size has gone up by one. However my shirts are the same size. The dress shoes in my closet have been with me since the 90’s.
- The bridge of my nose protrudes to a lesser degree than average. I have increased peripheral vision. When I look at a person in an askance manner, I can express an infinitesimally greater degree of irritation. If I roll my eyes, I take in a teensy-weensy bit more visual information as they travel from nose to brow.
I can feel your jealousy from here. It is washing over me in waves. Calm yourself, I am sure you have your own set of skills. Granted, they are nowhere near as jaw-dropping as mine. I would charge admission, but how does one set a price for the eye-opening experience of… coin flipping.
I would like to accept as true that whatever skills I lose with age will be replaced by better ones. (I assure you that the thumb gimmick is on the way out. Ow.)
Will I be able to naturally see in ultraviolet? Shall I develop an olfactory knowledge that rivals that of Sherlock Holmes? Maybe I have the latent ability to be a deer whisperer? (Honestly, I suspect I am more likely to become a slug whisperer.)
It is possible my 40’s will astound and amaze me. It is also possible things will go horribly awry. The future is like this photo: Is it thumbs up or thumbs down? I reckon we will have to buckle up, hold on, and find out.