Ramblin’ Man

I walked inside my daughter’s house last week and her oldest son announced, “I’m a birthday boy.” He turned 3, so I asked him how old he was and, without hesitation, he said, “I’m 6.”

He was pretty happy to be having a birthday although his party would not be for several more days. I can remember when I used to get excited about birthdays, but it hasn’t been in the last 15 years.

When you’re young, there are milestones to look forward to. You get to go to school for the first time. Then you move up to junior high and double digits. The next big one is turning 13, becoming a teenager. Then there’s high school, driving, graduation, college. These are all big events in a young person’s life.

At my age, the next big achievement is qualifying for the senior discount at Denny’s. I already passed the first colonoscopy birthday. It’s been a long time since my birthday cake would hold the number of candles to correspond to my age. By the time you could get them all lit, the cake would be iced with wax.

I still have a few big birthdays ahead of me, like retirement age and Social Security if it’s still around. Yippee.

I think I might like turning a century old if I last that long. Even if my body makes it, I doubt my mind will. It’s been going out for a while now.

I read in the news this week about a 106-year-old lady who was seeking asylum in Sweden and was going to be deported. I’m not sure what Sweden is afraid of, but I guess rules are rules.

I think that if you make it to 100, you ought to be able to go wherever you want to in the world. If you have the means and the cognition, why not? What’s the worse thing that could happen? It’s not like you’re going to lead a revolution with your walker and your colostomy bag.

My family never celebrated birthdays much. There were too many of us to be buying presents every other month. Plus, my birthday is close to Christmas, so I could have one or the other.

I wanted to have a big party for my 50th birthday, but it turns out you need friends for that. Who needs a party, anyway? As my wife points out, everyday with me is a holiday.

She doesn’t really say that. I tell her to say that. I’m trying to get her to say it without the eye roll.

But Benjamin, the 3-year-old or the 6-year-old, depending on who you ask, had a Ghostbusters-themed party, and it was a big hit. We had green slime punch, and he wore his Ghostbusters shirt. His parents bought him a toy “proton pack” so he could shoot ghosts like they do in the movie. He’s imaginative enough that he can make a proton pack out of anything, but with the real deal, he was busy all afternoon trying to dispel ghosts; he shot me at least a dozen times.

Later that night, we got a picture of him sound asleep in his bed still clutching his proton pack. No ghosts were going to get past him that night.

The next day, he started preschool. Before you know it, he’ll be in double digits, then the teen years, high school and driving — and his younger brother not far behind him. I’m not eager for them to grow up, but celebrating their birthdays is a whole lot more fun than celebrating mine.

So, the next big date is this October when Ben’s brother Adam turns 1. The first of the big birthdays. And so it begins.

© Copyright 2017 by David Porter who can be reached at porter@ramblinman.us. I can’t even model my birthday suit, anymore; it needs ironed.