Forty years ago, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was at the top of the charts, Archie Bunker curmudgeoned his way into our living rooms on All In The Family, the MRI was invented, Billie Jean King kicked some tennis arse, and the Oakland A’s were World Series Champs. And in Boston, a little squawker was born. The thing about being born in 1973 to parents who were 40 and 45, who already had kids who were 13, 12, and 7, is that after a while the writing’s on the wall. Irish + Catholic + ohgawdmygawd. They must have hit one of the DiGirolamo’s infamous parties and, to quote Teresa from Real Housewives of New Jersey, “Brown chicka brown chow.” Too many Schlitzes? Too many VO and waters? No Catholic birth control. BOOM.
Well, all I can say is, thank God we weren’t Presbyterian. *waves hello *no offense God faring Presbyterians and all other birth control loving denominations
My family was so loving about it though. While one sister told me my parents bought me on the corner for a dime and got change, the other told me when my mom found out she was preggers she banged some pots and pans together. When the doctor called our house to share the great news a new sister was born, the third chick to make my brother wait for the bathroom, bro reportedly went behind the couch and cried.
Pussy. He would be sorry when I turned out to be full of awesome. Not really. When the doctor called back, he refused to take his call. My how times have changed!
But hey, NO hard feelings!
This all explains a lot, doesn’t it?
My parents were kind enough to soften the sibling barbs and say I was a”happy accident” and that I “kept them young”.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and……
Lights! (But not too bright, my wrinkles will show!) Camera! (Um, not too close, and let me tilt my face to hide my three chins!) Action! (Brown chicka brown chow! Shut it. I’m 99.9% sure I will not repeat history as a card carrying cafeteria Catholic heath-en!)…….
Now that it’s spelled out, it seems like a lot. 28 more than the Electric Company song. 40 years on fast forward……Walking, talking, falling of my biking, awkward buck teething, first dating, kissing, missing, soaring, oversleeping, dancing, boozing, schmoozing, marrying, birthing, parenting, writing, flighting. That was FLIGHTING, not FIGHTING. Who do you think I AM?
40. It’s just a number, right?
40% off is a lot.
$40 dollars. Not a lot.
40 lbs. Not a lot. Unless you lose 40 lbs. Then it’s a lot.
40 boyfriends, husbands, hook ups, mystery illnesses? Yup. A lot.
40 miles. Not a lot. Unless you’re running. Or swimming. Or spelunkswimhikingbikingtriahaloning. Then it’s a lot.
I know I should probably look like this right now:
I DROPPED MAH EGG BECAUSE I'M FOHHHHTY!!!
But seriously. 40 is the new, what, 11? It’s all good. I’m happy. I’m healthy. (The holes in my liver will close up after summer, c’mon!) I have a wonderful family and much to be grateful for. A few months ago, I came across this quote, “Growing old is a privilege that is denied to many.”
It is. And I well know it.
So on my 40th, and for the next hopefully 40 or 80 years (you never know—this kid brought to you by Schlitz and VO—here’s hopin’!), I’m going to heed a line from my favorite writer Erma Bombecks’, “If I Had My Life To Live Over”, “I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa was faded.”
WORD. Let’s do it everyone, whether you’re 30 or 40 or 50 or 99.
We’ve earned it. With every bad breakup, boss, unfortunate hair style, trauma, scar, and loss. Every hope, dream, goal achieved. We’ve earned the right. To know who we are, who our friends are, who will gain the privilege to grow old with us and pop a squat on our faded sofas.
So bring it. 40 more years or bust. We meet here. At dawn, we ride!