Recently, I marked yet another milestone on my stoic journey through this existence we all call life — my 68th birthday. Yup, 68 long years since some long-forgotten physician, midwife, police officer or taxi driver (the exact circumstances of my birth were always, at best, both confusing and contradictory) patted me on my ass and said, "Okay kid, go get in the game. Play hard, play fair, and don't get too many penalty flags and always remember, don't drink and no tattoos!"
Coming from a strong Irish Catholic family, I always felt my birth certificate was nothing more than an apology from the Vatican Family Planning Center for the inordinately high percentage of failure of its rhythm method of birth control.
When you stop to consider that we track our age in "years" with one year being the time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around our sun, things can start to get really scary when you start to add up all the frequent flyer miles collected as passengers aboard spaceship earth.
The earth moves around the sun at approximately 67,000 mph racking up some 1.6 million miles of travel each day or 585 million miles annually. After 68 years on this grand merry-go-round of life, I figure I have amassed close to 40 billion miles of travel thus far. I mean that's 40 BILLION miles! C’mon, that's gotta count for something right? I should have enough miles banked that I should be able to have a helicopter land and pick me up in front of the Rock n Roll Deli and take me anywhere I damn well please, right? Unfortunately, every time I attempt to use my miles, I always encounter the problem of blackout dates or told that I failed to book my trip at least three years (or orbits) in advance!
As luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, this year the only actual travel plans I was able to make was to celebrate my 68th with my doctor after having hurt my back in bed with my beloved Grace. Wait for it...wait for it...now get your minds out of the gutter! While half asleep, I reached across to the night table to turn off some Netflix movie I was watching on my Amazon Fire TV and I managed to roll right off the bed and onto the floor with a crash that almost caused our dog, who was sleeping on the floor at the bottom of the bed, to have heart failure.
I have already sustained three lower back surgeries (two laminectomies + one revision) and apparently the warranty has expired on all of these procedures as the fall basically crippled me once again with a pain that had me calling all those poor sods who complain about water boarding, nothing more than a bunch of pampered wussies!
As I await the doctor's review of my X-rays (and his inevitable "Perhaps we should follow up with an MRI"), I just happened to open up a birthday card I received from my beloved Grace (aka: she who must be obeyed!), who is a big Bono fan. The card reads simply, "Happy birthday, Sweetheart. I wanted to get you the perfect present, but I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
Broad Channel — why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
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