Monday, November 27, 2006

Things I Know

I've got a birthday coming up in a couple of days. Turning 35. A friend of mine got herself in a bit of a tizzy when she hit that mark...apparently, that's how old Jesus was when he died. (Or was it 33? Or is that the number on Rolling Rock bottles? Amazing how often Christ and beer appear in the same sentence.) And she started tallying her life achievements—a futile endeavor, comparing one's life's work to JC's, unless a paralyzing depression is what you're after.

But there are some things that I've come to realize about myself, settling into my thirty-fifth year:

I am probably always going to be a shade of fat. Just the way I was built. Honestly. I've got shoulders the width of a subway door...and I haven't worked out once this century. I was always a heavy kid, but that was ameliorated by an abundance of physical activity. Now, the genes–and my jeans—are having their revenge. I am simply not gonna get down to my football weight of 180, not without a tapeworm, and I'm starting to come to grips with that.

I am not the writer I could be. Part of this is just because I don't do it enough. There are people out there who live, breathe, sweat writing. I'm not that person. I like it, and think I'm good at it, but it is not what sustains me, and so I'm not driven to do it every waking moment. And because I don't do it as often as I could, I'm not improving as rapidly as I could be. My writing partner, Adam, wisely pointed out that I lean too heavy on the one-liner, the too-cool-for-school characters that allow me to crack wise with a hint of satire. All my protagonists are like James Bond if he grew up with a subscription to MAD. So far, it hasn't hurt. People seem to like that. But they won't forever.

I will always be the parent of an autistic child. The hardest part about learning that your kid is handicapped, for me anyway, was the revision of expectations. In all likelihood, I'm paying into a college fund that she won't get to use. My wife and I may never experience empty-nest syndrome. Yes, it is absolutely possible that she'll make remarkable, astonishing progress and can eventually be mainstreamed back into the regular school system and go on to lead a fulfilling life. But she will always be autistic. And I will always be her dad.

I don't like roller-coasters. I just don't. If I'm gonna be going that fast, I want control, dammit. Same reason I don't like skiing: No friggin' brakes. (Plus, it's too cold.) My wife is a nut for roller-coasters (and skiing) and because of me, she's cut back severly on both. C'est l'amour.

I'm not leaving EW any time soon. Because it is, for lack of a better word, easy. I know the people. I know the system. I know the subject matter. Yes, it can be a grind, but I know how it's done. And I'm good at it. With rare exceptions, it doesn't hurt my brain to do my job. It leaves me with enough mental hard-drive space to do what little writing I do (see above). They pay pretty well and have a very generous benefits package. And I get six weeks of vacation. So why the hell would I want to leave?

I don't ever want to eat Indian food again. I had a bad experience when I was 13 years old that involved roti on the island of Trinidad. Today, the smell of curry makes me throw up in my mouth a little. My wife is a recent convert to the wonders of Indian cuisine. If you like it, too, give her a call. You can eat it with her. Not me. I'm done.

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