Hump Day: It’s no great fun being reminded how fast time flies by in life

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

A good friend of mine was excited the other night when I dropped by for a visit. I sometimes drop by when out walking my dog. Not only do I get to spend some time with good friends, my dog also gets a snack by eating crumbs left by three growing teenagers who sometimes drop more on the floor than they put in their mouths.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone. No wonder my dog makes a bee-line for their door every time we walk by. It’s snack time for her!

My friend asked me to guess what she’d just received for her 20th wedding anniversary. After that, everything went blurry. My life started flashing before my tear-filled eyes. My heart started to palpitate. As she happily showed me her gift (a family ring) and proudly showed me every birthstone, I feigned happiness for her. Inside, I was crying like a little girl.

“Whaddya mean 20 years?” I thought to myself. “Has it already been 20 years since you got married? I remember that wedding! In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m still hungover from the reception.”

I could not believe that an event I so clearly remember happened 20 years ago. When I was a kid and would hear of couples (friends of my parents or relatives) having their 20th or 25th anniversary, the first thing that came to mind was, “Wow . . . they are old. And I mean old – like they-had-an-actual-pet-dinosaur-when-they-were-kids old.”

I guess that, in retrospect, I should not have been surprised, but this one snuck up on me. I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years, but since two-thirds of her children are shaving and the other third will likely be there in the next year or two, I guess I just lost track of time.

Two other friends will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in 2013 and I’ve decided that the only fair thing to do for my sanity is to try and break them up before then. I’m sure they’d understand, don’t you think? It’s either that or having to listen to me whine about it for the next two years. I’m pretty sure they’ll agree to go splitsville. Much less painful.

Man, this getting old thing is for the birds sometimes. I guess it’s because I look back on how I felt about people reaching these milestones when I was a kid and how warped my perspective was. It’s understandable, of course. Back then, people were indeed much older than me, so it goes without saying that I thought they were ancient.

But now that I’m getting “ancient”, too (at least by my old standards), and I’ve come to realize how young these people actually were way back when. I clearly remember my parents talking about attending the 25th wedding anniversary of an aunt and uncle and thinking they must be two of the oldest human beings in the world. In fact, I would have probably suggested that paramedics be on standby in case someone croaked from old age at the anniversary party. Twenty-five years! Unfathomable!

Ah, how my perspective has changed! I still feel like a spring chicken (at least on most days) and am always looking for new projects and opportunities. My relatives back then must have been the same way. It would be silly to think otherwise considering they would have been about the same age as I am today.

I wonder if I’ll feel the same way when friends start nearing their 50th wedding anniversaries. That seems highly likely, and I’ll look back on today like we were just kids. So far, none of my close friends who are around my age are grandparents, although I do have cousins my age who are grandparents. (I have disowned them and refuse to talk to them at family events. It’s either that or smother them with one of their grandchildren’s disposable diapers.)

The time will come one day, though, when a close friend announces that one of their kids is going to be a parent. I’m not looking forward to it.

I’ll wonder where the years went. I’ll wonder when that little baby I once held in my arms grew up!

And then I’ll go out and buy a gallon of mouthwash and get drunk on it. If I’m going to be a sad old pitiful sot, the least I can do is have good breath.

The next time a friend happily tells me that they’re celebrating a milestone anniversary of 20 years or more, I’m going to have to work on pretending that I’m happy about it. I’m not so sure I was good at hiding my feelings this time. What was left of my hair turned grey. Body parts automatically started sagging more than they already are. And I’m pretty sure that a few brain cells committed suicide.

With that said, there is certainly evidence that I’m becoming the grouchy old man that I’m destined to be. I regularly admonish children in the park for using the dog poop bags the city provides as water balloons. I spend much of the time when I’m out walking the dog picking garbage off the streets left by what are surely cigarette-smokin’ rock-and-roll-listenin’ hooligans who are all hopped up on high-fructose corn syrup. When all is said and done, I’m just feeling a bit old these days, I guess.

Friends are hitting milestone anniversaries. Little kids I used to hold in my arms are shaving. I should start practising hitting them with my cane.

Something to look forward to!

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