How do you define middle-age? It can’t be simply being forty, the ripe age I’ve recently achieved, because I plan to be not only alive but kicking—preferably on stage—at the riper still age of eighty. Middle-age is an abstract idea and it’s begging for a happy definition. So here’s how I think of it: it’s the beginning of a decade that really counts. If I spent too much of my twenties dreaming and half of my thirties in a fog of caring for a very young child, then I’d like to spend much of my forties doing.
There’s always been a dim buzzing sound in the background of my mind, a noise that has alerted me that time is a’wastin’ and I want to know more, to master more. As I blew out the candles on my fortieth birthday cake, the buzz grew exponentially louder. It’s a bit like having a hacksaw whirring outside your living room window. It’s time to confront these skills that have begged for my attention since my twenties.
Here is the first skill to confront:
Figure out what the hell is going on with A Prairie Home Companion. Is Garrison Keillor pulling off history’s longest practical joke? Is he an emperor-who-has-no-clothes or am I missing the astonishing insight and wit he seems certain he is pouring out with every radio wave? I’m going to get to the bottom of it, damn it, even if I have to listen to hundreds of barber shop quartets singing incomprehensible lyrics about Midwestern brand soap bubbles sold in the 1950s while I wash the dishes every Saturday night.
For the six others, please head over to The Mid and then feel free to tell me what I missed.