My sister and I spent a lot of time at the library while growing up. My mom worked until 5 and one of the advantages of a small town is that we could easily walk to the public library after school. (And one of the advantages of being nerds is that we really liked this arrangement.) The librarians (especially Rita, who was the kindliest grandmother you can imagine) were always great to us, recommending books and watching out for us.
But the small town library was not exactly up-to-date. A lot of the books I could read were Danny Dunn (written in the 50s) Encyclopedia Brown (written in the 60’s) and We Were There (written in the 50’s).
Danny Dunn was pretty cool, everyone knows that Encylopedia Brown rocks, but The We Were There books were my favorite. They took historical events and inserted kids into them, so you ended up with titles like We Were There on the Oregon Trail, We Were There with Richard the Lionhearted in the Crusades, and We Were There with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.
In one of them, which a little research shows me must have been We Were There with Cortes and Montezuma. Or maybe it was another book about Ferdinand Magellen or Americus Vespucci (I had quite an explorer phase.) Anyway, there was a book I read where a kid joined up with an explorer. Upon finding out the explorer was 40, he gasped at how old that sounded. Of course I agreed with the kid. 40 was old! Now that I’m here, on the side of the Explorer, I kinda think that kid was exaggerating a bit. Morgan Freeman wasn’t even famous when he was 40. But I do feel my age. The early 80s, my formative years, were long ago. Even the Eddie Vedder era that is the highlight of my life was a quarter of a century ago, as far the Kennedy era as it is from us.
Forty really isn’t so bad. However there are some drawbacks.
- I’m beginning to think my NBA career is looking a little unlikely.
- I can’t drink much alcohol anymore.
- I have to stretch before running or playing basketball.
There is good stuff too.
- My beard has enough grey in it that I don’t get carded anymore.
- People consider you smarter the older you look.
- I’m closer than ever to being able to wear my pants up to my nipples.
I was never a big fan of bucket lists, for a multitude of reasons. However, back in 2009-2010 I did make a list of special things I hope I can do.
- Walk barefoot over hot coals.
- Drive the ice-fields parkway
- Bike through the middle east.
- Hike the PCT
- Ride a camel across Mongolia. Write a book about it called “I Think I Khan.”
- Enjoy eating durian
- Walk across Norway.
- Play one-on-one with Arvydas Sabonis.
- Use a grappling hook to climb up something, at night, while dressed in all black.
- Climb a coconut tree and throw coconuts at the ground. Bonus Points if I can hit a monkey..
- Get into a tomato fight (maybe Spain’s La Tomatino)
- Live in a castle for at least a year
- Direct a scary movie.
- Have a book reading at Powells
- Throw rotten tomatoes at someone who sings a shitty song.
- See an Ionesco play in Paris.
- drink maple syrup straight from a tree (or bucket) in Quebec.
- Hike into a natural hot spring while it’s snowing outsideDrive a motorcycle with a sidecar through Russia. Bonus Points: Have a dog wearing goggles in the sidecar.
- Bob for apples on Halloween Addams family style….(with big seesaw plank)
- Have long hair and headbang to Bohemian Rhapsody while driving in a car. Bonus points: Dana carvey is there too.
- buy groceries in france and walk home with baguette sticking out of bag
- fart on a skunk