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‘Hope is the Dream of a Waking Man’
I am having an inordinate amount of fun these days, which is kind of weird when I stop to think about it.
You see, having fun in any amount, much less a surplus, flies in the face of the lessons of my childhood, which said that middle-aged adults like me were a bunch of sour pickles who sat around the living room and griped about how bad things were.
They complained about their backs, which always hurt. They complained about their jobs, which were always lousy; they complained about the weather, which was never satisfactory; they complained … well, you name it, they had a complaint for it.
Chief among these, of course, were us kids, who were by their assessment:
• Lazy. Kids had to be told what to do instead of just waking up in the morning and instinctively knowing that they had a thousand chores to do, from weeding the peas to putting a new roof on the chicken house, before they could sit down to eat some Cheerios.
• Not too bright. See above. See also report cards, choices of friends, hobbies, reading material, and having to be shown repeatedly how to properly operate a lawnmower.
• Irresponsible. See above again, especially the choices of friends part. This one is sometimes labeled “If Nate McKenzie jumped off the Empire State Building …”
• Tasteless. As evidenced by clothes, movies, music, television programs and menu selections.
• Undisciplined. (Note: This one only applied to the children of adults who were not in the room.)
• Destined to drag us toward the end of civilization as we know it.
Oh, our poor parents. All they could do is sit and lament as their coffee cups rattled in the saucers and their progeny ran around outside scorching the earth.
So here I am, a middle-aged man, defying my upbringing. At my age everything is supposed to be a big pain in the rear, but my big rear is pain-free.
I have work that I enjoy. I am surrounded by people who make me happy. I have a brain which, for good or ill, manages to find humor in just about anything. I have a great dog.
I don’t have much of anything to complain about and I don’t see the use of complaining anyway. It isn’t fun.
It took me a long time to learn how to have an inordinate amount of fun. I was middle aged when I was younger – a real grump, a sourball, dedicated to work and not much else. And then one day I realized that I had become a middle aged adult of my kidhood, and I wasn’t even 35 years old.
“Hope,” said Aristotle, “is the dream of a waking man.” Well, that’s what happened. I woke up, realized that the planet keeps spinning no matter how hard we try to stop it. Do I think today’s kids are lazy, none too bright, irresponsible, tasteless and undisciplined? Of course. Do I think they represent the end of civilization? Of course not. We’ll survive. Our parents did.
So I am having fun, which, I suppose, some interpret as me continuing to be lazy, irresponsible and all that, still dragging the world to its ruin. To heck with them. They’re still asleep. No wonder their lives are such nightmares.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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