I turn the “big 5-0” this year, which means I’m at imminent risk of slipping into a midlife crisis.
Some of my friends and fellow AARP invitees are already deep in the throes of “manopause” and have become objects of pity and ridicule — and not just from their wives. I plan to avoid that sad fate, which all too often goes viral on social media, and be prepared when my crisis hits — or bursts from my chest cavity, grows into a hideous alien creature with hair implants, and tries to destroy my dignity and bank account.
My main strategy for defending myself against doing anything that I can’t afford, or for which there is no effective ointment, is to recognize and reject the traps that ensnare many men approaching their “best-if-used-by” date.
First, I am resolved to avoid purchasing any motorized products (or related accessories) from the Harley-Davidson Corporation. These include additions to my wardrobe, like stars-and-stripes bandanas, embroidered vests, or — heaven forbid — leather chaps. Now, I realize that Harley-Davidson is a fine American company deserving of support, but that support should come from men who look more like the dudes from ZZ Top, and less like escapees from a junior high school faculty meeting. Besides, I never really mastered riding my ten-speed Schwinn, so I’m thinking my Softail Fat Boy ship has sailed.
Next, I am determined to refrain from acquiring any permanent or semi-permanent body art. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against folks with tattoos, piercings, brandings, plugs, drains, downspouts, or BeDazzlings. At my age, though, I have to assume that any decorative addition to my epidermis will soon begin a precipitous descent to an unintended area of my body. As the years go by, I’d rather not be tripping over my nipple barbells or trying to explain why I have tattoos of my daughters’ faces between my toes.
So far, I’ve been able to resist selling my spare organs so I can afford to invest in a regimen of anti-aging and male-enhancement products. I admit that I had hoped I would age naturally into a well-seasoned state of rugged handsomeness. Instead, as each day goes by, it becomes more clear that no amount of testosterone supplements, face polish, or belly bras are going to keep me from eventually being mistaken for a pile of unfolded laundry.
As for male enhancement, if I want to enhance my maleness, I’ll go hang out in a Bass Pro Shops store somewhere and pretend I’m interested in something other than the giant aquarium and the selection of colon-combusting hot sauces in the gift shop.
Finally, I refuse to fall victim to the allure of a young, nubile female person looking for a sugar daddy. Not only would this violate my moral code, but I’m pretty sure my wife wouldn’t allow it. And as a father of three teenage daughters, all of my sugar has long since been consumed by orthodontist bills, car insurance premiums, and unlimited wireless data plans. In other words, this daddy is now sugar-free and binging on the artificial sweetener of credit card debt.
Some say the whole idea of a midlife crisis is just a myth perpetuated by our self-obsessed society — and the Russians. At any rate, if it comes after me and I can’t outrun it, I can always break out my ten-speed Schwinn.
Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at email@example.com.