Growing Older but Not Up

June 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

Today, I took this T-shirt out of the dryer and realized it was ready for the rag pile. Overdue. Long overdue.

Frayed edges. Holes. Paint stains. Discoloration. Fading. So worn in places that it’s practically see-through. No self-respecting person would keep this shirt. No sane person would think twice about this shirt. No normal person would write a blog about this shirt.

But then.

I bought this shirt for five bucks at a Jimmy Buffett concert. Got it from one of those wily parking lot guys. Yeah, I buy unlicensed apparel while keeping an eye out for security. Do you think me a scallywag? Yo ho!

As it turns out, this five-buck shirt was an exceptional bargain. Before shoving this tattered bit of cotton into the rag pile, I checked the date.

1998. Seventeen years ago. Jinkies!

1998 was the Don’t Stop the Carnival tour. Day before the concert, I got to shake Jimmy Buffett’s hand on 6th Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. (But that’s another story.)

Nine. Teen. Nine. Tee. Eight. I was in my 30s. My favorite decade. Every happy possibility lay ahead. The 9 to 5 was a temporary gig. Working in advertising seemed fun. Happy Hours lasted as long as the work day. I played volleyball three or four times a week and could dive and roll across a volleyball court with less effort than it now takes me to stand up when it’s my turn to bowl. I drove a Mustang. I had a great hair cut and a closet full of high heeled shoes. I went sleeveless.

{Now, I’m not saying the present isn’t fun. But, kiddos, there ain’t no fun like being in your 20s and 30s fun. Never has been. Never will be. Live it up.}

In 1998, Buffett tickets were cheap, and it didn’t take 14 hours to drive the last 50 feet into (or out of) Star Lake. The eccentric tradition of a Buffett concert had not yet attracted mainstream attention. Hawaiian shirts, mini beaches, and brilliantly rigged blenders had not yet been replaced with a guy in a thong doing keg stands, busloads of one-up-man-ship, and teenage boys saying, “Show us your tits.” People didn’t steal other people’s party decorations. And drunken shenanigans had not transmuted into people throwing up and even urinating amidst the lawn seating. (Directly behind us. On a hillside sloping down.)

If I could snap my fingers and be there again (with a shade tree, a bottle of Captain Morgan, a bottle of idiot repellant, and a private driveway) I’d be there in a snap. Otherwise, these days, I don’t much feel like going to see Buffett in anything less than a time machine.

But I have been there. And I have done that. I haven’t always been a middle-aged fuddy duddy. The shirt is proof.

Oh, ratty old shirt. You’re a raggedy old life preserver. Threadbare as my dreams. As worn as an over-dramatic analogy. I should have put you in the rag pile. But, I have, apparently, folded you with care and carried you upstairs in the laundry basket.

So I guess I’ll put you in the drawer and keep you a bit longer. Who knows? Tomorrow, I might even show you my tits.

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

The Five Stages Work. Not Work.

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