A newsman looks at 40

They say age is nothing but a number. Having recently turned 40, I’m here to tell you “they” don’t know what they’re talking about.

First of all, I should start by saying nothing particularly devastating happened a couple of weeks ago when I officially began the perilous slope over the proverbial hill. My hair didn’t suddenly turn gray. No Rascal Scooters or hearing aids showed up in the mail. I didn’t poop my pants. Thank goodness for that one. I hate when that happens. I mean, I really, really hate when that one happens. Especially when you are nailing up yard sale signs across the road from the house. Nevermind. Let’s just forget I mentioned that.

Anyway, none of the things associated with turning 40 happened on my birthday. You see, they have been building up to this point over the past few years. I can still do most of the things I could when I was 20. I can still run relatively fast for a fat dude, it just comes in shorter bursts. I can still carry 25 bags of groceries from the car at one time – 12 hanging off of each arm and one in my teeth. Don’t ask.

I can still do a cartwheel, which is quite the sight to see if you’ve never seen an overweight 40-year-old do a cartwheel. I can even do the worm – it’s an old breakdancing move. There are relatives with video evidence of this if you think I’m bluffing. However, if you are interested in seeing it, just be careful of what you wish for. It’s not pretty.

Yes, I can still do most of the things I could do when I was half my age. They just hurt a lot more. Here recently, I seem to have developed a tricky knee. Most of the time when I wake up, my back feels as if herd of elephants has trampled on it all night. I can remember what I was doing my first day of school, but I can’t remember half of what I did yesterday. See, the trip over the hill started well before I actually turned 40.

I have been fortunate that my hair has yet to turn gray, or worse, start falling out. Instead, I just have hair starting to grow in other areas. Not exactly a glorious trade, but I guess it could be worse. I am also fortunate that the only thing I have lost so far is my appendix. Score one for me!

I also care far less about many of the things I used to worry about when I was younger. That is a great thing. I am wiser now and am much less prone to do really stupid things, which by the way, I was a pro at when I was younger. Booze has been replaced by coffee. Heavy metal music has been replaced by classic rock – mostly. I still rock Metallica, AC/DC and some Misfits when I need an energy boost. But when someone asks me, ‘Hey, why don’t you do a cartwheel?’ or ‘Betcha can’t still do the worm,’ I think twice about how much everything is going to hurt in the morning.

Yes, the worst thing about reaching 40 has definitely been my memory. Now I can be halfway into the middle of a sentence and completely forget what I was talking about. ‘Hey, remember that time I did a cartwheel and then did a backward flip into the worm at the…wait, where am I’ is not uncommon these days as my train of thought often gets derailed.

Unfortunately, this trait sometimes rears its ugly head in my job. It happened just a week ago as I gleefully worked on the story about Carroll County’s star softball pitcher Sydney Nester making her verbal commitment to N.C. State. What a huge announcement that was. What an exciting time! In the history of Carroll County, there have only been a handful of athletes to go on to play a sport for an ACC school. This I didn’t want to mess up. This had to be perfect.

I was so excited as I banged out that article about this wonderful event. And for the most part, I was pleased with how the article turned out. That was until I went to post the article online and noticed I made the biggest mistake I could possibly make. At the very end, I wrote that Nester was the “son” of Dr. Brad Nester and Rhonda Nester. Yes, 40 hit in a hard way that day. My heart sank. Fortunately, I was able to correct that error online, but it was too late for the print edition.

Now, one could argue it was not that bad of a mistake since Sydney could probably make a fool out of the majority of male baseball players out there. She is that good. But that still didn’t make me feel any better. Fortunately, I called Sydney’s dad as soon as I realized the error and he didn’t seem mad. In fact, he got a chuckle out of it.

But I still felt awful. So I am going to offer Sydney a free pass to bean me this upcoming softball season with one of her 65 mile per hour softballs. Sydney has great control and command of her pitches, so all I ask is that she get me in the ribs and not in the old noggin. I have a hard enough time making it through the day as it is without taking a shot to the cranium. Heck, we could make it a fundraiser for a good cause. I am sure there are plenty of Carroll Countians who would pony up good dough to see it. Just don’t ask me to do a cartwheel when it’s over.

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