Issue #170 – “31*” – June 14th, 2010

-There’s a great scene in 61* – the movie about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chasing Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record – where Mantle tells Maris that he’s too hurt to keep playing. “He’s all yours if you want him,” Mantle says of Ruth, “You go get that fat fuck.” As my thirty-first birthday approaches on Friday and my ailing shoulder continues to hamper me, I feel a little like Mickey Mantle: plagued by injuries yet still chasing tail and boozing heavily. I also feel a little like Roger Maris: pursuing elusive goals despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Thus I’ve decided to give my own upcoming birthday an asterisk. My first year as a thirtysomething was no doubt eventful, but I still believe the best is yet to come. Success, love, happiness, and health are my Babe Ruth. And I will continue to chase that fat fuck.

-My first encounter with mortality came two weeks ago, when I got an MRI on my shoulder, which has dislocated nine times in the past eight months. Being in that scary little tube really makes you ponder your existence: Why is this happening to me? When did I get old? How much is this going to cost? And where the hell are Olivia Wilde and Omar Epps with their witty banter?

-This is the first time in six years I won’t be holding my notorious birthday pub crawl in New York. I don’t do anything half-ass, and each year’s seven-hour, nine-bar crawl featured drink specials, maps, and souvenir cups. It’s not that I’ve gotten too old for all that drinking, it’s just that it’s really far to walk.

-My online grocery store delivered the wrong Healthy Choice meal the other day and it really made me feel immature. Partly because I’m almost thirty-one and still regularly eat microwaveable dinners. But mostly because the meal was called a “Beef Steamer” and the sexual innuendo made me giggle.

-I think the older you get, the harder it is to figure out what you want for your birthday. The things I truly desire these days are either very expensive or completely intangible. My mom asked me last week what I really wanted and I replied, “A new car or for my upstairs neighbors to stop being so loud.”

-I got my first gray hair on August 18th, 2005 (I know this because I wrote it in my calendar). Now I’ve got about a half-dozen on each side of my head, right above the ear. I used to pluck them or shave them off but I recently just gave up. Some guys’ graying hair is characterized as “salt and pepper” or “distinguished,” but mine is better described as “spotty” or “indicative of no longer caring about one’s personal appearance.”

-So after months of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to schedule shoulder surgery for a few weeks after my birthday (I want to make sure I’m completely recovered from the subsequent hangover). Oxymoronic as it may be, it’s considered minor surgery. Still, I consider it a wake-up call of sorts. I’m not indestructible after all. In my thirty-one years on this earth, I’ve worked hard and played harder. And now, for the first time, I’m paying the price. But when I wake up from the anesthesia, the first things I plan on asking the doctor are: When can I type? When can I drink? And can you recommend an attractive female physical therapist? Because once I’ve recovered, Babe Ruth better watch out.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-People who reply “every day is different” when asked about their job should just respond truthfully and say that work is one giant pain in the ass.

-I recently went to exchange a broken remote control at a Time Warner Cable payment center in LA. When I left the building, I noticed there were marks to measure your height on the doorway. I thought, oh, that’s cute – while their parents are waiting in line, little kids can play around and see how tall they are. When I got to the parking lot, it struck me that the marks are actually for police to better identify the height of suspects on security camera footage as they flee the store after robbing it. So I guess Time Warner is a “glass half empty” kind of company.

-This is LA for you: I went to a ‘90s themed barbecue over Memorial Day weekend and I swear it took me an hour before I even realized people were in costume.

-Since I do all my grocery shopping online, I have very little concept of how much food is supposed to cost – unless it’s alcohol. Show me a thumbnail of a green pepper and I couldn’t tell you within two dollars what a reasonable price might be. But click over to the virtual beer aisle and I could win The Price is Right with my uncanny accuracy.

-There are very, very few locations in this country where it’s acceptable for your Facebook to list Hometown and Current City as the same place.

-I hate when people email me, skip a line, write “Thanks,” and then let their email signature serve as their name. I get it: you’re busy, you’re a vice president, and you’re using your middle initial now. But don’t tell me you’re above typing out your own name.

-Every time I’m asked to sign a Privacy Statement at the doctor’s office I feel like it just consists of a list of different methods in which my privacy will be violated.

-I just spent the whole day with a good buddy of mine. We grabbed some food, walked his dog, and watched the game. It was only as I was getting up to leave that I noticed he had been wearing jorts the entire time. I was completely stunned that I hadn’t noticed this beforehand, but didn’t hesitate to remind him that the ‘90s party was last week.

-And, finally, one thing I’ve realized about turning thirty-one is that the age of blowout birthday parties is probably over. At twenty-one, twenty-five, and thirty, my friends and I celebrated with authority. But no one gives a shit when you turn thirty-five. And, forty, well, at this rate I’ll be the only single, babyless guy around. Plus I don’t think fortysomethings are legally allowed on pub crawls. So for my birthday this year I’m just gonna celebrate quietly with a few dozen drinks with friends on both coasts and hope my shoulder doesn’t pop out in the process. I need that arm to comb my gray hairs. Fuck me.