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Chris O’Donnell feels like he’s living ‘on fast forward’

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Updated: January 3, 2013 6:18AM

In case you want to measure time, just listen to Chris O’Donnell talk about his life. “I’m 42 now,” says the Winnetka native. “I’m wearing glasses now! Not sunglasses. Real glasses. I’m just falling apart.”

While O’Donnell acts on “NCIS: Los Angeles” opposite LL Cool J, he’s also advocating for influenza vaccinations and is involved in a donation of flu vaccine to AmeriCares to help reach underserved populations.

1 We know you as a tough guy, but you say you’re a little squeamish when it comes to getting your flu shot. You’re touting a needle called the “short shot” for all of us wusses out there.

I have five kids, so it has become a real priority to get a flu shot. Kids come home like a walking petri dish of germs. Even my dog has an ear infection now. The one thing we can do is get a flu shot each fall, but I’m the biggest baby when it comes to needles. My doc recommended this different delivery system. Same shot, but it goes just under the surface of your skin. I’m a wuss, but the flu is so preventable. You can’t be one of those adults who thinks you’re indestructible — especially if you have really young children who are in danger of getting seriously ill or even dying if flu comes into the house.

2 For people who remember you playing a teen in “Men Don’t Leave,” it must be hard to believe you’re into your 40s.

No one tells you that things get so busy in your 40s that you feel like you just have your head down and you’re running all the time. I feel like my life is on fast forward. It’s shocking how fast it goes. My oldest child is 13 now and at that age where you have full memory of your life. My kids are real people now and getting older by the minute.

3 You film “NCIS” all over Los Angeles. Do you ever get worried going into some of the tougher neighborhoods?

I have to say that I’m having a blast working with LL. He’s a great partner in so many respects and I’ve learned a lot from him. He has amazing confidence and is always so positive. He’s the eternal optimist. I’ve seen parts of L.A. that I didn’t even know existed. When we go into the tough neighborhoods, I’m not worried. I’d love to tell you it’s my Chicago street cred, but the truth is I have LL next to me. No one is going to mess with him.

4 Women are often competitive about their bodies. Are you and LL comparing and contrasting on the set?

All I can say is he really works out and takes care of himself. His biceps are unreal. It’s like he chiseled granite rock and just attached that to his body. Let’s say that I have stepped it up a bit.

5 You always seem like such a mellow guy. Are you a strict Dad?

I am strict about things such as they have to get to bed on time and do their homework. Believe me, I can play bad cop if I have to, but I’m not that bad. It’s all about having common sense when you have five kids. They know when we’re serious about something or not. It is unbelievable how much smarter they are than when we were kids. The pressure is on them, too. My 4-year-old daughter just went for an interview to go to Catholic school. What they asked her? I have no idea. My wife took that one on, while I drove everyone else to soccer games and flag football. I never stop.

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