Roast me now, at 50, while I’m still around
RICH MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org January 27, 2012 7:02PM
Updated: March 1, 2012 8:25AM
‘Old timer, old timer, too late to die young now.”
I’m turning 50 soon, so I’ve been planning a big party in Chicago on March 31 to distract myself from my own mortality. As Todd Snider confides in his song Age Like Wine, “I thought that I’d be dead by now . . . but I’m not.”
The party will be a benefit for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, one of this state’s most indispensable organizations. The featured presentation will be a roast of yours truly. Cash bar. The last thing I need is some of these roasters sucking up free drinks and then taking to the microphone to tell jokes about my many, many faults.
Carol Marin, this paper’s political columnist, has graciously agreed to roast me, as has the acerbically witty Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green. Politicians like Senate President John Cullerton (our event’s emcee) and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka have agreed to join the fray. The rest of the list is pretty long, but no less distinguished.
Actually, the most difficult part of planning this event has been limiting the number of roasters. It isn’t every day that a media type gives those he or she covers carte blanche to say cruelly funny things about him in front of an audience. So, they’re coming out of the woodwork to be a part of this thing, and I guess I’m not surprised.
I’ve been pretty rough on them over the years, so they’re eager to exact some sweet revenge.
“Old timer, five and dimer, trying to find a way to age like wine somehow.”
Fifty used to be old. It used to be that when you reached 50 years of age, you were considered somehow wiser than others. Now, the baby boomers have decided to change all that and dub 50 “the new 30” and keep treating people like me as if we were kids.
But I clearly remember when my boomer friends turned 50. They were all horrified out of their minds. As they aged even further they’ve tried to pass off the milestone as no big deal, as if 50 isn’t even middle aged.
Let me tell you something, my friends, there’s no way on God’s Earth that I’ll live to be a hundred . Trust me on that. Middle-aged my eye.
“My new stuff is nothing like my old stuff was.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is 52, not much older than me. As I write this, Kirk is in a Northwestern University Hospital intensive care unit recovering from a major stroke. Most of the comments I’ve heard by his fellow politicians were about how young he is. People, he’s not young. Face facts here, man, bad things start happening to your body when you turn 50.
The night after we all learned about Kirk’s stroke, I found myself in a supermarket shopping for some sliced ham for my lunches. I remembered I was also running low on toothpaste, so I went to the “drug store” section, and before I realized what I was doing I’d filled my basket with vitamins for people over 50, various stop-smoking aids and Slim Fast. And then I returned to the grocery section and dumped the ham and picked up some turkey instead. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what was going on. I’d been freaked out by Kirk’s stroke more than I cared to admit.
Get well soon, senator. And don’t let those graying boomers fool you.
You’re not nearly as young as you used to be. Neither of us are. Like it or not, we’re both getting old. Let’s try to make the best of it.