Happy Birthday to… oh, forget it

I turn 48 this week. I don’t make this public so I’ll be showered with birthday wishes; that’s what Facebook is for. I just want to talk about that age: 48. As birthdays go, this one has got to be one of the least milestoney. If milestones are measuring points on life’s great journey, 48 is that single shoe abandoned on the shoulder of the road.

Forty-eight is “Your call is important to us; please stand by.” Forty-eight is the guy you see at the party and say, “Oh. Are you still here?” Forty-eight is leftovers. Again.

Forty-eight is smack between “I still have time” and “It’s too late” and a mere stone’s throw from “I just need to sit a minute.”

But surely great things can still be achieved at 48. Surely I can turn to that most reliable of reassurers, the Internet, to inspire me to make 48 the best mediocre year yet.

Of course I can. Over at museumofconceptualart.com, you can enter your age and discover “Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.”

Little Red Riding Bond (photo: www.flickriver.com)

Little Red Riding Bond
(photo: http://www.flickriver.com)

I punched in “48” and learned that Umberto Eco wrote his first novel, The Name of the Rose, at 48. Well, that’s encouraging. As the saying goes, “If your actions lead to Sean Connery playing a monk, you, my good fellow, have lived.”

Next I learned that George Blanda played his last year of NFL football at 48. Quite something, but less an accomplishment than a denouement. “Get off the field, slow George Blanda, we can’t hear the plays over the popping of your creaky joints, and your weepy old man eyes are starting to bum us out.”

Then I read that “V. Fick was the first person to have a bilateral ceramic hip replacement at Doctor’s Hospital in Massillion, Ohio and was back to gardening in under a month.” Hip replacement. Gardening. The only way this entry could make No-First-Name Vick seem any older would be if the writer had used the word “spry.”

And that was it. Those were all the Things Other People Accomplished When They Were My Age.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t accomplish great things myself at 48. (Hint: it will involve gas-powered bobbleheads.) What I should be doing is finding out things other people accomplished when they were 47, see what kind of benchmark I should have reached by now.

I entered my current age.

I learned that, at age 47, Edward Jenner pioneered the vaccination against smallpox. That’s impressive, but as impressive as my all-out assault last Saturday on the mould growing behind the toilet tank? Depends on your perspective and proximity to the mould and/or smallpox.

Next: Julio Franco of the New York Mets became the oldest player to hit a grand slam. Fine, but did Sean Connery play him in a movie? Not yet.

At age 47, Kent Couch attached 105 helium balloons to a lawn chair and flew 193 miles, although the entry fails to say whether he did so on purpose.

Finally, at 47, Prescott Bush – father and grandfather of two American presidents – “was director of a company whose assets were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Even after America entered World War II, he continued working for, and profiting from, companies that helped finance Hitler’s rise to power. The money he made from these ventures helped establish the Bush family fortune.” I don’t think this is an accomplishment; I think this is someone with a pretty serious axe to grind over at “Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.”

Yeah, that looks about right.  (Photo: www.theguardian.com)

Yeah, that looks about right.
(Photo: http://www.theguardian.com)

What’s great about the Internet is that you can keep on searching until you find an answer you like. For instance, Robert Downey Jr. is 48, and he’s freakin’ Iron Man. Charlie Sheen is 48… Yeah. Umm… Robert Downey Jr. is freakin’ Sherlock Holmes!

Noah Webster planted the seed for insufferable word geeks forevermore with his Compendious Dictionary of the English Language¸ published at 48. In 1869, at age 48, Dostoyevsky wrote The Idiot, cementing his reputation and stealing the proposed title for two out of three future political biographies.

I’m trying to stay positive (the collective motto of the 48-year-old) but it’s hard to when searching for things 48-related and you learn that even the suggested gift for 48th wedding anniversaries is lame: opticals — for instance a magnifying glass, bifocals or other old-people things.

So you can see why I’m not excited about turning 48.

Though cash would help.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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53 Responses to Happy Birthday to… oh, forget it

  1. I’m still gonna wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Um – you WROTE a BOOK at 47… A BOOK (your second actually). And everyday you make everyone in your family happy…you make your readers happy and you spot funiculars at an alarming rate. That’s pretty magical for ANY AGE. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You don’t have to accomplish amazing feats to be an amazing person…you simply just ‘are’ and that’s wonderful – at any age.

  2. pinklightsabre says:

    I knew there was something I liked about you: it’s astrological. I turn 43 next week. Mildly less mediocre perhaps.

  3. painterswife says:

    48 is not so bad – I’m coming up for a mediocre 53 and I still don’t know what I want to be when i grow up…

  4. El Guapo says:

    Happy birthday!!!

    I’d say you should spend 48 resting on your laurels.
    That mold cleanup deserves recognition.

  5. colemining says:

    Happy birthday! And many thanks for alerting me to the fact that I still have a few years to ‘catch up’ to likes of Umberto Eco and Iron Man. Not sure which of those two things is least likely…

  6. You did write a book, so that’s something. Spawning children makes you biologically successful, and being older than me makes me feel much better about myself, so there’s that as well. Happy Birthday, big boy!!

    Oh and here –> if you go to Coastal.com as a first time eyeglass customer, you only have to pay for shipping! The perfect gift of opticals from me to you! Happy Birthday again!!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I keep hearing about people buying glasses online and thinking, “How can that work?” But then, I’m the kind of guy who still seeks the help of travel agents.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and your largesse.

  7. Katie says:

    Happy birthday! The way you described 48 is how I imagine 30.

  8. byebyebeer says:

    Your posts always brighten my day. I was going to say my favorite part was the gas-powered bobbleheads, but then there was the possibly unintentional lawnchair float and now I’m torn. Though I disagree with my older kid when she tells the youngest she can’t have two favorite colors, so I will have two favorites. I’m going to be 40 next month and I’m pretty bummed about it and I suspect it’s for the same reason I won’t click on that link that will only prove I have wasted my life. Getting old can be a terrible downer. I don’t even know I’d call myself spry, though, yes…yes, I will give myself that. Thanks for the laughs and happy 48!!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Thanks. I’ve been enjoying my 40s because, all kidding aside, I’ve focused on accomplishing things I wanted to get done. Plus, I’m likely to remember more of my 40s than my thirties, if you know what I mean.

  9. Happy Birthday, I guess. But you should be feeling pretty smug. Here are the “accomplishments” that go with people MY age:

    Mao Zedong founded the Peoples’ Republic of China.

    George Granville Leveson-Gower, duke of Sutherland, destroyed the homes of Scottish Highlanders and drove thousands of residents off the land to make room for sheep.

    Doug Hughes self-published the world’s longest Christmas newsletter (a 160-page, perfect-bound, full-color paperback book).

    Now, excuse me while I crawl under a rock…

  10. Lily says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope you have a magical and joyous day. (That’s what I say to my facebook friends whenever their birthdays roll around.)
    Never compare yourself to others! That’s like, rule number one to avoid spiraling into a deep depression. Rafael Nadal is one of the best tennis players that has ever lived and he’s my age. One of my friends from high school wrote a super successful book (Divergent) and now has millions of dollars. Wow okay I quit. Happy birthday.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Divergent classmate! That’s a tough one. Thankfully, I graduated with a class of underachievers, so the hot flames of jealousy rarely sear my soul. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  11. franhunne4u says:

    Numbers – hey, you let your life be measured my numbers? Isn’t that totally boring? You are alive – that is a reason to recelebrate the first day you were. Not the numbers.

  12. Elyse says:

    My perspective on what needs to be done by what age changed when I was 20. I worked at an Ivy League university as a secretary. The professor in the next office was brilliant — became a full tenured professor at 27. Everybody thought he was the brightest man on the planet. I did too. Until the day he came into the office I shared with his secretary to ask her to call maintenance to change a light bulb at his home. In a table lamp. I do not exaggerate when I say this experience changed my life. Because at that moment I knew that in at least one way, I was smarter than the smartest guy on the planet. I could change a light bulb.

  13. ddupre315 says:

    Happy Birthday! Embrace 48, still handsome, breathing, walking, talking, typing, eating, drinking and looking to accomplish things.

  14. Tez says:

    Many, many happy returns. And oh, poo bah! You are a mere strippling, lad. At 48 you are still a baby in my eyes. Wait until you are my age (68) to look back on your achievements. I won’t tell you all the things I got up in my fifties!

    Seriously, it’s great being older. I’m now a professional lounger, idler, teller of tall tales and, mostly, don’t give a shit about what others think of me. It’s very liberating. It’s also very satisfying to watch my children dealing with the same kind of crud from their children that I went through with them. Talk about smugness!

    Enjoy xxxx

  15. monicahlv says:

    Happy Birthday. Today I am 49 myself and I agree with you that 48 is just a nothing birthday. It did not really bother me all that much to turn 48. I thought that turning 49 would freak me out a little because it was only one step away from 50, but so far, it has not. Actually, I looking forward to turning 50 next year.

  16. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I turned 60 on the 18th this week. I have so much left to do.

  17. 48 is just 50 with training wheels.
    Enjoy!

  18. Letizia says:

    Joyeux Anniversaire! I will be sending cash soon 🙂 In the meantime, have a wonderful birthday week (or month, hey, why not?).

  19. cat9984 says:

    Happy Birthday! Would send you money, but it’s still on the line drying.

  20. benzeknees says:

    A little over a week from now I will turn 58 – wait till you hit this benchmark! The best thing about turning 58? It’s one year closer to retirement 🙂

  21. nobsj says:

    Wait according to this post I think I’m 48 help. And a very happy day to you!

  22. Pingback: Wondering where the lions are for sale | Drinking Tips for Teens

  23. I LOVED this post! I have 3 weeks left of being 47 and now I really intend to make the most of them.

  24. Pingback: The Bush-Bin Laden Connection | THE SCARECROW

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