"Aging is an inevitable process," the actor William Holden once said. "I surely wouldn't want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer."
Which all sounds good and well, until you remember a few things about Holden:
•He was in his 50s when he started a relationship with Stefanie Powers, an actress more than 20 years his junior. It's easy for an older guy to say aging is no big deal when he's hanging out with a young babe.
•He was one of those guys who got better-looking with age. That helps ease the sting of the calendar.
•He was a raging alcoholic who slipped on a rug in his apartment, hit his head on a table and bled to death. They found his body four days later. He was 63.
And that sounds old to this 51-year-old man, but it's not — it's only a dozen more birthdays away, and given how easily I remember my 39th celebration (tequila shots at a downtown bar, a gun-shaped bong from Spankmeister, a bar owner who said she found me "strangely sexually attractive"), I imagine it'll be 2024 before I'm ready for it.
I don't think I'll be Holden handsome by then, either. Age has not been my friend this past year. Up top is a shot from Friday; this is what I looked like less than a year ago:
No carry-on bags under my eyes then. More hair. Fewer lines. Most of all, a greater spirit of life behind the eyes. So yeah, I'm not eager to see what the 2013 edition of Ron will look like, and I'm damned sure the 2024 version won't be squiring around any beautiful new women (actually, I'm damned sure that's never going to happen again, but that's by choice).
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind getting older. I'm frankly a smarter man than I've ever been. Definitely a kinder, gentler one — still capable of plenty of badassery that would leave a twentysomething in the dust, but aware that I don't have to do that shit to be a bad-ass. I don't need to prove myself anymore. It's actually a good feeling.
What I do mind is seeing myself in the mirror and knowing the visage is changing, and not for the better. Now I understand why people go batshit crazy over plastic surgery — anything to fight off the inevitable. I have no doubt a facelift is in my future. And pectoral implants. But only after getting some new ink this summer.
Meh. We get older. Shit happens. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, or embrace it, or accept it without a furious fistfight. Going gentle into that good night? Thanks, but no. Rage, rage — against the machine and the calendar and the notion that my best days are behind me. Pardon me, but FTN.
And no slipping on rugs in my apartment.