Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CONFESSIONS OF A BADASS

I will soon mark an especially unimportant birthday milestone (52 would seem to be as meaningless as being a sophomore in high school). But there is some resonance to this particular birthday. It will be the first one since the stroke, for starters, which makes me itch for an epic blowout, but ... no. That's probably not a wise course of action. Not that I plan to suddenly become an abstainer. I mean, some things are sacred, amirite?

Such is the life of a badass, and for this I make no apologies. Fellow travelers I've known have had sideswipes with life's scary moments and decided to proceed with caution. I have been to a few of their funerals, and let me tell you, there is nothing sadder than paying final respects to someone who crept through their last months and years on the planet. Rompers are not meant to inch cautiously to the finish line; they're supposed to sprint all the way to the end, taking big chomps out of life as often as possible. You can't leave a mark if you're worried about scuffing up the joint.

I am aware of the dangers of the life I've chosen to lead. I may have forgotten a few things, but being a badass is not one of them (and yes, the issues with memory loss linger, but they're not as bad and slowly getting better, day by day, thank you very much). Letting that problem run my life would be the ruin of my life. It would make me feeble, tentative. It would make me old, and it's not my time to be old. Not yet. Better to leave that to the lesser souls on this plain, the timid people who think living means staying well within the lines. I once knew a guy who decided, in his 50s, to suddenly get "healthy." He stopped the debauchery and started going to the gym. He dropped a shit-ton of weight and bought a new wardrobe. They buried him in one of his new outfits. I'm sure he looked dapper in his coffin.

Being a badass doesn't mean being stupid. Idiots and wannabes fly over the edge without thinking. And any fool can just say no. It takes a lot of calculation and effort to just say whoa. The faint-of-heart need not dabble in this black art of envelope pushing. Badassery is a mad science best left to the experts.

Which explains why 52 won't be an epic blowout — but it won't be a frail excuse of a celebration, either. Great gulps of fun are in order. The same holds true for May 5, when I note the first anniversary of surviving the stroke. These are days to celebrate. To frolic. There are still many marks to make.

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