Today I am officially closer to 40 than I am to 35. I am no longer the physical specimen that I once was–I have some grey in my beard now, and when I bend at the knees, sometimes it sounds like I dropped a bunch of pretzels on a linoleum floor. I don’t want to say I’m getting fat, but let’s just say that I look forward to tying my shoes a lot less than I used to. If I bend over to pick something up off the floor, I am genuinely disappointed if I don’t grab it on the first attempt. I played a little basketball today, and I could just FEEL myself running like a old man…. In that straight-legged, heavy-breathing, grunting trot of annoyance when the ball bounced somewhere other than right back to me–which was very often.
It seems like just yesterday I was having this existential dilemma after turning thirty. For some reason, thirty hit me pretty hard. There was this realization that my life was partially in my control and partially not. I had a wife, a baby girl, I was living in Nashville, and I realized I was never going to be a successful song writer (why I initially moved to Nashville, though I didn’t give it a whole lot of effort. It wasn’t important enough for me to go through the mandatory ten years of butt-kissing, I suppose…. Maybe it just wasn’t that important to me). Then my wife made a photo/video slideshow that played to the song “Turning Thirty” by Randy Stonehill. Here’s the link to the song, if you’ve never heard it (coincidentally, he sang this version when he was 38, like me–I can’t embed it for some reason…. Just click on it). It’s 70’s and a little cheesy, but it wrecked me.
Anyway, it’s eight years (and three kids) later, and as my birthday present to you, I’d like to share something I’ve learned…. Here it is: Your ass is not nearly as clean as you think it is. Happy Birthday!
Before I had kids, I was able to poop in roughly the same time that it took me to wash my hands. And it did NOT take me long to wash my hands–especially when you do it without soap. I would do my business, wipe, and be on my way without a care in the world. Now, I can spend 20 minutes on the can and still be nowhere near done. I think that the number of kids that you have is a multiplier for how long a man spends sitting on the toilet. I’m sure that cell phones and iPads have something to do with the increase in time (and the quiet. The sweet, sweet peace and quiet), but I think part of the increase in bathroom time has to do with what a person discovers when that person is in charge of keeping someone else’s ass clean.
It’s humbling, wiping another person’s ass. When my boy started going poo in the potty, I could spend six minutes wiping and still not feel like I had gotten anywhere. I’d be pulling out wet wipes, getting the hand towels damp, pulling out a flashlight…. Nothing–It was never clean. It was like some sort of magic trick! And kids don’t even have any hair down there to worry about–It seems all of the energy that used to go toward growing hair on my head has slid down my body to my beard, my back, and my beyond (if Beard, Back, & Beyond was a store, I would definitely shop there, by the way). All of a sudden, I thought about me trying to clean myself up down there–USING DRY TOILET PAPER!?!? Give me a break…. Not a chance. I had been living in a dream world.
So gone are the days of strolling down the street imagining that my ass, or anyone else’s ass for that matter, is clean. Gone are the days of a quick trip to the bathroom. And gone are the days of the quick hand wash. I spend a lot more time washing my hands living in this new reality. I suppose that’s one good thing that has come from my realization. Sometimes I just think about my kids and I have to go wash my hands. I think I’ll go wash them right now….
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PLANET EARTH!!!
***Disclaimer: I’m posting this against better judgment…. Not mine, my wife’s.***