some asshole friend of mine thought it would be hilarious to email me an article called something like "5,729 things you should know how to do by age 40" and LOL FOREVER AT LEARNING NEW THINGS. i'm just a moist skin dumpster filled with latent rage and useless night court trivia, and i'm basically the same person i was 37 years ago except with worse credit and a persistent headache. anyway, i couldn't even take that list seriously because the first thing on it was some garbage like "learn how not to embarrass yourself at karaoke" and, like, my mans? that is never going to happen. what 40 year old gives a shit about being embarrassed!? (you thought i was going to say karaoke, and you're right: i was.)
it's too late for me to go back to college. it makes me uncomfortable to learn new things, mostly because i have no idea where to put anything in my brain anymore. every new thing in pushes an old thing right out, so i can either 1 learn what space weather is and how it might actually affect my life on this planet or 2 remember how to tie my shoes. and i know that positive people are always saying "it's never too late!" about shit like finding out what "dabbing" means and enrolling in a community college you can actually write a check for (because you have a job, duh, AND ACTUAL CHECKS) and i'm proud of you for doing it but that's not gonna be me. young people are very loud, and i was already 20 when some of them were born: as much as i'd like to fold up my walker and squint at the board from the back of a culture studies class i'm just not gonna. but what i can do is rely on internet quizzes and checklists as a barometer for how well i'm doing as i shuffle off this mortal coil. i picked these things off the list at random to examine my emotional preparation as i progress on this endless march toward the grave.
how to make conversation at parties. i'm trash at this and i'll tell you why: too busy hovering near the snacks. just kidding, eating in front of strangers is weird. at parties i like to find one person i know and linger awkwardly near his side until enough time has elapsed that i can leave without insulting whoever spent their afternoon dusting the ceiling fan and arranging pre-cut vegetables. what can you even talk to strangers about anyway? i like to lock eyes with someone as our fingertips brush against each other while digging through the gas station ice cubes in the beer bucket and say, "the 2mg lorazepam is working so much better for me than the 1mg, what do you take?" but most people don't enjoy discussing their anxiety in mixed company as much as i do? but what the fuck else am i gonna say, politics is a minefield of nazi bombs and no one else is as emotionally invested in jane the virgin as i am so what on earth are kevin and i gonna talk about!? i don't know shit about cars and he isn't up to date on the new ben & jerry's flavors coming out so i'll just be in the coat room trying to coax the cat out from under the bed until everyone else goes home and i can eat what's left of the hummus in private.
how to end a friendship. JUST GHOST. i mean, right? i know that's supposed to be some millennial shit but what the fuck are we old people expected to do, handwrite a goddamn breakup letter!? never answering your phone is a lifesaving social tool, and now that technology has given us the blessed ability to block callers you don't even have to suffer through seeing their text messages for however long it takes to "clear all." block a hoe from your facebooks and tweets then create a gmail filter to dump his messages in your virtual trash and POOF, he never existed. i only need, like, three actual friends anyway and maybe it's cowardly but man, so what? "honor" and "bravery" are medieval terms that should not apply to that woman who won't stop trying to facetime you even though you said "i don't think we're gonna work out" after she sex-cried that one time.
how to look polished. i am lumbering slowly toward the big 4-0 at just the right historical time: "ATHLEISURE" IS THE CURRENT WAY TO PRETEND YOUR DAYTIME PAJAMAS ARE ACTUALLY STYLISH AND EVERYONE IS DOING IT. it's a goddamn miracle, flipping open the latest issue of glamour every month to find top models draped in my old duvet cover and calling it fashion. i've been waiting for a long ass time for the clothing gods to finally catch up with my preferred style of dress and please know that this past saturday when i handed over my secured visa card in exchange for an outdoor robe with a hood and actual pockets a single tear rolled down my cheek just like denzel's. so many soft pants that are made to be worn in public! so much supersoft sweatshirt material fashioned into something you could actually wear to work! i've got so many sporty fucking jackets and i haven't picked up a ball since 1997.
how to let go of anger. don't! hang on to it! let it sit in the pit of your stomach like a cool lake of hatred into which you can take a refreshing dip every time you find yourself smiling at someone's vacation photos or newborn dog! let it keep you warm at night when the absence of joy leaves you cold! TEND TO YOUR LITTLE GARDEN OF HATE UNTIL IT KILLS YOU.
buy this for someone creeping ever closer to middle age.