The title of this post is a phrase very familiar to the men-folk of our family. It was coined by George, a barber, in Anchorage, Alaska in (I'm guessing) about 1973.
Dick was my regular barber (I was by then 12, or so) and the proprieter of the establishment, and George - a wizened old native Alaskan, - played second chair. He was what they sometimes call "wirey", about five-feet-two, at least eighty years old and more often than not sported a wide grin. I remember him as being remarkably quick and energetic for a man of any age.
This particular day, my Dad led his gaggle of boys (3) into Dick's Barber Shop and ordered the usual - buzz cuts all around. He greeted Dick, then George "Hey, George! How're you doing, today?", to which George famously replied, "Oh, great... I feel young! I feel fifty!"
Today, I am fifty, and I am pleased and privileged henceforth to adopt George's enthusiastic mantra as my own. Turning fifty does seem almost comically and absurdly unreal for someone of my generation; the tail-end Baby Boomers. By the time I hit my teens (late in 1973), the Cult of Youth was rocketing toward its preposterous zenith, and the day when the only forseeable use for a middle aged white dude was as the butt of jokes. Stand up, blue collar guys like my Dad were set up as buffoons, a bunch of clueless Archie Bunkers.
So, it was with some great humor that I first observed in the wobbling hand held mirror an undeniable bald spot. It concerned me not at all, but struck me as unaccountably hilarious (we men do have it easier in the looks department. I mean, we're mostly sort of dull and frousy, anyway... what's a little hair loss?). It seemed a kind of cosmic joke. I don't know why, exactly. Maybe it has to do with the strange thrill I get driving by a graveyard... as if a chorus of murmured voices calls out, "Hey... we're waiting! Did you get the invitation? Okay, then. Bye! We'll see you soon." (and at this there are some laughs in the background).
Okay, then. I'm going to be optimistic and consider this the halfway marker. The fifty yard line. Even given that favorable forecast, I'll have to be busy if I'm to get even half the paintings done that I have in my head.
Thanks for all the good Facebook wishes!