We're Halfway There!
By Don Mueller
Mensa is the ultimate baby boomer. And boom, it happened in October 1996. Mensa turned 50. So did I. The very same month! You've been reading all of the articles in the newspapers and magazines about the baby boomers officially turning 50 in 1996. Some months back, the Matrix printed statistics on our Denver membership. One guess as to which year most of the members of our fine group were born on. Yep, 1946! Welcome to the Mensans-turning-50-this-year Special Interest Group! Dolly Parton, Gene Siskel, Gregory Hines, Sandy Duncan, Liza Minelli, Rhea Perlman, Hayley Mills, Candace Bergen, Reggie Jackson, Cher, Priscilla Presley, Barry Manalow, Sylvester Stallone, Linda Ronstadt, Loni Anderson, President Clinton, Connie Chung, Susan Sarandon, Ben Vereen, Suzanne Somers, Pat Sajak, Sally Field, and Patty Duke all managed to blow out 50 candles in 1996.
Now we get to me. On October the 12th, I turned fif....fu....ferf.....I'm sorry, I seem to have a speech impediment here..... October the 12th was on a Saturday that year, and I had a very nice party to celebrate this transition into oblivian! I've heard that I'm supposed to go through some sort of middle-age "crisis" or something, right? Knowing myself as I do, who's always been about 10 years late in my social maturity, I'll probably be 60 when suddenly I'll wake up, buy a convertable sports car, wear a gold chain necklace with my shirt open, and attempt to pick up broads on East Colfax. But it hasn't hit me yet. I continue to live in a fantasy land that I've just barely reached adulthood. There are, however, certain disturbing things that happen when you turn fif....farf....fe....I gotta get these teeth fixed.....when you turn my age. For one thing, you'll notice old people our age. Fortunately, there's also some young people our age, and all will be better with the world again! Also, I'm always in a deep state of concentration on how to get my social life going with some young babe, then I meet someone my age talking about their grandchildren.....fer cryin' out loud, I don't want to hear disgusting talk like that! You guys will know when you've reached 50 when Ethel Mertz starts lookin' good. Bill Cosby once said, 50 is an age that your FATHER is supposed to be! So now what....I've got to figure out what to say when a beautiful single lady asks how hold I am without lying about it. "I'm on the shady side of 40" ain't gonna do it anymore. I'll just tell her, "When Elvis was my age, he had been dead for 8 years". I'll just hope she's bad at math....
There is one great thing that I can think of about turning fee.....fi.....fo.....burp...darn, I gotta stop with these late night pizzas...... One thing that I'll never have to worry about at this wondrous stage of life is getting drafted. Let me explain where I'm coming from on this. When I was in college 30 pounds ago, excuse me, 30 YEARS ago, the Vietnam war was raging on and on. Friends of mine were being drafted and returning in body bags. My college experience was tainted by constant worry that my life after college would be very short. I took an extra year of college in my quest to be a "professional student", just to be deferred for another year, and hope that the war would be over with. Fat chance, It took another 5 years for it to go away. Fortunately, a physical after graduation revealed that I had a scolioses of the spine, which was not disabling to me, but just enough to grant me a 4-F, or "unfit for service" status. Now I could actually start a real life and plan ahead. I formed a philosophy in college that if I ever got through this, nothing else that life would present to me could ever be as bad as getting your head blown off on the other side of the world. And it's been true. Whether I've had money problems, social problems, job problems, I just remind myself that at least I'll never be drafted into the service, and my "problem" is no longer a problem, just a temporary annoyance! You younger people have no idea how great the term "our country is in peacetime" is until you've lived in an era that some of us "older" people have.
One more thing before I leave. Here's a connected story with a moral to it. About ten years ago, I was full-time employed working as an audio production assistant for a man who has a nationwide radio talk show. I was under a lot of pressure to get things ready by airtime when the boss went live with his broadcast everyday in the afternoon. I take my job seriously, and this one day I had a lot to do. I figured that with my stack of orders, I could probably get things ready by airtime if I wasn't interrupted. Well, you guessed it. Interruption city. One employee gave me another assignment, and I told him I didn't have time to do it. After a few strong words, he said that I had to do it anyway, and he wouldn't have given me that assignment if he thought I couldn't do it. So, I'm sitting there fuming & trying furiously to get things done. Then, we were having some difficulties concerning the show, and my assistant, Lorri, told me that we were going to have a meeting in the conference room to get it straightened out. I told her flatly that I didn't have time for the meeting, and tried to beg out of it, but Lorri inferred that my job security might be in for a sudden change if I wasn't cooperative. So, at exactly 11am, I torn on down to the conference room. It was locked. On my way back, I saw Lorri, and said in rather high decibels, "I came here on time, and there was nobody there!! WHEN IS THIS MEETING??" "In a few minutes." "WELL, HOW MANY MINUTES?? GIVE ME AN EXACT TIME!! I'M BUSY!!" "Ten minutes."
I stomped back to my room, trying to get re-arranged. Then, at exactly ten minutes, I went to the conference room. Everyone was seated around the long table with somber expressions, and only one chair near the head of the table was empty. Obviously, that was the chair that I would have to take. As I pulled out the chair, there was something on it. The Manager said, "that's ok, just put it on the table." It was a cake. A birthday cake. A birthday cake for me. You see, that day was my 40th birthday. The staff didn't gather there for a meeting. It was a surprise birthday party for me. Yep, an outpouring of love for a guy who spent most of that day being a @#%&$# to his fellow workers. Remember Ralph Cramden going "Hummahummahumma" to his wife Alice after he found out what a jerk he was? That's about as close as I can explain my lack of words when I was surprised. To all of you who turn the half century mark this year, Happy Birthday! And, please, please, if you haven't had your birthday yet this year, be a really nice person to everybody on that special day!!!
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