Let me get this out of the way first: I really wonder how many people who went to see John Hodgman at the Regulator on Friday night have already blogged about it, or will do so within the next 24 hours. Not counting me, there were five other bloggers there who I know personally, and there were many, many people with digital cameras. I would guess that all told, there were at least a dozen bloggers in attendance, probably more. Xta will, it is to be hoped, have much to say about her interaction with the author, which I'm not going to spoil for you here. Myself, I think my time with him left both of us feeling kind of hollow. He was never less than gracious, but I guess I was hoping that he would be so taken with my wit that he would instantly adopt me as his sidekick or something, and instead of that happening I'm pretty sure what happened is that I came off as one of probably a hundred over-anxious guys that the Renowned Humorist has come across so far on this book tour, all trying just a little too hard to be funny.
But, yeah: it was a fantastic event, and I am very happy that I was there.
So. Anyway. In a few days, I'll be thirty-eight years old, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I mean, turning thirty-eight is better than not turning thirty-eight, I guess, and it's not like being thirty-eight will be that much different than being thirty-seven (although I will miss the mathematic elegance of having my age be a prime number, which will not happen again until I'm forty-one).
I think it just bugs me that, in these thirty-eight years, I haven't really done much with my life. I'm already older, for instance, than both my parents were when they had already had me and my older siblings. (Also older than both said siblings were when they had found spouses and produced the first wave of nieces and nephews.) Not that I particularly hold producing an offspring as a goal, but still -- I don't feel like as much of a grown-up as, statistically, one would think I would be.
So that I may depress myself further, here is a partial list of people who died when they were younger than I will be:
Buddy Holly (dead at 22)
Otis Redding (dead at 26)
Janis Joplin (dead at 27)
Hank Williams (dead at 29)
Christopher Marlowe (dead at 29)
Percy Bysshe Shelley (dead at 29)
Franz Schubert (dead at 31)
Robert Burns (dead at 37)
Jesus H. Christ (scholars differ on when he died, but probably before he was 38)
Also: the oldest of the Beatles was 29 when they broke up; they were all between 23 and 26 when they made their best album. When John Cleese was 36, he had a Monty Python TV series and movie behind him, and was working on the first season of "Fawlty Towers." And Orson Welles was 25 when he made Citizen Kane.
Okay. Does it make sense for me to be comparing myself to, say, Jesus Christ and Otis Redding, in terms of accomplishment? No, it clearly does not. Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes, I clearly am. Have I been weird about this birthday to some people, in various discrete contexts? Yes, I clearly have, and to those people (you know who you are) I apologize.
Frankly, I've been a little depressed lately, maybe a little more so than usual. I guess I just thought my life would be somehow better than it is now by this time.
But don't we all? Welcome to the human race, Sunny Jim.
So, when my actual thirty-eighth birthday comes to pass, I will undoubtedly tell myself that this will be the year that I get my shit together, that I pull myself up by my bootstraps and make my mark and get things done and fuckin' achieve something for once. Which is probably also what I'll tell myself when my thirty-ninth and fortieth birthdays roll around, because that's what I tell myself every year.
Meanwhile, life will go on, and I'll continue to not be Otis Redding or Jesus Christ, and that will continue to be just fine, really. I guess.
Anyway. Sorry you had to read all that. Maybe as I begin my thirty-ninth year, I can resolve to not be so whiny and self-indulgent on the Internet. But then, if everybody ceased to be whiny and self-indulgent, 85 percent of the Internet (not to mention 110 percent of MySpace) would cease to exist. I'm just doing my part.