Doorway Into Adulting

Garage Door!

The latest addition to our family.

Y’know how sometimes you can buy a giant gift for a kid, but they’ll have more fun with the box it came in? And they aren’t terribly thrilled when you order them to be excited about the right thing? As you get older, you’ll find your own forms of excitement that sound silly to those who just don’t get it, while those who ride your same wavelength will make with the high-fives.

So, our latest accomplishment here on the lower rungs of the middle-class ladder: we bought a door.

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50 Years in the Making

Easter 2022!

If I could ever have a photo taken by someone taller than me, you could see my hair is still largely brown, unlike my annoying early-stage Santa beard.

So. This is 50, then. Time to ramble like an old!

(We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.)

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Merry Christmas from MCC!

Buddy the Elf Buddies!

A coworker and I showed up at the office at the same time in near-matching ugly sweaters. So now we’re Buddy buddies!

Hey, kids! It’s that beloved holiday tradition where we just post a couple of recent Christmas-themed photos with some short yet sincere seasons’ greetings, and we give readers a break from my usual self-indulgent verbosity. It’s the most wonderful time of the MCC year!

Christmas in Metropolis!

Looking for places to celebrate Christmas spirit while distancing from others amidst a pandemic? Try an outdoor mall at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night when it’s below freezing!

Merry Christmas to you ‘n’ yours from us here at Midlife Crisis Crossover, High-Spirited Holidays, Vivacious Vacation, Divine December, and/or congratulations on reaching the light at the end of the 2021 tunnel despite the obstacles and heartbreaks. May your day be merrier and brighter, your celebrations invigorating, your downtime rewarding, and your internet circles calm and peaceful and filled with joyous content besides premature Best of 2021 listicles.

Introducing Our New Kindness+ Subscription Service

Kindness+!

Act now! Operators are standing by! But don’t expect them to actually pick up the phone. Leave a message or whatever.

The other day a friend of mine rhapsodized to acquaintances and followers about Christmas wishes and gave a gifting suggestion that might prove useful to some in this particularly tough holiday season: “Be kind to one another. We could all use more kindness, and best of all, it’s free!”

And I thought to myself: like, just give it away? In this economy?

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Not Put Asunder, 17 Years and Counting

Mitchell Corn Palace!

JAZZ-HANDS PHOTOS WILL RETURN IN 2021.

It’s that time again! Another year of shockingly blissful marriage to the amazing Anne. This year I can even tell people we survived a pandemic together.

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When Words Failed the Spelling Bee Contender

Charlie Brown in the spelling bee!

That time in February 1966 when Charlie Brown thought he’d win friends and respect through good spelling. Today’s internet would eat him alive.

A lot of other middle-aged guys have cherished memories of the good ol’ days when they were on sports teams and won games and fame and attention, followed decades later by the deep frustration with how their athletic-hero phase was temporary, the pinnacle of those wonder years left far behind.

Me? For a few proud minutes, I had spelling bees. Recent headlines, in particular the exciting news that the National Spelling Bee at long last had its first Black American winner this week, dredged up a few of my own recollections and regrets.

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49 Birthday Candles Traded for One Onion Volcano

Hibachi-style onion volcano.

Burn, onions, BURN! Entertain me with your flames before you’re all hacked apart, divided among our plates, then mostly dumped back onto mine because my wife and son hate onions!

For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. One-day road trips and events, such as 2019’s tour of the Art Institute of Chicago, give me the gift of new experiences and distract me from the physical decay at hand.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). We spent the entire weekend amusing ourselves at home so, Lord willing, I might survive to see the next birthday. In that sense TakeOutCon 2020 achieved its stated goals but will not become one of our household traditions. If the pandemic somehow spawns a sequel and a TakeOutCon encore becomes necessary in some future year, I will blame you, humanity.

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Tiptoeing Back into the House of the Lord

Purple lights at worship service.

Our view of a perfectly wasted opportunity for someone to improv a Christian pop song called “Purple Reign”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: pandemic pandemic bo-bandemic, banana-rama-fo-fandemic, fee fi mo mandemic: pandemic! It’s sucked beyond all calculable orders of magnitude, has put people we know in the hospital or the grave, and currently rated a negative-ten-million percent on the Tomatometer.

Then amid Worst Year Ever, a ray of hope: the vaccines arrived. Then amid our ray of hope, penetrating lasers of inky darkness: a media and populace that simultaneously embrace vaccines and distrust them at the same time. And I’m not talking about the deniers shrieking at us from their log-cabin schoolhouses with tinfoil roofs, boasting how they’re more interested in preserving their reckless impunity than achieving herd immunity. No, I’m talking about the ostensible “good guys”:

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Emerging From Tombs

My wife after getting her second Pfizer vaccine.

Anne proudly remembering to grab herself a validation sticker after failing to on the first go-around.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: pandemic. Pandemic! PANDEMIC! How much longer, we all wonder? When will we as a planet — or at least as a country, or really just statewide would be nice — reach that quixotic goal of “herd immunity”? When can we go back to wandering within 2-3 feet of each other and resume absentmindedly taking everyday life for granted again? For us, Easter weekend represented another stepping stone toward that goal.

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Should We Have Taken a “One Year Later” Time Jump to Today?

covers from DC Comics "One Year Later", 2006!

I had four of these six issues. In hindsight I wish I’d gone out of my way for the covers by Adam Hughes and Jock. Alas, that time has passed.

Once upon a time in 2006, The Powers That Be at DC Comics continued their tradition of biannual publishing stunts with “One Year Later”, in which all ongoing series leapt forward in time twelve full months, dropped their heroes into weird new scenarios with no initial explanations, then kept the stories moving forward from there while occasionally braking for flashbacks to all the important events that messed up the status quo during the year they skipped. As superheroic special events go, it was kindasorta fun for about ten minutes till the next publishing stunt came along.

Meanwhile this past weekend, my social media feeds have been filled with friends, family, strangers and other users reminiscing of the Before Times way back when — whether wistfully or ruefully — all recalling “one year ago today” and “this time last year” and other non-milestones before the world was upended by horrid little microorganisms that exploited our weaknesses, and not just the physiological ones.

If you had the option to skip the past twelve months in real life so you wouldn’t have to have lived it one minute at a time, one failure at a time, one agony at a time, one calamity at a time…how confused would you be if your timeline ended “this time last year” and then you returned to your story today, and your supporting cast had to catch you up on everything you missed?

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