Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I do the democracy thing twice a year (yes, even primaries) because I believe I ought to and because they keep letting me. I don’t recall why I didn’t post about it last year. Maybe society was to blame? Or maybe the reason was so dumb that I was counting on my aging brain to forget the reason why, just so I couldn’t blame myself for not writing about it I can’t recall, so maybe Past-Me’s plan worked. Politicians prefer long-term memory loss in their constituents anyway, so really this is just my brain getting into the spirit of the occasion.
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.
So. This is 50, then. Time to ramble like an old!
(We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.)
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I launched this wee blog on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, enthusiasm for, offense at, and/or detailed nitpicking of various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollowness, geek lifestyles, food, and Deep Thoughts. MCC has also served as a digital scrapbook for our annual road trips, comic cons, birthday expeditions, and other modest travels. It’s a general repository for any other content that comes to mind and feels worth the time and effort to type up, proofread, and release unto a world-at-large that rarely visits websites anymore unless social media points them there.
Basically it’s me me me me me, plus special appearances and other invaluable contributions from Anne, my wife of 17 years and #1 fan. This unpaid quasi-boutique hobby-job was built on a thin foundation with no claim to fame, virtually no preexisting fandom, no networking skills, no books to sell, no merch with my face on it to hawk, no funding from the Chubb Group, no patience for marketing (and pretty please never ever offer to provide me some for a price, because if you think I’m worth it, then by all means go share my works with your social pals for free, same as you do with anything else you genuinely like), and no educated grasp of “SEO” except to know that it rhymes with Vern Tessio, the Stand by Me kid played by Jerry O’Connell, who grew up to costar in Star Trek: Lower Decks, of which Anne and I have six episodes left to watch as of this writing, and watching those might be a more productive use of my time than registering my thoughts online for whomever to see, but it’s late and she’s asleep, which is the general household ambiance during my prime posting hours, so here I am.
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?
Some folks patronize blogs for the words. Some are just here for the pictures. Words and pictures are often meant to interlink hand-in-hand, but authorial intent is not truly in charge of the reader’s experience. Consumers can exercise their freedom to ignore one half of the storytelling in favor of the other. Comics have sold for years using a similar dichotomy.
Sometimes my connections between words and pictures are tenuous, but they’re no less real or visible to me. In this very entry, for example, food aficionados can appreciate glimpses of one August morning at a lovely little eatery in Zionsville called Rosie’s Place, the last time we hit up a local establishment that wowed us enough to remember to take photos. Previous Zionsville visits have been a treat every time, no matter which of their establishments we’ve visited.
While that photo gallery is in progress around me, readers who don’t mind my characteristic verbosity can see me fumbling for the right words in a moment of grief and rage.
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.
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?
This week the teeming cloud hordes of Old Man Winter barreled across the American skies and bludgeoned entire states and regions into total pandemonium. Blizzards dumped heavy swaths all around as if half the United States were now honorary Minnesotas. Schools and other community activities that had opened their doors to welcome COVID-19 and its carriers reneged and locked their doors. Power grids failed. Water pipes seized up. Numerous utility companies faced wrathful accountability for their shortsightedness, for skimping on precautionary upgrades, and for being smug greed-heads. Homes became inhospitable and even dangerous, forcing families to seek shelter, charity, and survival elsewhere. The turmoil dragged on for hours and days even after the snowfall ceasefire. Millions of internet users distracted themselves by logging onto their devices by candlelight, their batteries down to 15% or less, and channeling their unchecked rage into scathing verbal attacks on the Zodiac Killer. This week was like 2020 all over again, much like all the 2021 weeks that preceded it, but, like, somehow in its own way even 2020-ier.
Me? I got my car stuck at the end of our driveway.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last fall we shared our tips for supporting local restaurants in person during the never-ending pandemic without a churlish kill-or-be-killed approach. We still don’t dine out too often because COVID-19, but when we do, that listicle’s ten bullet points remain firmly at the forefront of my planning anxieties.
That entry was written during another Devour Indy occasion, a twice-yearly citywide event here in Indianapolis when local restaurateurs — nationwide chains need not apply — offer specially priced prix fixe menus to entice new customers to come sample a few of their wares. My wife Anne and I are fans of the event, but we usually skip the sale items and check out what’s on the main menu. It lets us try places we’ve never been, and it helps them recoup the considerable costs of participation. A few weeks ago, it was that time again.