Monday, April 20, 2009, posted by Q6 at 11:32 AM
I honestly don't remember a lot about what I was like as a late teenager. I should, I guess, but I don't--and it's not because those years were bad, it's just that a lot has happened since then and the details are now hazy at best. But if you had to endure anything like what I'm enduring now, this should make some sort of sense.

I'm not sure what your sense of my responsibility level was at the time, but I imagine it couldn't been all that high. What I'm quickly starting to realize is that, at any age, the demonstration of maturity goes a lot further than the proclamation of maturity. I expect that there were many times where I merely made the assertion that I was mature enough to handle something; even worse, there were probably times that I merely assumed my maturity made me responsible, and I assumed that you agreed. It never occurred to me that you might want--or feel better with--proof.

I also know that the true test of my maturity and responsibility usually involved me falling flat on my face, no matter how much you didn't want to see that happen. I'm sure the last thing in the world you wanted to see was me, spreading my wings to take flight for the first time, falling like a brick to the pavement below. I don't want to see that either, but that's one of the risks of parenthood I'm discovering. I should have provided you with (at least a little) more confidence in my ability to fly; I shouldn't have just assumed you trusted me.

I guess what I'm saying is this: being on the other side of this equation, I understand a lot more what your side was like. It wasn't easy, and although there was no eartly way for me to know it at the time, I wish I HAD known. But things turned out alright in the end.

Which is something I can aspire to, I suppose.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009, posted by Q6 at 12:55 PM
Thankfully, many people have stopped making turning forty sound like some really big deal. It'll happen to me next month, and I'm really quite comfortable with it. It is a milestone, however, and I've been thinking about how to mark it.

Now, I suppose I really don't have to do anything. The proverbial "mid-life crisis" is now somewhat passe, and you don't see a whole lot of the behavior as you did in years past (or,maybe you do and I'm just too old to notice it anymore). It seems to me, however, that turning forty used to drive people (men) to do things to regain their youth; whereas these days, I think we've come to the conclusion that forty really still is pretty young, so no youth needs to be grasped at. Still, I'm thinking I should do something.*

I thought about getting a second tattoo. I've had it in mind for a while (in fact, I've been putting it off for a couple of years now, though I couldn't tell you why). It's not something that marks my fortieth birthday, it's more of a nod to my children . . . and maybe it's still not the right time to give them that particular nod (that's a matter for another blog post).

I've shaved off my moustache and beard for Spring Break, but I don't think I can go with that. First, it was the only hair I had on my head and without it I look pretty naked--almost mannequin-like. Second, after I did it my wife said I looked 12; looking younger isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not the goal here. Third, it's taking ME the longest to get used to it, and I'm not liking that very much.

At one point I considered getting my nipple pierced. Strange as it sounds, though, I just don't think I've got the nipples for it. I researched it at one point and found that it might not actually work on me. (Besides, the idea of a nipple ring is just as good; at work, in some regular conversation, try to off-handedly throw in a "yeah, but it interferes with my nipple ring" and then move on. It's fun.)

I've spoken a couple of times about getting my ear pierced again.** I'm thinking of just a small silver hoop that unobtrusively cradles the earlobe. It wouldn't be anything gaudy, but it would unintentionally complete a pirate resemblance (bald head, goatee, and an earring). I've been asked several questions on this topic: "What reasons are there for doing it?" "Why do you feel you need that?" "Have you considered what they'll think at work, or how it might be percieved professionally?" And, of course, the other side spoke up as well: "Can you think of a reason not to get your ear pierced?" So I'm not sure about this, either. I don't have compelling reasons for or against it, really, so maybe that's not the move, either.

So aside from the normal trappings of a birthday (cards, well wishes, "Yes, you still have to go to work today"), this one may pass just as quietly as others have.

* There won't be any huge party for my fortieth, that much I know. Being the Douglas Adams fan that I am, I'm waiting for my forty-second birthday to throw that particular bash.

** Does the first time even count? It was the summer after my junior year in high school, and I think I kept the little gold stud in there for only 12 or 14 hours. It just wasn't "me." It may still not be me; I don't know.