Last night we celebrated a good friend’s 50th birthday, in the Blue Oak Room at Bridge Bay Resort. We packed the place. Live music by the Hill Street Band, open bar, dancing, and endless echoes of laughter. I’ve had a few friends hit that magic number recently and a few more still to come. Including me. In 313 days I’ll be 50 years old.

It doesn’t feel right to write it out. It seemed like such a big number not that long ago. But it doesn’t feel like it now. Sure, there are more aches and pains. Sure, there’s less hair where we want it. Absolutely, I can see laugh lines and age marks. But it’s more than just a number, it’s a badge. Five decades and counting, that’s the way I see it. Leveling up. As long as we continue to learn, to grow, to become better human beings than we were before, then advancing a year is a triumph. 50 is a milestone.

So cheers to my wonderful friend, truly one of the most amazing ladies I know, and cheers to the rest of you who have reached milestones recently or have some yet to come. You get a new badge. You’ve reached a new level. You’ve advanced.

Who wants to be stuck in yesterday?

While I was at the party last night the Rams played their 2nd preseason game. They went to Oakland and played the Raiders at their (now temporary) home turf. I was the guy at the corner table checking my phone for scoring updates, during the preseason, at a big party. Yeah, that guy.

The last two years football hasn’t meant as much to me as in years past. Partly because of national distractions (the country is run by an idiot), partly for other political reasons (still standing behind a man’s right to kneel), and partly because I have so much more to do (I started a blog). But when they line up on the field, and the strategists on both sides begin to enact their game plans, and the players start to block, to pass, to catch, to run, to score … my blood just gets a-pumpin’. I love the game.

So, when I say it hasn’t been as interesting to me the last couple of years, I only mean that I don’t spend hours every day studying every stat and every player from every team, every time, like I did before. The game itself is still a thrill, even if sometimes I’ve got better things to do.

But I was still that guy, in the corner, with the light of the phone shining in his face, checking the box score updates. That guy. At least until I saw the word “Final” at the bottom of the screen. Then I was that dancing guy at a party, air-guitaring “Eruption” and “Pourin’ Some Sugar On,” … well, you get the point.

Tomorrow is the big eclipse. The NASA website says “Total Eclipse August 21, 2017” in the upper left corner. That’s it. Shouldn’t eclipses get names? We name comets and hurricanes and they are remembered forever for their designations. We should call this one “Bruce.”

Maybe I’d be more interested in the thing if it had a name. Maybe I’d be all like “did you get your glasses for Bruce on Monday?!” or “Seeing Bruce is a once in a lifetime event!” But probably not. Probably, I’d still think of it as one celestial body (the moon) passing nowhere near another celestial body (the sun), very briefly, and the event being meaningless to anyone not standing on Earth. I guess cool is always a matter of perspective.

In the old days, when the moon would block out the sun and everyone thought the gods were going to war, or something, that was cool. Or when Bruce Gordon became Eclipso and went toe-to-toe with the Batman, or other DC Comics heroes, those were impressive events. This one? Just a momentary blackout in the middle of a Monday afternoon.

Which, when you think about it, is kinda cool, after all.

Have a great Sunday, my friends. See you at Church!

4 thoughts on “Birthdays, Ballers, and Blackouts

  • What if we not only called it Bruce, but scheduled a full roster of NFL matchups and threw corresponding beer-soaked Monday Morning Football parties to coincide with the 3 hour “event” of daytime darkness? Hmm. I guess that would be more like Senior Cut Day than the celebration of an astronomical phenomenon. I still think it should be given some consideration.

    • Lmao! That’s a damn brilliant suggestion, in my mind. Then Bruce would truly be an event for the ages. I bet I could talk my boss into allowing this event in the parking lot at work, particularly if the Raiders are playing (and why wouldn’t they; their most famous fans are named after another astronomical event?). He’d even buy the beer.

      Remind me why we’re not the president and vice-chief again, curmudgeon?

      • The only reason I can think of that we don’t hold those positions is procrastination, Tom. I’ll start getting our campaign materials ready. Assuming that drunk people are more open to suggestion, we’ll have to go beyond buttons and posters and robo-calls and make sure that at every stop on the trail, we come prepared with lots and lots of beer.

        • Luckily, I have some experience in that very department, plus a couple of compadres that would serve well in the capacity of “campaign manager” for such a venture. This could be the beginning of great things. Paul. 😉

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