turn the "big 5-0" this year, which means I'm at imminent risk of
slipping into a midlife crisis. Some of my friends and fellow AARP
invitees are already deep in the throes of "manopause" and have become
objects of pity and ridicule-and not just from their wives. I plan
to avoid that sad fate, which all too often goes viral on social media,
and be prepared when my crisis hits-or bursts from my chest cavity,
grows into a hideous alien creature with hair implants, and tries
to destroy my dignity and bank account.
My main strategy for defending myself against doing anything that
I can't afford, or for which there is no effective ointment, is to
recognize and reject the traps that ensnare many men approaching their
First, I am resolved to avoid purchasing any motorized products (or
related accessories) from the Harley-Davidson Corporation. These include
additions to my wardrobe like stars-and-stripes bandanas, embroidered
vests, or-heaven forbid-leather chaps. Now, I realize that Harley-Davidson
is a fine American company deserving of support, but that support
should come from men who look more like the dudes from ZZ Top, and
less like escapees from a junior high school faculty meeting. Besides,
I never really mastered riding my ten-speed Schwinn, so I'm thinking
my Softail® Fat Boy® ship has sailed.
Next, I am determined to refrain from acquiring any permanent or semi-permanent
body art. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against folks with tattoos,
piercings, brandings, plugs, drains, downspouts, or BeDazzlings. At
my age, though, I have to assume that any decorative addition to my
epidermis will soon begin a precipitous descent to an unintended area
of my body. As the years go by, I'd rather not be tripping over my
nipple barbells or trying to explain why I have tattoos of my daughters'
faces between my toes.
So far, I've been able to resist selling my spare organs so I can
afford to invest in a regimen of anti-aging and male-enhancement products.
I admit that I had hoped I would age naturally into a well-seasoned
state of rugged handsomeness. Instead, as each day goes by, it becomes
more clear that no amount of testosterone supplements, face polish,
or belly bras are going to keep me from eventually being mistaken
for a pile of unfolded laundry. And as for male enhancement, if I
want to enhance my maleness, I'll go hang out in a Bass Pro Shops
store somewhere and pretend I'm interested in something other than
the giant aquarium and the selection of colon-combusting hot sauces
in the gift shop.
Finally, I refuse to fall victim to the allure of a young, nubile
female-person looking for a sugar daddy. Not only would this violate
my moral code, but I'm pretty sure my wife wouldn't allow it. And
as a father of three teenage daughters, all of my sugar has long since
been consumed by orthodontist bills, car insurance premiums, and unlimited
wireless data plans. In other words, this daddy is now sugar-free
and binging on the artificial sweetener of credit card debt.
Some say that the whole idea of a midlife crisis is just a myth perpetuated
by our self-obsessed society-and the Russians. At any rate, if it
comes after me and I can't outrun it, I can always break out my ten-speed