If you're not angry, then you're not caring hard enough.
It all started when I was born. Instead of being content with my newness, my body insisted upon obtaining life experience. Bones started growing. My big brain developed. My awesome cells multiplied. Once you start, there’s no stopping the engine. You just have to sit there and wait for the caboose.
Lately, I’ve begun startling Mrs. Angry with surprising revelations: I want a motorcycle. Or I’d like to buy one of those cool new Cameros and paint it a matted, bullet gray. I want to get into a bar fight (but I don’t want to get punched in the face). I want to fly (Balloon? Dirigible? Hang glider?) to Monte Carlo and play “games of skill” in a real casino – not Tunica where I shuffle from one $10 blackjack table to the next, frugally trying to make my $80 last the night.
“You’re having a mid-life crisis,” gasped Mrs. Angry.
What? No way. Don’t you have those in your 40’s? I’ve got five more good years in me. I don’t want to be that white-haired guy in the red Corvette, or the beer-gut hero who has to be pried out of his leather motorcycle pants. I don’t want to hit on Hooter waitresses or become a tri-athlete or join a rugby team or order boxes of ExtenZe™ online.
I just, you know, want a Camero.
“Where would you put the kids?” asked Mrs. Angry skeptically. Good question. I drive a 2001 Honda Accord now. Four doors. Four cylinders. Silver. It’s easily mistaken for a million other four-door silver Honda Accords. Mine is the one with the child seat in the back.
Where it lacks in room, it makes up for in vroom.
A couple months ago, my equally-as-old brother paid me a visit. He’s single. He owns a condo in downtown Memphis. He can handle a pool stick. When he’s bored, he joins a barbecue team or flies to Chicago with his buds to watch a soccer game. He is Bizzaro Angry Czeck.
“Let’s tear down the town!” he suggests, and I’m game because Mrs. Angry and the kids are out of town. I am ready to make a long-awaited appearance on the police report.
First, I take him to Buffalo Grill, a hamburger and beer joint. Not a bad selection. Except it’s five o’clock in the afternoon, and the only people eating at five of-the-clock are the elderly and exhausted parents with their kids. My brother and I look like wild-and-crazy guys that accidentally crashed the wrong party.
“Not much action here,” unnecessarily observed my brother. Luckily, the entire evening was stretched out in front of us like a $40 call girl! We were going to make the night our bitch!
Like the Duke Boys, we hopped into my Honda Accord and we headed to The West End, a dive that pretends to be a pub, but it’s really just a sports bar with leather sofas and chairs. The Cardinal game is on, so we figure we’ll knock down a few beers, take in a few innings, and maybe pass some oily winks to the waitresses. Why not? The Night Belonged To Us!
This. Will. Not. Be. Me.
It’s still kind of early though, and The West End is full of forty and fifty year old men puffing on cigarillos, playing table shuffleboard, and calling each other nicknames like “Hawkeye” and “Hunter” and “Duke.” They wear shirts that seemed to have been designed with a paint gun, and when the waitress comes by with drinks, they call her “Honey.”
“Egad!” groans my brother. I direct him to a couple of those leather chairs I mentioned earlier, and we wait for a waitress to take our drink order. When she arrives, my brother orders a beer.
“Do you have a Cabernet?” I ask. My brother acts like he
was gut-punched by an invisible iron fist.
“You want ‘a Cabernet!’” repeats my brother. I don’t like the way he says “a Cabernet.”
“Listen,” I tell him, “I had a beer at the Buffalo Grill and now my stomach feels full.”
He just looks at me.
I’m beginning to appreciate Rod Stewart. Jesus, no!
His beer and my Cabernet arrive, and the wine tastes like something squeezed out of some guy’s armpit hair. I don’t want to admit the inferiority of my choice, so when I finish the glass I order a second. Meanwhile, Hunter and Hawkeye and Duke are getting louder and louder, overly-cheering the shuffleboard game. They spend a great deal of time re-adjusting their pants.
“What dorks!” I say.
“That’s our future,” jokes my brother, and we laugh like villains. I take another sip of wine. The baseball game isn’t coming on for another half an hour.
“Let’s get a six pack and watch the game at home,” I suggest, and my brother sighs. I don’t really understand why he sighed until we step outside, into the fading remains of sunlight.
We didn’t even make it to nightfall! We slumped into the Honda Accord and chugged home, stopping first to fetch some Miller Lite because Miller Lite isn’t too heavy a beer. Later that evening, at one point, I said, “Wow! It’s almost ten o’clock!”
So I want a Camero.
Or a motorcycle. And I’d like to go skydiving just once. And dye my hair blue. Not bright Anime blue, but real dark blue. And I want to own my own tuxedo and learn to play craps. And if that’s having a mid-life crisis, then baby, I’m having a mid-life crisis.
I hope it comes with a Camero.