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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Birthday Reflections

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Thursday March 14th, 2013 – Niles, IL/Stevens Point, WI

   Well, it’s another birthday and I’m officially too old to die young. I won’t be able to squeak by from promising upstart to legend status like a James Dean or Marilyn Monroe. I’m going to have to be a late bloomer like a Rodney Dangerfield or Colonel Sanders. I just hope I live to see some kind of payoff. Being a legend after I’m dead like a Vincent Van Gogh or Edgar Allan Poe rots.

   Too bad for me, I’m running out of time and choices. The calendar pages keep flipping and I’m noticing that birthdays are getting closer together and less desired. I was always an old soul, even as a kid. I don’t ever remember my grandparents talking to me as anything other than a grown up as they raised me, and the bulk of my friends have always been and continue to be older than me.

   Eventually, they’re going to start dying off and actually several already have. I also have some younger friends, but now I’m playing the role of old fart whether I like it or not. My grandfather always told me I’d be able to know when I was getting older when cops started looking younger and hot young chicks would talk to me and flirt openly because I was no longer a serious threat.  

   I can already feel the pages turning, especially professionally. A lot of comedy clubs are trying to attract younger customers and booking younger acts is a part of that. Just being funny isn’t the answer, and a lot of my peers that have spent their lives paying dues are feeling it too. It’s brutal.

   Life seems to be a young man’s game more than ever before and that’s just how it is. I guess it always has been to a certain degree, but I never had to worry about it before. Now it’s hitting me where I live, and all of the stupid mistakes I made in youth are about to start haunting me. Oh oh.

   Having that fail safe ‘plan B’ to ‘fall back on’ I didn’t think I’d need sure would come in handy right about now. It wouldn’t have hurt me to have developed a diligent saving habit either. I only had thirty years to come up with one, but of course I didn’t because “I would always have time”.

   A lot of people I’ve talked to that are older than me have said it’s scary how everything sneaks up so quickly, but when it’s on one’s back porch it’s there to stay. Youth is a scarce commodity and when it’s gone it’s GONE. Hopefully there’s enough wisdom left over for the rest of the trip.

   I think I have acquired a fair amount of smarts, and now it’s up to me to transfer life fuels from the exuberance and boldness of youth to the wily ways of experience. I’ve always been far more comfortable in this mode, and I think I have a more than good chance to win if I do it correctly.

   Today I just enjoyed the company of good friends and whatever family I have. Marc Schultz is several years older than me, but we’ve become very good friends. He threw a lunch party in my honor and some local performers came and we had a great time. Everyone there was my senior.

   Then I drove to Stevens Point, WI to have a dinner in my honor with my cousin Leah and her husband Rob and their daughter Janine. My cousin Brett was there too, and I was the oldest one at that table and they all let me know it more than once. This was a birthday of deep reflection.

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