I just recently survived the point at which I’d been alive for 33 years, according to what my parents told me.
This is a weird year because at 1pm on this Monday, I was supposedly exactly 33 years from the 1pm on a Monday when I started this series of events called life. I’ve come a long way, I think, since I didn’t spend this most recent repetition crying or covered in birth debris. Except… I was naked for part of the day, and I did experience some random kicking motions. That was probably just coincidence.
It seems like an occasion for me to look upon my life and my accomplishments. I’m a bit disappointed that I’m only 0.049554955(repeating) of the way to 666. I feel more evil than that, but perhaps this is hubris.
I’ve survived numerous events of note peripherally and a few minor events personally. I lived through the decade that VH1 loves so much that they’ve made three series of shows devoted to it. I remember a great deal of the eighties and nothing at all of the seventies.
I’m a bit suspicious of that, actually. I remember there’s a photo that my father showed me of some blood being wiped from my four-year-old head after I had fallen off a stone step. I do not recall that fall. And I look nothing like this child in the photo. Have I been gas-lighted about the first half-decade of my life? Am I, in fact, a government project gone horribly, horribly awry? Am I… Social Security?
I am in the peculiar position where I am estranged from my family and I think they might have my birth certificate. I certainly don’t have it. Thus I have no significant means of proving my existence, as the passport office will no longer take one’s word that one really is who he claims to be. My standing before them is not convincing. Honestly, I can’t even remember ever seeing my birth certificate, nor the names listed as my parents. So, really, my standing around doesn’t even convince me of me.
In fact, the oldest proof of my participation in my own existence that I possess is an autograph book from my pre-teens in Korea. I went through this phase where I went around to various kids I knew and asked them to sign my book so that I wouldn’t forget about them. Sure, there were yearbooks available, but that just seemed too pedestrian for my tastes. Instead, I grabbed a small green lab notebook from my father’s desk that he didn’t care to keep and used that to capture bits of peoples’ souls. That seems to extend back to when I was about twelve years old.
Prior to that, there’s a literary magazine from my elementary school that published a poem I wrote and one or two of my drawings from 2nd grade. If I work backwards from what I do remember, I think that was from when I was seven or eight years old.
Before that, all I have is hearsay. I’ve actually encountered some old friends on the internet (Laura Jugan and Michael Jugan) whom I may have known before that age. And my parents claimed to have known me all my life. But that just seems to be something that parents do.
Indeed, my skepticism doesn’t begin with Christianity and doesn’t end at Socialism — no, I’m even doubtful of my own beginnings. Sure, my buddy William of Ockham might try to convince me that I was born 33 years ago, but he doesn’t really know. He wasn’t there. At least his presence wasn’t documented.
I wonder if I’m really the Paul Roth who worked on the original Star Wars, Episode IV, when I was allegedly only two years old. At least THAT Paul Roth will be documented for as long as there is the internet and any archives thereof. Perhaps I’m leading a strange recursive loop of an existence where any day now I’ll become an optical photography coordinator for George Lucas. That sounds like something George would be involved in.
In my work, I often remind others at my company that what was true yesterday may not be true today and anything which is valid today may lose validity by tomorrow. Right now, I’m pretty sure that I am in my early thirties, but maybe in a few hours I’ll realize that I’m really a completely different age altogether. Or a rabbit.
It’s not that I feel old. I do feel a bit broken down. I remember when I could eat an entire steak and potatoes dinner and then ask for more bacon. You read that right. I don’t have that iron stomach today. I remember when I could ride my bike all day long and then get home after sunset and still have enough energy to ask for more bacon. Now, I doubt I could even get home if I rode my bike all day long. If I had a bike. Or a day.
Even my memory is breaking down. I’d like to say I remember when I didn’t need glasses, but that would be a lie. I rarely even lie any more because it takes too much effort to remember it. Hell, I just noticed I’m writing this blog. When did that start?
Still, I play with my dog and my god plays with me. I’m clever enough to eke out some malapropisms and I enjoy the groans when I do. I dance when it’s fun, not when I need to. I don’t do much of anything just because I must, but rather because I’m interested in it. And each minute of each hour of each day of each month of each year gives me a better sense of scale.
I notice more how insignificant each moment is, in the grand scheme of things. I realize how small I am, that I can spend three decades and change and I haven’t even explored point-one-percent of the point-one-percent of the solar system that is potentially available to me. But I also think about how I can think about the stars. We’re dumb, we people. We argue about economy and gasoline and why our neighbors should think what we think, when we could be debating about the next star to orbit or the next “law of nature” to ignore. We question the existence of god instead of going out to meet God and question him in person. I’ll put that on my Things To Do list.
When I was in High-School, I was sure that I’d be dead by my thirties. I was so sure that I didn’t fit in this world that my incongruity would lead to my demise sooner than later. After all, look at the things I think!
I’m still around. Maybe not tomorrow, but long enough to type these words. It’s been 12,054 days, 12 hours, 0 minutes, and 54 seconds as I get to…. here! I’ll consider that another minor event. I wonder what other events I’ll find as I keep going? I’ve already outlived my own expectations, so I don’t know.
I’ll think about it.