Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Big 035

A birthday means one has survived another year of one's life. Today is my 15th anniversary of my 20th birthday, meaning that I have survived being 34, and am ready to tip-to through year 35.

What started out on an milestone note, less than a month into being 34, I ran my first marathon in a time that might indicate that I actually trained for it. With the thrill of accomplishing something so . . . long . . . and painful, I figured the world would be mine to conquer. As did Augustus, who at age 34, defeated Antony and Cleopatra's naval forces to become the master of the Roman world, so was I ready to slay dragons and defeat my demons.

Little did I know that I was already at the apex of the year. With a torn meniscus because of a foolish act normally committed by more foolish, less seasoned individuals, running became extremely painful and unenjoyable. The pain was there to stay, and became a constant object of my solicitude as I debated to have it surgically repaired or face an infection similar to one I dealt with when I was a young, foolish fool of 30.

The surgery came, and so did the bacteria. Accumulating 6 surgeries and enough days in the hospital to have the room changed from "216" to "Kevin's Room," I was at the nadir of my year, if not my life. I doubted if I'd ever get my range of motion or strength back, much less run again. I wasn't looking forward to turning 35.

Enter today . . . .

After waking to find a special edition of my new all-time favorite movie in a handsome Batman mask case (a little odd for "Honey I Blew Up the Kids,") my kids sang that birthday song to me. The coffee tasted extra delicious too. I was soon off to physical therapy, my first as a 35-year old. There my therapist gave me two awesome gifts: an electrostimulating device to help my quads fire at home and the news that I only had 2 more visits to go and then I was DONE with PT!!!!

Immediately following, it was off to the surgeon for another follow-up visit. Would you believe that he was as impressed with my progress as my therapist that he said he didn't want, I mean need, to see me any more!!! As a bonus, these two visits were taking place while I was missing a meeting at school. Wow!! Happy Birthday to me!! I could get used to this 35 thing.

Throughout the day, my students, who were all aware that it was special day, mostly because I told them, sang to me treated me extra nice, and wrote special greetings all over my board (an unsuccessful, preemptive maneuver to deter me erasing it and teaching class). Teaching class anyway (it was MY birthday after all, not there's) I could tell they were trying extra hard to remember the cotangent value of 2pi thirds.

Tonight will be even better. A cold front just blew in, dropping the temperatures to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, my FAVORITE! Not cold enough to hassle with bringing in plants or dripping hose bibs, but cold enough to sip coffee on the lawn without sweating. It's the perfect weather for a plate of steaming enchiladas tonight at the local Mexican food restaurant.

I'll get home with plenty of time to reflect on the day and plan out a more eventful, less sucky year, hoping to be at least as successful at my new age as some other historical figures were 35.
  • Based on a nightmarish dream, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I'll just be happy if I can tame my own Mr. Hyde, or as my family sometimes calls me, Mr. Grumpy Pants.
  • Russian ambassador Aleksandr Borosovich Kurakin introduced the practice of serving meals in courses. Maybe I'll learn about fine cuisine this year, serving my own children in courses: chicken nuggets first, ketchup second, macaroni third, wash it down with Coke fourth.
  • Frederic William Herschel, an English astronomer, invented the contact lens. Perhaps I'll invent the fluorescent contact lens so that my wife can find them on the floor. Or better yet, invent a type of contact lens that fits between a wire frame with some way to hold the frames on the nose and over the ears so that they can be easily taken on an off.
  • American sprinter Evelyn Ashford won her final Olympic gold medal at age 35, old for a sprinter. I'll be happy if I can just jog again by age 36.
  • Amedeo Avogadro developed Avogadro's hypothesis. Being a math guy, I already have several hypotheses. Perhaps this year, I'll get a constant, like 6.02 x 10^23, to go with them.
  • Law School professor Anita Hill charged that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas made indecent remarks to her. Note to self: Stay away from Anita Hill.
  • Astronaut Buzz Aldrin achieved his life's ambition at age 35 and wondered, what do you do after that? If I'm so lucky to walk on the moon this year, I'm sure my wife will have a few "to dos" for me when I get back.
  • Mozart stopped composing and started, well, you know. This one's actually scary, since today is also Mozart's birthday. Hopefully, I'll outlast him. It's funny how Mozart spent his whole life composing and his whole afterlife DEcomposing.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

I love the few weeks each year when I'm married to an older man. Hope you had a happy day and have a much, much better year.