The 'f' word

Brett Favre, I feel your pain.

And it’s not just because we both have funny last names that are commonly mispronounced. Or the fact that we both used to have braces or have ties to a place that condones men wearing long blonde wigs in public.

No, this goes much deeper. To that nagging ache, somewhere near the lower back region, that signals a certain, shall we say, coming of age. Those who’ve been down that hill know what I’m talking about, and those who haven’t, soon will. It’s that magic number of black balloons and white lies that just so happens to rhyme with “sorry” and “warty.”

Anyway, in case you still fail to see the connection – or refuse to, as in my case – Brett and I now are of the same, round, easily-divisible-by-four, no-longer-in-your-thirties, age. Which is why I was pulling for Brett during his second bid for Superbowl bling.

OK, I know it’s downright unAmerican and inhumanitarian not to root for New Orleans. But relax. My illogical whims apparently have no direct effect on the outcome of professional sporting events. (Which is a good thing, because if they did, we’d still be annoying our spouse by asking who was playing in the Superbowl and why the Broncos never play the Vikings.)

So, back to Brett (I feel like I practically know him.) I guess I couldn’t help but feel as if a victory for him would also be a victory for sorry and warty people everywhere – of which I’m sure there are at least a few in New Orleans. It would be a kick in the taut, six-pack abs of little Drew Brees’ everywhere who think all us oldtimers are good for is Sears commercials and Metamucil endorsements.

Alas, Brett choked worse than a chicken bone going down the wrong pipe at a Luby’s earlybird special. And, quite frankly, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him. Even if he happens to be a zillionaire, as my husband pointed out. On behalf of halfway-to-80ers everywhere, he took one for the team.

Of course, it seems a little silly to blame one’s midlife shortcomings and disillusionments on something as trivial as a football game, even if it was the playoffs. Adding another decade to the collection of life experiences is really no big deal, or so I was told by those “wiser” than me (which I learned is the new code word for “old.”) I was told to look on the bright side – even if I now needed my glasses to do it. Turning the “New 30” was definitely better than the alternative.

Besides, it’s not like it suddenly snuck up on me. I had been getting called “ma’am” for years and stopped getting carded more than a decade earlier. I could no longer swill beer like the Catholic school girl I once was and stretching had become part of my daily routine. I had even taken to wearing my seatbelt religiously and had finally accepted a helmet as part of my ski gear.

It’s called getting wiser, I guess. Which is just fine as long as no one mentions that dirty “f” word.

Needless to say, I spent the last night in my 30s doing what anyone in the throes of existential crisis would do: foolishly reliving the past. In a town far, far away, where small town gossip can’t catch up to you (but Facebook and credit card bills can, unfortunately.)

Alas, when I awoke the following morning (OK, so it was almost noon) I must say, I didn’t necessarily feel any wiser, although my head did smart. This I blamed on a nifty concoction from my 20s called a “mind eraser,” which had been consumed in such quantity that I feared I may have done irreparable damage.

But other than some momentary and monetary lapses of memory, I dare to say I felt pretty much unchanged. Sort of like Molly Ringwald in “16 Candles” (a guilty pleasure I can recite in its entirety), there was no miraculous birthday transformation. There was no black Camaro waiting in the driveway with a pink ribbon (although had it been my sweet 16th, I’d a gone for the red Mustang), some hot dude named “Jake” waiting to whisk me off to his mansion or a missing pair of undergarments. Thank god.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief that the big four-oh-no with all its expectations and connotations and regurgitations had come and gone. Sure, at this rate, I’ll never make it to the Superbowl, or even score a hat trick in rec league hockey for that matter. On the upside, I’ll always be the “baby” of my family, and I hear modern medicine is working miracles with new knees. But when it comes right down to it, there’s no one I’d rather be than the same, old me.

– Missy Votel



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
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January 26, 2024
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January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows