This is a hard one.


Lordy, lordy, guess who’s forty? That’s right, it’s me. And it certainly isn’t these non-milestone-celebrating idiots. Perpetually thirty-nine, you dead losers? Jack Benny called, and he wants his bit back. Also, his life. Like you.

Like you, Dylan Thomas. “Do not go gentle into that good night/rage, rage against the dying of the light?” Big talk, considering you were lying comatose in your deathbed while your wife was the one threatening to murder people and eventually getting put in a straitjacket and committed to a psychiatric institution. Maybe we should just make “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that’s the record!” your quotable quote, although apparently you were lying about that one too.

¡Oye! Che Guevara! You know which other Cuban icon got riddled with bullets and ended up postered all over dorm room walls everywhere? Tony “Scarface” Montana. Weird how Al Pacino is worth over $200 million today and enterprising capitalists have made at least that much marketing your image to college freshmen, huh? Isn’t it ironic how you ended up doing about as much for the Communist cause as a picture of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue?

And you, Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters: Well, I guess you proved that McPhattery will get you nowhere. You know drifters are supposed to murder other people, not end up dead themselves, right?

Amelia Earhart … well, maybe you don’t belong on this list at all. I mean, there’s a chance that there’s a 116-year-old crone hobbling around a remote Pacific Island right now. If that’s the case, Carmen Sandiego, isn’t now the time to come out of hiding and start adding something to CNN’s incessant coverage of disappeared Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370? Get on it, Dora the Explorer.

Trivia: “Stonewall” Jackson believed all his life that his left arm was longer than the right and usually held it up in the air to equalize his circulation. Until the Battle of Chancellorsville, when he had to have his left arm amputated due to injuries. Congratulations, “Stonewall” Jackson! Your left arm is no longer longer than your right! Also, it was buried separately from the rest of you and no one knows where it is now, or if they do, they aren’t saying, which is where we get the verb “stonewall.” True story.

Speaking of stonewalling, I’ll give you this, Georges Vézina: You had a hell of a glove hand. Heck, you even caught tuberculosis. What a cool customer you were, Chicoutimi Cucumber. L’Habitant silencieux. But you were never cooler and more silent than the 1926 NHL postseason, when you put in a Vezina Trophy-winning performance as deadest goaltender.

Anna Nicole and Davey Boy Smith: What a lovely couple you make. Anna Nicole used to take drug injections in her buttocks, and the British Bullcrap used to drug his wife before bed so he could give her a hot beef injection in the butt. You’re a match made in heaven, where you probably aren’t.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X: What a lovely couple you make. No, I actually mean that one. I mean, King was a serial adulterer and Malcolm X was a pimp. Despite your philosophical differences, you were both men of God who were kind of dicks to women, weren’t you?

But hey, speaking of God, let me see if I’ve got Pascal’s Wager right. Basically, you can choose to believe in God or choose not to believe in God. If you choose not to believe in God and you’re right, it doesn’t matter because you won’t exist either by the time you’re in a position to find out. If you choose not to believe in God and you’re wrong, you’re also going to learn about the existence of the Devil pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you choose to believe in God and you’re wrong, well, no harm done; you still lived a virtuous life. But, if you choose to believe in God and you’re right, well, jackpot—eternal bliss. And you used this as a proof of God, Blaise Pascal? Sounds more like a proof of your cowardice, insincerity and self-interest, which you’d think God would see right through. How is it working out for you these days anyway? Did you know that bearded homophobe from Duck Dynasty is going around parroting your argument? This is the same guy who said “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. … There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. … But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” This is the fellow logician with whom you’ve aligned yourself, Pascal you genius. Stick to math.

Whoa, that ran long. I guess I had a lot of anger stored up. But who’d have guessed I’d be doing more with my undergraduate degree in philosophy at 40 than Blaise Pascal? Modern medicine, I guess. Okay, rapid fire now:

Bartholomew Roberts? More like the Dead Pirate Roberts.

Uday Hussein? More like “You dead, Hussein.”

Frédéric Chopin? More like Frédéric Show-Panned-by Critics. (They were talking about your funeral. It sucked.)

Klaus Nomi? More like Klaus No-More. More like Klaus Nobody-Likes-Me, because I’m a creepy fey weird-ass singing clown. Turns out we’d rather our mimes keep silent. Not a problem now!

Dennis Wilson … you know what? I still miss Dennis Wilson. Dennis Wilson’s was the first celebrity death where I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard about it. I was nine years old. My parents were newly divorced. I’d always loved the Beach Boys and had spent many an hour reading their personal notes to fans on the back cover of my dad’s LP of Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). One always stuck out: “They say I live a fast life. Maybe I just like a fast life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. It won’t last forever, either. But the memories will…” That was from the handsome one who later became a bearded drunk, the one with the same first name as my dad. And with his passing, another little piece of my childhood died.

Whoa, paging Dr. Freud! Jesus, I need therapy! Forty years old, and on some level I’m obviously still thinking of a drug-addled pin-up boy who wrote songs with Charles Manson as my dad. I am messed up.

But you know what else I am? Forty. Unlike all these dead idiots! See you next year, folks! See you in hell, dead idiots!

One Response to “40”

  1. 1 JL


    That’s not typing, that’s writing!

    Thank you for restoring my faith in the internet. There is intelligent life out there! Mike Love not withstanding…

    I will forever save your post in my “in case of depression, read” folder. Right alongside of the legendary “Mall Ninja” tome I love so much.


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