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GROB: Abstract thoughts on my 52nd birthday

GROB: Abstract thoughts on my 52nd birthday
James Grob
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

“Tick-tock, doo-do-do-doo-doo. Tick-tock, doo-do-do-doo-doo.”

The countdown began. Those noises in my brain have been there for 52 years now.

As I started writing this, the words of Steve Miller penetrated my ears.

“Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping — into the future.”

Although it would be pretty cool if I could, I really have no desire to “fly like an eagle, to the sea,” the way the great guitarist and songwriter says he wants to.

And I suppose I owe it to dumb luck that this was the song that just happened to be playing on my pre-tuned SiriusXM station, Classic Rewind, channel 25, “music from the cassette era.”

I could easily be mulling the lyrics of an entirely different Steve Miller song at this point, and seriously considering shooting a man in El Paso, robbing his castle, taking the money and running, much like the fictional Billie Joe and Bobby Sue.

Of course, I would then have to contend with the infamous Texas detective, Billy Mack, who certainly wouldn’t let me escape justice.

These are examples of the strange things that pass through my mind when I turn 52 years old. Often, as I sit in pondered silence, my wife will ask me something along the lines of, “What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing,” I’ll say.

And she won’t believe me, of course, because she knows I am lying and because she can’t imagine that anyone anywhere is ever thinking about absolutely nothing.

The truth of the matter is, I lie and say “nothing” because the truth is just so incredibly embarrassing. By all appearances, I’m deep in thought, but what I’m thinking about is quite ridiculous, and it would be humiliating to reveal it.

For instance, I might be thinking about a really good cheeseburger I ate in 1993, what was the name of that restaurant, and did they have Heinz or Hunt’s ketchup on the table?

Or maybe I’m thinking about what a good season wide receiver Sammy White had with the Minnesota Vikings in 1976, and did he make Rookie of the Year or was it someone else?

The other day, when she asked me, I was honestly thinking about Jerry Reed’s performance in the movie “Smokey and the Bandit,” and how it was outrageous that he wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

“Nothing,” I say. “I’m really not thinking about anything.”

It’s a lie, she knows it’s a lie, but there’s no way I’m going to tell her the truth and reveal what an idiot I am. I’ve worked hard over the years and managed to convince her that I’m almost as smart as she is, and I’m not going to dissolve that impression.

I turned 52 on Sunday and she baked me a cake, and that was a good thing. I’ve always told her that I never want anything for my birthday except for some cake. It doesn’t matter what kind of cake it is, as long as it’s chocolate.

A little recognition is nice, too, but cake is the key to the whole thing. The cake tells me she loves me, and I’m not so sure she would love me as much if she knew that there’s a constant argument in my brain regarding the acting prowess of the late Jerry Reed.

The guy was more than a good songwriter, darn it. He was a fine actor. I’ll fight you on this.

And Steve Miller’s lyrics are masterful. I’ll fight you on that, too. He invented the word “pompitous,” for crying out loud. As in, “I speak of the pompitous of love.” It’s really a word he just made up, no one really knows what it means.

So the bottom line is, I live in fear that if my wife ever finds out what’s actually going on in my head, I won’t get cake on my birthday anymore, and that would make my heart hurt.

Now I’ve just realized that I have to go to great lengths to keep her from reading this article. I’m going to have to hide the newspaper tomorrow.

So much to do, so little time. It keeps slipping, slipping, slipping …

It’s slipped 52 years into the future for me now. And finally, today, I listened to some more of those lyrics.

“Feed the babies, who don’t get enough to eat. Shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet. House the people who are living on the street. Oh, oh, there’s a solution.”

Feed and clothe the kids. Find homes for the homeless. It almost sounds like Steve Miller is running for president here.

Hell, I’d vote for the guy.

That’s definitely one solution.

Tick-tock, doo-do-do-doo-doo.

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