When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

08 November 2006

A Pyrrhic look at 40...

So the Democrats easily seized control of the House last night, and as of this writing three Senate races, including Allen v. Webb in Virginia, are still too close to call, with control of the upper chamber hanging in the balance. (At least Joe Lieberman, one of the most honorable and decent men in the Senate, was re-elected.)

A major power shift in American politics is clearly underway.

But the hell with all that; the New York Times and MSNBC and NPR will be covering all of this exhaustively today, and so will many other bloggers more serious than I.

This blog is primarily about narcissism, after all, and I turned 40 today.

"40" is a number to conjure with.
  • In Biblical idiom, "40" is used to indicate "a hell of a long time, we don't really know how long but boy it sure was a long time"; in the Great Flood, for example, it rained for forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:4), and the tribes of Israel wandered in the desert eating manna for forty years (Exodus 16:35).

    Parethetically, just try to find a decent manna joint in New York City. I dare you. You could wander the five boroughs for forty years, and eat very well, but would you find manna? I ask you.

  • Interstate 40 runs from my home state of North Carolina all the way to California (Wilmington to Barstow, to be precise.)

    I've always intended to drive its entire length, although 3,000 miles of interstate doesn't have quite the same appeal at all as, say, driving Route 66 in a convertible land yacht (pace, Hitch.)

  • Malt liquor comes in convenient 40-ounce bottles, and one can "pour a 40 on the curb," I am given to understand, in memory of a fallen comrade.

  • 40 is allegedly the number of hours in a standard American workweek (to which I say, ha!)

  • On late-night television advertising, age 40 is the "entry level" in the depressingly vast age demographic of 40-75, between which ages, I apparently cannot be turned down for term life insurance (read: burial insurance, given the payout amounts) for any reason.

  • WD-40 can unstick damn nearly anything that shouldn't be stuck.

  • 40 acres is the canonical size for a small farm (or some multiple, giving us the terms "the front 40" and "the back 40"); 40 acres and a mule, promised but never delivered to the vast majority of freed slaves after the Civil War, has become a byword for unkept promises.

  • And, of course, there's the Top 40, as compiled by Billboard magazine, and "America's Top 40," the radio show now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, but formerly by Casey Kasem. (Atop the Billboard Top 40 this week, The Fray.)
I don't generally like birthdays much, but I'm liking this one okay. "40" beats "dead" any day of the week.

1 comment:

Sortova said...

Youngster! I hit 40 in January (same class, after all).

It didn't really bother me all that much, although I recently caused my first traffic accident so I must be getting slower.

In any case, hugs and kisses and here's to your next 40!