Mike Julianelle's short story THE RAINBOW CONNECTION will be featured in LET THE EVOLUTION BEGIN, the first book from Intrepid Publishing.
“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for therew were no more worlds to conquer.”
I turned 27 last week. I think Alexander was 11 when he controlled the entire planet and part of Mars. Comparing his accomplishments to mine makes me feel like a partially aborted fetus. Not entirely aborted, mind you - I have done some cool stuff - but definitely partially.
Thinking of your life in terms of botched operations and making comparison between yourself and famous overachievers can be disheartening from time to time. Just try it, with any category of successful people. Even serial killers have accomplished more than most of us. I bet Jeff Dahmer had already killed like 20 squirrels by the time he was 15. I'd only gotten to 2. That’s weak!
But Dahmer’s culinary habits might have gotten himself worms, and Alexander didn’t have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. So it’s not all bad for me. Worm-free and good beer! Oh yeah!
I may be older and I may be angrier, but today I’m gonna take a breather from my normal attitude and try to keep things on the positive tip, yo. I'm gonna dwell on some of the good things in my life for once.
In honor of my 27th year on the planet, I’m making a list of twenty-seven reasons why life is great. Here goes:
1. Fantasy football.
2. Attractive, unattainable women on TV and in movies.
3. Attractive, unattainable women on the street.
4. Attractive women.
Shit. That’s all I got. I suppose I could fill it out with an individual list of attractive, unattainable women, but my attorney advised me that having Britney Spears’ little sister’s name on a list of that kind wouldn’t be such a great idea. How old is Mischa Barton from The O.C. anyway? What, she was born in 1985?
Excuse me while I vomit.
Okay, so the list is dead. Moving on…
What the hell kind of birthday is 27 anyway? A bunch of other years have built-in significance, 27’s got nothin’, ma! (Why can’t we just go home?!) For example, turning 13 is teenage time. Turning 16 is the license landmark. 18 is suffragette city, 21 is blackout style, 25 is a quarter century and 30 is a big new decade. But 27? What the hell is that? The tragic, unfulfilled age? Didn’t Jim Morrison die at 27? And Hendrix? I suppose I could go out like that, but I haven’t accomplished enough with my clarinet to feel like I’ve earned it.
Shit, I can’t even start my ministry for three more years. But, on the positive tip (like I promised), that also means I won’t be crucified for another six!
When you compare yourself to a lot of athletes, particularly in the NBA, the game becomes even more depressing. Isn’t Lebron James 1/3 my age and 3000 times my worth? In basketball years, I’m not only dead, my corpse has long since disintegrated. But in boxing…well, according to George Foreman and Larry Holmes, I’m a spring chicken. Let’s face it though, no one wants to see this beautiful face getting smashed up in a ring, am I right?
I've decided to stop comparing. Hell, I don't need to compare myself to athletes and conquerers and Jesus to get depressed, I can manage that just fine with a line-up of my college friends. Who knew the kid wearing three-layers of collared shirts and a purple nose would have a better life than me? The important thing is to count your blessings. I have great friends, a great family, a nice apartment in a great city, lots of free time, no illnesses...I'm doing okay.
But time's running out. Either I quickly do something grand and then die young, or I just tread water until I hit old age and can start my heroin habit guilt-free. I figure I have until next September to figure that out.
Or maybe I'll just wait 'til Britney's sis makes 18. Yowsa!
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
9.17.03 @ 1:09a
When I was 16 or 17, I decided that 27 was the official first year of being a grown-up, specifically because it wasn't a landmark birthday. No hoopla, no milestones. Young enough to change anything you wanted to, old enough to know yourself well. Now I'm 38 and I still think 27 was the best year of them all. I hope yours is just as good!
9.17.03 @ 1:16a
Your description of what it means when you reach certain ages it's dead on.
I turned 19 a few weeks back...Now, I want to be 25-ish already, but I miss the innocence of being 10.
9.17.03 @ 8:53a
Comparing yourself to the rich and famous is one thing, but when you have a successful, loud-mouth brother, it puts the pressure on. Eh, eitherway, he's definately going to lose his hair before me.
9.17.03 @ 11:04a
Don't sweat it, Tommy. He's got no sense of humor.
I'd give both my legs to be 17 again.
9.17.03 @ 11:47a
I know there's some other morons out there with September birthdays. Talk to me!
9.17.03 @ 1:24p
First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Second, I understand and appreciate the sentiment...a "coming of old age" awakening...but is there anything more depressing than a young person complaining about how old they are? Ugh.
I'd be willing to bet you still have one-day hangovers. That you can fall down without seriously hurting yourself. That you still don't feel your knees or your back. That you don't have hair growing out of your ears.
Enjoy your late 20s. I agree with Juli, they're the best. Old enough to know what you're doing, young enough to be able to do anything you want.
9.17.03 @ 2:38p
In related news, The Onion today has "I Totally Outlived Jesus."
(Also the storyless headline "God Grants John Ritter's Wish To Meet Johnny Cash.")
9.17.03 @ 2:53p
Shit, I'm probably going to live twice as long as Jesus!
AWESOME! And not very dissimilar from my joke.
9.17.03 @ 3:52p
Mike this was hysterical. A great column.
So 27 got ya down. Turn that frown around. When you hit 40 we'll talk. Until then, been there, done that.
9.17.03 @ 4:42p
I agree with Jason. 26-29 were the best years of my life. I look back and am kinda stunned at how much fun I had then.
Most years have their ups and downs. But my late 20's were all ups.
9.17.03 @ 5:23p
I''m too old to remember when my best years were.
At 27, I got married, and quit (for the 1st time) my 10-year radio career. So you know, it was a balanced kind of year.
I've had swings in my good/bad years. It's hard to pin down one particular time. But I do remember 26 being pretty fantastic, as was 30 and 33.
9.17.03 @ 8:08p
Yeah 26-29 just got better and better. 30 was the worst year of my life. 31 was half good, half shitty. And 32 has been not too bad so far.
The thing is, you just really never know if it'll be a good year or a bad year. So you've just got to dive right in and see where you end up.
9.22.03 @ 9:12p
28 was the worst. But it was also the start of better things. My life has improved markedly as I've gotten older. I'm bolder about my burgeoning eccentricities now.