I'll be turning 40 in a few months, and I've noticed a strange feeling coming over me as my birthday draws nigh. It's not the urge to buy a red Lamborghini or chase younger women or anything else off the midlife crisis checklist. I don't go in for clichés.
And what's more, I can't afford a Lamborghini. Maybe a Hyundai. Used. I mean, really used. Which probably wouldn't be much of a chick magnet.
No, it's not a sporty Phallusmobile or an ego-boosting PYT I find myself pining for. It's much, much more shameful than that.
I'm excited about an Indiana Jones movie.
If I were casually interested in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, that would be one thing. Borderline indifferent, and I could maybe salvage my dignity.
But, no. I'm geeked out. I'll be there opening weekend with an extra 10 bucks in my pocket for popcorn and a Coke.
Only...will 10 bucks even get you popcorn and a Coke anymore? The last time I was this psyched for an Indiana Jones flick, it was 1984. The movie was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and, if memory serves, you could buy a large popcorn and medium soda for two bits, with enough left over for a crank or two on the nickelodeon machine in the lobby.
But perhaps memory doesn't serve. Remember, I'm almost 40.
Almost 40...and hyped up by the same silly action movies I loved when I was 15. Is that alright, I wonder? Shouldn't I be on pins and needles about something serious? Something important? Something grown up? The next John Updike novel. The new Errol Morris documentary. The Democratic primaries.
(Aside: I actually was on pins and needles about the Democratic primaries until about a month ago. Now I just wanna barf.)
I mean, 40 seems as good a time as any to do some reappraising. To look back and see how far one's come. And I guess I'll look back and see that I've come all the way from The Temple of Doom to The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Which really isn't much of a journey.
I'd like to think I'm not the same person I was 24 years ago. I weigh a little more now. And my hair has some gray in it. And....
Alright, other than that, I probably am the same person I was 24 years ago. And that guy was a geek. Nerdus Americanus. Dorkus Maximus.
I don't think it bothered him much, though. Yeah, the no-date-on-Saturday-night thing got to be a drag. But it's not like he wanted to be a jock or a preppy or a burnout or whatever else guys could be in a John Hughes movie. He was O.K. with being a total Poindexter.
Maybe that's the way I've really devolved. When I was a kid, I wasn't ashamed to be first in line for an Indiana Jones movie. Why should I judge myself now that I'm a man?
In the words of the poet, I yam what I yam. And I yam a geek, John Updike be damned.
So I'm gonna start saving up for that popcorn and Coke now. If I set aside a twenty each week, I should have enough just in time for opening night....
May 1, 2008