1st and Ten - The Weekly Tendown - September 19-25 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Internet:

On my tenth birthday, I scored a goal against my own team in a soccer game.

On my 16th birthday; Mike Scott no-hit my San Francisco Giants, eliminating us from the pennant race, to that date, no Giants team in my memory had ever played in the postseason.

To this date, no San Francico Giants team has ever won a World Series, and with a week left and a half game lead, we blew a 9-7 ninth inning lead in Coors last night.  My last memory of my 40th birthday is the picture you see above. 

Comforting, somehow.  Good to know some things don't change.  Let's do Tendown 45.

First - Halftime

The tribes on Survivor are divided according to age this season; theres a 40+ tribe and a tribe of 30 and unders.  Through the first two episodes, all of us in our 30s faced a dilemma - to whom is our inclination?  Do we feel a greater sense of kinship with the younger group:

Or - are we more aligned with the older:

Not a tough call.

I've been rooting for the older tribe.

But for the next episode that decision will be out of my hands.  Yesterday, I got drafted.

I wasn't bothered by it.  And not because I'm in a particularly good place in my life or emotionally well adjusted or that I think 40 is the new 37 or whatever bumper sticker philosophy that gets people through the day. 

I was miserable turning 30; I talked about it for a full year; I approached 30 with my eye on the scoreboard; everyone younger who was more successful was clearly ahead of me (how many majors has Tiger Woods won?  I haven't won a goddamn thing!)  I felt every drop of my youthful potential trickling away.  I was consumed, as had I been more days than not in my life, with thoughts of my own shortcomings.

Today, I have no thoughts.

I'm tired people, Jesus.  Who the hell has the energy?  You show me someone worried about a birthday I'll show you someone who doesn't have fifteen hundred dollars in rent to pay each month.  My dad used to walk around the house in his blue robe, scratching and grunting disinterest about popular culture - how could a person be so disconnected; what is it that goes through his head?  My head is constantly racing, I silently (and not so silently) passed my judgment - and there he sits on the couch, wordlessly - he doesn't even know what happened on Miami Vice last night! 

I was a dumbass.  There were days during this past quarter in which I taught 10 courses that I was working at 7 in the morning and 11 at night and pretty much every hour in between.  You know how people say "I heard myself say something my parents used to say" - there were times last quarter where I wondered if I felt on the inside the way my dad used to feel.  I'm about two years in on a 7 day workweek; every dollar goes to bills and there really is no end game.  I'll work basically every day of every year as long as someone will pay me to do it, and there really aren't any options other than that.  My grind is not existential; it is real.  I have no angst about the meaninglessness of life; I'm just tired. I do not care how much money a 33 year old has or how much a 27 year old has accomplished.  My 40th birthday meant that I had finished grading one quarter's exams two days before and didn't have to start preparing for the next quarter for two days following.  What did I do on my 40th birthday?  I didn't work.  That's my inner life.  What has to be done next.  When does it have to be done.  Will this month's checks cover this month's bills. 

My brain still had plasticity when I turned 30; I could indulge in all manner of "what does the end of youth mean?" thoughts; today I just want to get through the day.  Is that a particularly good strategy for the second half of my life - yeah, I don't care about that question. 

It makes me less interesting.  It makes my writing less interesting.  It makes me less empathetic.

I don't care.  Long as the Espada tribe wins Survivor, I'm good. 

My birthday was really good, thanks.  It's my third birthday with my Lady Type Friend, which is a new record for me.  She makes every day as good as it could possibly be and is the primary difference between turning 40 and any other milestone.  I'd rather be 60 with her than 20 without.

After the jump - the rest of Tendown 45

1. Taking the Pledge
The Republicans released their Pledge for America this week.  It's got the nutritional content of a Katy Perry song.  Everything you need to know is here.

2. Here's Krugman
Here's Krugman discussing the Pledge.

On Thursday, House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.” The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s. 

3. The Koch Brothers
 Here's a long New Yorker piece about the billionaire Koch Brothers, who seem to have unintentionally modeled themselves after Batman supervillains.

4. PETA = Terror Suspects
Shockingly, it was revealed this week that the federal government targeted left leaning groups like PETA and Greenpeace for investigation after 9-11.

5. Sometimes, the good guys Win.
Steve Wiebe is once again the world record holder of  Donkey Kong.

And Bryan Danielson's got a belt in WWE

I saw 2 four and a quarter star matches this week - both from the same July PWG show, Hero v. Davey and a Generico/London v. Cutlers v. Bucks 3 way.  I read Mick Foley's new book Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal which is really just for completionists.  And I made a half dozen blog posts, the next chapter in my wrestling Counterfactual is here.   In Tendown 44 I posted the list of the television series that I'd be watching in the fall season, both new and returning - I'm already out on that JoAnna Garcia show, I like her but this is the wrong vehicle - and I'm going to go only one more week on Raising Hope.  I liked Boardwalk Empire a little less than one would have wanted; I liked Running Wilde very much although I don't see it surviving for a second season; Mad Men had a terrific snapshot of mid 60s second wave feminism last week.  If you're not watching, it's error.

6. Sorkin
A good piece about Aaron Sorkin.

7. Everybody's Going to Australia!
Oprah's final season premiere gets autotuned.

8. The Red Hots Are For My Mommy
That quote from this week's Just Desserts joins "It's pronounced Neandertall" and "I Been Sleep" as my television favorites for the year.  Were I in the novelty business, they'd go on t-shirts and bumper stickers. 

That's it this week.  It's a birthday 8Down.  I'll be back next time - if there is a next time...

Your pal,


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