Who Celebrates Middle Age Birthdays?

I'd settle for an explosion half that size.
I'm turning 34 this week and one thing I've realized leading up to this unimportant milestone, is that my life isn't about me anymore.  I keep thinking about what I want for this birthday, and nothing comes to mind. Oh sure, there are things I want: all new furniture, 1000 more square feet in my house, a quad or motorcycle, to legally detonate something large (like my house), liposuction, to get my high school band back together, etc., etc.  But those aren't actual birthday things.  I guess I'm just in a materialistic rut.

Much of that could be the result of my Disneyland trip which made me realize that stuff is expensive, and usually stupid. After the Star Tours ride which exits into a huge Star Wars merchandising store, my wife asked, "Do you want those R2-D2 Mickey ears?" and at first I was like, yeah, those are sweet...but on closer inspection, they were neither cool, nor affordable.  Where would I ever wear them outside Disneyland? Not even Star Wars convention nerds still under heavy orthodontic reconstruction would associate with me if I wore that silly headgear.

Most of my shopping trips start with me looking for something for me, and then end with me buying my daughters some clothing in pink. Seriously. I buy the majority of my girls' wardrobe. The only thing I ever buy for myself anymore is bags of chips.

My wife made me return this?
Why? What's wrong with me?

There was a time when I could spend days in Best Buy finding the best television/stereo combination. I could look through their DVDs/CDs/games for hours. Now I walk by the media bargain bins and say, "Eh...I have this on VHS somewhere in the garage, no need to upgrade because four bucks seems a bit expensive for a Blu-ray."

I know I'm cheap, but currently I'm not finding enjoyment even in the clearance section! My 1/32nd Jewish blood is having an exodus from my body.

I guess I just want an organic experience. No, not a ganga experience (not that we don't have those opportunities in Oregon, with the Oregon Country Fair and Hempfest both just occurring), I want an authentic, non-polyunsaturated, BPA and MSG free, experience.

Here's a partial list of events I'd be okay with:

If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.  
* Being invited to dance on stage with Bruce Springsteen. I'm not a big fan of the Boss, but he still sings and performs well. Courteney Cox made a career out of her opportunity, so why not me?

* Going to the woods, finding a deep and crystal clear  river/ lake/ pond/ reservoir/ stream/ hot spring and then finding an eight foot high rock and belly flopping into the water. I'm not into sadomasochism, but my body needs this.

* Going into the woods with an old Harley Davidson, a Tommy Gun, and 250 empty beer bottles. I'm not sure what I'd do with the Hog and the gun, but I'd fill those bottles with different amounts of water and play a steel drum-like version of Ariel's Under the Sea song.  (Dang Disneyland Ariel ride tune is stuck in my head)

* Wrestle a bear.  I'd prefer the animal to be like 80 bear years old, and hopefully it would be declawed and its teeth rotting out...or better yet; a baby cub.  Put momma bear in a steel cage just next to me as I DDT its cub.  Her roaring rage would give me the endorphins I need to make it through the year.

You're going down, bear! 
* Start a bar fight after my karaoke version of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline.  I'm not saying I want to be involved in the ruckus, I just want my rendition to be either so emotionally touching or so offensive that it causes violence in the audience.

* Say fifty really inflammatory words to six people I know, then take a time machine back to the time right before I said them.  We passive aggressive people need this opportunity to let our emotions out while still maintaining a grip on reality.  Plus I want to see their face (just briefly) when they hear the truth.

* I want to start a charity like Habitat For Humanity that goes around the United States building mental institutions for internet trolls and conspiracy theorists.

* I want a bona fide spiritual experience. Seriously, no jokes. It's been a long time. I'm tired of being a doubting Thomas about other's "experiences."

* I want to have ten literary agents and six publishers send me an example of their writing so I can hack it up with red pen marks, and hurt their creative feelings.  Then I want to hug them and tell them no hard feelings, it's just business.

* I want to go to Costa Rica, destroy all my personal technology, grow organic coffee beans, and start a news outlet that actually does investigative journalism and reports the news impartially.

* I want to lose 50 lbs., then record ten people saying, "he actually looked better before, I think he looks unhealthy now," then play it back to my rude doctor.
Option #4 is our squash surprise. It
is slowly roasted in the acidic abdomen
 of a free range ape then regurgitated
into a grassy knoll where it is collected
by our team of unemployable hippies.  

* I want to have my taste buds removed so that I can enjoy vegan crap like everyone else in Eugene.

* I want my daughters to marry boys who are so in love with them, that they agree to take my daughter's last name.  That way the Plumb name can live on and I don't have to have any more children.

* I want to join those paintball reenactment groups that redo famous battles. I've a hankering to act out the Battle of Ball's Bluff.  

* I want the energy to do the third round of manuscript proposals, rejections, queries, inquiries, summaries, etc. Or just pay a small sum and have someone else self publish it for me.  (PS vanity presses, a small sum is not in the thousands).

* I want to get tackled in center field of a Mariners game at Safeco Field by overzealous security guards.  

This list could go on forever with my silly fantasies.  Reality is, I just want an experience and not an item for my birthday. I'm tired of items, and I need to live a little.


  1. Go skydiving! Its quick and should provide enough adrenaline to get you through a few months.
    I totally agree about getting older, its more about the experiences and who you share them with than some new gadgett that you will forget about before your next birthday.

    1. You know, if I wasn't terrified of heights, I would totally do that. Parasailing, wing suit skydiving, tight rope walking...all look incredibly thrilling but will never try them.

      That eight foot rock I want to belly flop off of? That's my limit. (Just kidding...30' is my cliff jumping limit).

    2. this sounds like a bucket list. You can check off the list: "experiencing a vacation at Disneyland with kids and both sets of parents." I'm with you on the Costa Rica one and the spiritual experience, I'll take more of those any day. And, you forgot camping at all the national parks in the U.S. That would be a great one.

  2. Happy Birthday sir! I have to say, it's an interesting list. I can wrap my head around most of these. Don't ever try to enjoy vegan food, you're better than that!

    Also, like the sharp dressed new website. Looking good!

    1. My doctor keeps telling me to go vegan, and I keep wanting to say, "It's easy for you, because you're probably Hindu and believe your eating the souls of creatures; I believe that eating animals HELPS my soul."

      But he already is mean enough to me as it is.

      Thanks...the redesign is temporary until I find something I really like.

  3. Happy Birthday!!!! Isn't that Star Wars shop neat?! I could spend an hour in there looking at everything, but leaving empty handed for the same reasons you listed. I like your idea of having experiences instead of material objects. I'm like you, at this age, things seem too impractical or expensive to actually feel validated in buying them or having someone buy them for me. LIving in Oregon, I'd bet the chance of your daughters marrying a man that will take Plumb as their name is higher than many other places in our country. Also, you better document any of these experiences. I especially need to see the karaoke bar fight.

    1. Well, when they are allowed to date (when they turn 28), part of my dating application sheet will include a question like: #7 How attached to your last name are you? Would you consider changing your surname for love?____________________.

      That Star Wars store is great, but we went through at 11:15 at night. My girls were exhausted, my wife still wanted to do her "essential" shopping and we had to beat all the other weirdos out of Disneyland. Needless to say, I barely enjoyed myself this time. Ten years ago? Awesome. With kids? Eh.

  4. Wow, you must be my long-lost brother (or maybe we're just in a similar life-stage). I'm so over the materialism of our world today. I don't need stuff, I need adventure. Honestly I'm a little grateful for my lay-off, because now I can take that meandering road trip to Northern California and not need to take unpaid vacation days - every day's an unpaid vacation! Lol.
    My husband has suggested the trip to Costa Rica. There's a tree house colony of expats living there, and I'm starting to see it's a great idea to sell everything and live in a tree house.

  5. Oh yea, btw, liking the site design.