Milestones to Muse On

Yenta Boy posted this as his Facebook update recently: “So…life.”

Those two words and the ellipses radiate a weariness that seems rather precocious for a 10 year-old, nu?

Though I do remember being 10, wondering when I could move out and have my own apartment so I could stay up as late as I wanted and read things like Judy Blume’s Wifey (I grew past Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret pretty quick.) I think my mother would agree that I was something like a cross between a prepubscent female Woody Allen and Winona Ryder’s character in Beetlejuice.

But today, I am THIRTY-NINE, and I am happy to report I have gotten less cynical as I’ve aged. Mostly because being squeezed through the portal of motherhood and growing up my precious babies thus far has convinced me that life, even with its constant maintenance (why DON’T bathrooms clean themselves?), occasional severe f*cked-uptedness (such as the red toxic slurry that exploded from an aluminum factory in Hungary yesterday), and insistence on going in directions not conducive to my immediate gratification (Publix stopped carrying Gardenburgers and now I must schlep to Kroger) is just so darn amazing. Each birthday, a gift. For reals.

Since it’s Thursday, of course I’m celebrating with my Home Yentas at the JEA Senior lunch. My lovely younger friends wanted to take me somewhere fancy, but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen all my Jewish bubbies because of the fall’s chag-a-week cockamaminess, and let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger. And my dearest mother-in-law, picking up speed on this downward dementia slope, won’t be able to make it to these lunches much longer. So, chicken and overcooked vegetables it is. Yo, Marcia Silverman–if you read this before noon, can a sister get some Texas Pete’s on her birthday?

Anyway. So…life. Maybe what Yenta Boy is beginning to intuit on a small level is that with life, comes death. Always. No matter how good, talented, sneaky, brilliant, kind, observant or deluded we are. It’s a fact. Look it up.

So I’d like to take a minute to honor a couple of important Jews who recently passed to the great deli in the sky:

Eddie Fisher, who I had an aural childhood crush on because my mother played 50’s tunes all the time, died September 22 of complications from a broken hip. He was 82. Though my crush was quickly abandoned after the double-whammy of reading Elizabeth Taylor’s biography and discovering Shaun Cassidy, I still felt a little pang.

And this week, Tony Curtis, another fleeting object of my preteen swoon after my dad showed Some Like It Hot at my eighth birthday party on this fancy new contraption called a VCR, suffered a fatal heart attack.

I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Curtis for my first newspaper job in Marin County, which I’d love to link you to but this was back before every single printed thing got immortalized on the interweb tubes. He was a silver fox in a smoking jacket, twinkly-eyed and witty, sweet to his lovely wife Jill Vandenberg (I remember that she was wearing a white one-button blazer–with nothing underneath–it was an impressive rack) and charmed that I had seen his old movies and could turn a Yiddish phrase.

May these two men rest in peace, their accomplishments live on and their flaws forgotten.

And may those who are wise beyond their years learn to slow down and appreciate each day.

So…life. At 39, I don’t feel particularly old (unless someone mentions Justin Bieber) but I know too much (and have the left hip of a 70 year-old) too feel young. I own jeggings, but know full well I should not wear them without a tunic that covers my tush. I can stay up as late as I want, but I choose to snuggle down by 10 so I can get to yoga by 6. It’s a blessed place to be.

I dedicate this post to my son, whose brain is still too big for his britches: L’Chaim, little dude, L’Chaim!

8 thoughts on “Milestones to Muse On

  1. “So…life.”
    That is so…Abraham. Is he bored, unimpressed, uninspired, overstimulated, underwhelmed, under-stimulated, overwhelmed, or is he just dramatic and literary? Hmmm, I think I know someone like that.

    This 10 year old, like his 39 yr old hot mom, is tryin to figure his shit out. And sometimes it feels obvious, mundane and dubious. Literally too literal to be too literary.

    “So…life.”

    But other times it is subversive, brilliant and clever. Too subtle to be too literal.

    “So…Life.”

    Either so big its suffocating. Or so small it evades the vision no matter how hard you squint.

    Is it a rhetorical statement or an invitation for a hug and a reassuring nod that says “while it gets worse and then better, and is boring and more than meets the eye, it is well worth the time it takes to get there, so keep your eyes open and look out the window kid. Enjoy the ride.”

    In a few years he will appreciate the bold brush strokes and the subtle, indelible finger prints that are his own life’s evidence. Twenty nine more yrs to match yours.

    “So…life”
    “So…life?”
    “To life”

    To Yours!

    Happy birthday babe,
    I love you,
    El YentaMan

  2. Terrific post Yo Yenta- I hope you enjoyed your day. Looks like El Yenta man can hold his own on the writing- nice.
    Your family rocks.
    Shabbat shalom to all.

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