They say that when you hit your 40s, your life is half over. We prefer to think of it as HALF EMPTY. Our age has finally caught up with our outlook on life. Remember, it is possible to turn that frown upside down...but you might pull a muscle.
By Rick Kaempfer & Dave Stern
This year both of us turned 44, and quite frankly, we’re getting a little worried. Let’s just say that neither of us are exactly in the greatest shape, and both of our fathers died young. We’re peeling off years at an alarming rate and we need to do something about it…and fast!
There are two possible solutions.
1) Exercise, eat right and do yoga.
2) The Rick and Dave solution.
The pundits will have you believe that the first choice is the most prudent option. Try it if you like, but at best, you'll add five, six, maybe eight years to your life. Big deal. That's maybe one Cubs playoff appearance, if you're lucky.
That's not the Rick and Dave way. We’re overachievers. We need more. With the Rick and Dave solution, you can add decades or more to your life.
How do we do it? We lie to ourselves.
Self-deception is not a half-hearted pastime. Simply saying: “Age is only a state of mind” or “Look at John Glenn! He went up in space in his seventies” is not going to cut it. The novice self-fibber's house of cards will come tumbling down the first time he pulls a neck muscle changing lanes. (Shut up. We've done it.)
No, self deception is an art. When you're a pro (like we are), you know you won't actually live longer, no matter how many times you say it. Words alone are ineffective. However, words that make it seem like you're living longer can bring you immortality.
With our help, a few well placed words can turn any situation into an excruciating how-long-have-I-been-here moment. As you continue to experience excruciating moment after excruciating moment, you will slowly but surely add years to your life. Before you know it, it won't even matter how old you are anymore, because it will seem like you've been alive since the beginning of time.
Try it yourself with a few examples for beginners.
1) "Let me take (Child A) to the pre-school birthday party!"
You don't have say another word. Father Time will take care of the rest. Don’t worry if the first few minutes of the party go by quickly--the kids are cute for about five minutes or so. After that, time starts to crawl. The more screaming kids, the better. The more fights, the slower the earth rotates. By the time the party is over, you will already have lived longer than your father.
2)"Honey, tell me more about your job."
Then get specific. Ask about paperwork: "What sort of information do they ask for in the requisition forms these days?" Or, ask about specific petty co-worker squabbles: "So, what's the status of Ralph's stapler. Any sign of it yet? I bet if you open Doris' desk..." Better yet, offer advice on how to deal with issues at work: "You know how I would reorganize your department if I were you?" Any of those office discussions will actually make the clock start moving backwards. Remember, God could have created three universes in the time it takes a typical husband to explain a new office voice-mail system.
3)"I sent back the RSVP for the wedding!"
Oh, not just any weddings. Family weddings don't count. Weddings of close friends don't count either. Any other wedding, however, will do. It’s a little known fact that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel between the salad and the entrée at his mother's best friend's daughter's wedding.
4) "So, you're an 80+ year-old die-hard Republican, huh?"
This one is almost too easy. Just bring up any liberal argument about any subject, with this simple opener..."You know what those people say?" That phrase lets a Republican know you're on his or her side. It's code for "You may speak freely on this subject." Buckle up before you do it though. That angry bronco bucks. If you want to add a decade to your life, try this one: "I have never seen such hatred in my lifetime like the hatred these people have for the President." Don't allow yourself to get distracted by the veins popping out of his neck or the throbbing temples of his "I hate their hate" hate. Listen to every word and nod. Then bring up illegal immigrants and welfare mothers living at the Ritz. If you really, really, want time to stop, bring up Bill Clinton. (But not without a paramedic standing by!)
5) "Let's get to your office Christmas party early this year, honey."
Again, time might go quickly initially because of the open bar, but it’s not going to last. After your third drink, your spouse will tell you to slow down before you do something embarrassing. Once the drinks stop flowing, and you have to actually engage in conversations without lubricated assistance, you'll be knocking on the door of the space-time continuum. After the third reference to "Ralph's stapler" and/or the third discussion of the weather with Ralph's wife, time will actually stop moving altogether. Many experts believe that Methuselah didn’t live all that long, he just sat through his wife's wacky holiday slide show a couple of times.
6) "Put little 3-year-old (Child A) on the phone, would you?"
That little three-year-old voice is so cute...for one second. Then, you're liable to get a play-by-play of the paint drying. "And um...my shirt is green...and um...squirrel!..." Don't set the phone down on your end either. That's cheating. You must simply endure. Every time you feel yourself about to say "Can you put mommy on the phone, honey," ask another question about the child's wardrobe or better yet, Dora the Explorer.
There you have it.
You probably never thought that reading this column would actually help you live longer.
On the other hand, if you’re a frequent reader of Half Empty, maybe that's why you're reading it in the first place.