David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
55 Lines Upon Turning 55

April 27, 2017

55. Not all are on my forehead, although that number is close.

54. For 53 years, I could celebrate, even from afar, my birthday with the person who did the hard work on that day; for 2 years now, I haven't, and it feels like more than 53 years.

53. Process is much more important than results.

52. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Abdelkader

51. "If there is an original thought out there, I could use it right now."*

50. Love has many disguises; it's too easy to be tricked into the masquerade.

49. Winning one out of three in racquetball is strangely satisfying when it is the last game.

48. There is no music in hell, even by the bands you hate.

47. y=mx+b

46. Even if you've spent your life as a good person, by 55 you probably owe at least a dozen people heart-felt apologies.

45.  Even if you've spent your life as a bad person, by 55 you have probably made at least a dozen people happy.

44.  A blank page still terrifies the hell out of me.

43. As in "Animal House," in college I did transport a drunk girl via shopping cart.

42. My friend, Mike, and I were trying to be gentlemen, getting her from a bar to her dorm room.

41. Getting a passed out girl out of a shopping cart into her dorm bed isn't easy.

40. Hint: Don't grab under her arms when she is wearing a loose sweater and nothing under it.

39. Because I am blue on a real colors personality test, I highly value people and relationships, but can hold resentments for incredibly long periods of time.

38. #39 might explain why I still hold grudges dating back to the age of 13.

37. "Hey, buddy, is that an AARP card in your pocket or are you just glad the buffet is open?"

36. A previously unheard song can still have an immediate effect on my soul.

35. For this birthday that song is Ray Davies' (and The Jayhawks') "A Place in Your Heart."

34. September 16, 1975: Rennie Stennett, 7 AB, 7H, 5R, 2RBIS.

33. "While this world can drive me fucking mad, just off to the side is love and laughter." **

32.  Isn't it sad that the older we get, the more we worry about repeating ourselves?

31.  In the near future, Forensic Files' episodes will hinge not on DNA technology but on personal data technology, and they won't be nearly as suspenseful.

30. My dogs know all of my bad habits, but luckily they won't tell a soul.

29. Is there any significance to the fact that on the day of my birth in 1962, the U.S.performed a nuclear test on Christmas Island under the code name of Aztec?

28.  Like everyone else alive, I watched the first moon landing on t.v.  However, I was in Australia, which already seemed a world away.

27.  5th Juror:  "Guilty!"^

26.  As I re-read, in order, all of the Michael Connelly Hieronymus Bosch novels, I realize the protagonist is not nearly as noble as I thought reading them in random order.

26.  Be careful what you wish for.

25.  Forgiveness is the most spectacular gift we can give, and yet it might be the hardest from which to part.

24.  Of 55 birthdays, the one spent picking dandelions is still the one I remember the most.

23.  A memory is only as good as the tape that plays it in our head.

22.  The Piccadilly from Heathrow to Cockfosters: God, I love London.

21.  Trying to come up with #21; God, I hope I don't have this stupid idea for my 100th birthday.

20.  Isn't it sad that the older we get, the more we worry about repeating ourselves?

19. "The broken wall, the burning roof and tower, and Agamemnon dead." ***

18.  Reading the current The Atlantic article about how late night comedy aided President Trump to his election, I am reminded of how The Atlantic is one of the last publications I genuinely trust.

17. Also in this latest edition of The Atlantic, a reference to Neuticles, which "allows pets to retain their natural look, self-esteem [my emphasis] and aids the pet's owner with the trauma associated with altering" (and check out the picture of "one lucky puppy" at the website).

16.  When dogs can get their self-esteem back, you know men can't be far behind (with full health care coverage) for Neumanticles.

15.  A person's word is less important that his or her commitment.

14.  Is it scary that since on my birthday I got to play someone else, Marcel Pfliger Fleming, in honor of a deceased faculty member at SMC, I enjoyed myself more than in my regular role?

13. "These were his only pleasures--to eat, to smoke, to sleep and to play upon his concertina." ****

12. Isn't it sad that the older we get, the more we worry about repeating ourselves?

11.  I have been a little afraid this week to ask my wife what she meant when she said my skin is now kind of reptilian.

10.  My mother kept detailed records about every book she read, her thoughts, questions, and general observations about it; I keep a meticulous database for every song I have ever owned and thus feel inadequate.

9. For a brief time, I tried to keep similar kinds of records for all my songs by using the site rateyourmusic.com, but quickly remembered that some of the biggest snobs on the internet are the music snobs.

8. "Time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions."*****

7.  In the midst of doing 62 performance evaluations, I am reminded that my hatred of having to justify grades is one main reason I stopped teaching.

6.  Shouldn't everything in life be pass/fail anyway?

5.  The last in-depth conversation I had with my father, on my birthday two years ago, was about whether he feared death (neither of us aware he would die within 48 hours); with 2 years to reflect upon it, that actually has a strange sense of comfort for me.

4.  If I have to explain #5 to you, I probably can't.

3. I have a picture of my father at age 55 at a computer with one of his best friends and fellow researchers, next to a stack of research papers that must be 4-feet high, representing all the peer review reading they had done in preparing their next paper; and I wonder, what do I have -- a pile of strategic plans?

2. Because my son has the cynicism and skepticism of an old man, I really wonder what he will write about at age 55.

1. Isn't it sad that the older we get . . . wait, what was I saying?

* Dylan, Bob. "Brownsville Girl." Knocked Out Loaded, 1986.

** James.  "Girl at the End of the World." Girl at the End of the World, 2016.

^ My one line from the SMC production of Jason Robert Brown's Parade.

*** Yeats, William Butler.  "Leda and the Swan." 1823

**** Norris, Frank.  McTeague, 1899.

***** Eliot, T.S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." 1915.