The Big Five-O · 3 November 2013

My kids say that I am an old man now because I just turned the big five-o. Not like in Hawaii Five-O, just the number. Five-zero. Fifty.

Apparently, turning fifty is a big deal. One friend said it is a half-century. Or halfway there. My kids think it is old but then again, they think thirty is old. And my wife says I am now old like she is. (She never lets me forget that when she was forty-five, I said she was almost fifty.) Of course, she is a little older than I am; so if I am old, she is really old. (But do not tell her I said that.)

I know that I deserve all the teasing I get for being older. And for anything really. One of my brothers said recently that I am just an easy target. Everybody present agreed. I had no reply. I guess I do make it too easy. (See Charlie Brown.) By what I do and what I say. All I need to do is open my mouth and something dumb will usually come out without too much of a wait.

Since I am such an easy target, it is a good thing I have developed a thick skin when it comes to teasing Especially, now that I am the big five-o. If I had gotten canes or those big hearing cones or any other great gag gifts for turning fifty, I would have merely laughed them all off. After all, I have been called “old man” for a long time already. At least by a couple of my brother’s friends.

Scott, the younger of my two brothers, has some long-time friends that he has kept in contact with since they were kids. They did pretty much everything together. I have often hung out with them too, even though I am older. One of those times, I happened to open my big mouth to mention that age difference.

They were inviting me to go somewhere with them and I asked if they were sure they wanted to be seen with Scott’s older brother. With the old man. After all these years, I cannot think why I would have said such a ridiculous thing. After all, I was barely in my twenties. Maybe I was trying to play the sympathy card to make sure the invitation was real or maybe it was something else. The only thing I really know is that it was a mistake.

Of course, their invitation was genuine. I not only got to go with them, I also got a nickname. Scott’s friends answered me, “Come along old man,” and they have been calling me “old man” ever since. One year, they even gave me a hat that said “old man” on it. They never gave me a cane but they did talk about it often. (I am sure they never gave me one because they were afraid I might smack the young whipper snappers upside the head with it.)

Of course, I will never live it down. I will always be the old man to my brother’s friends. And that is okay. I might in fact be an old man now.

But fifty does not seem so old. In some ways turning fifty seems like the beginning.

Maybe it seems like the beginning, or like I have a new lease on life because I feel healthy. Or maybe the saying is true. Maybe it really is all downhill from here on out. Maybe I am just relaxing as I coast down that long hill. Or maybe… Just maybe, the big five-o is not really that big a deal. Even if my kids and my friends all think I am an old man.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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