From:                     Bill Muse

Sent:                      Wednesday, October 15, 1997 4:27 PM

To:                         'Dan Brougher'

Subject:                 Happy 30th Birthday


But there's really nothing to be happy about, Dan. The fourth decade of life is the first in which you begin to decline. During the first three, you got faster, stronger, smarter, and sexier. Now you'll get slower, weaker, fatter, and--perhaps most cruelly--less and less hip.


It's all part of nature's plan, you see. Your body is designed to last 25-30 years. 35 tops. It's only modern civilization that artificially prolongs your existence. As a male, you are nothing more than a swizzle stick stirring humanity's gene pool, and your body exists just long enough to help you accomplish that function. By age 30, Mother Nature presumes you have dispensed all the baby batter you're going to, so there's little need to keep you swift enough to elude predators, savvy enough to capture game, or attractive enough to mate. In a word, you are obsolete. To put it in terms you might better understand, your body is now running its logoff script.


A 30th birth anniversary is not so much a cause for celebration as it is a time to reflect on your wasted youth. But don't spend too much time pondering all those adventures you did not have, all those girls you never kissed, all those long-gone opportunities you thought would wait. Instead, think about all the new things that await you: fogeyhood, the effects of a lowered metabolism on your trouser size, flatulence, the increasing emptiness of the phrase "there's still time to do that", and of course hair: as it leaves your head, it will sprout like kudzu from your ears, nose, and back (the law of Conservation of Follicles).


But surely you can remain young at heart, eh? Sadly, no. If you have not yet voted Republican, you soon will. Before long, youthful fashions will appear idiotic to you, youth slang will hold no meaning save to remind you that your flower has long since bloomed, and young people will address you as "sir" rather than "dude". Shortly you'll find that the music you like most is on an oldies station. Oh, it won't call itself an oldies station, Dan; that would offend your tender sensibilities. "Classic Rock" or some other euphemism will be employed. You will try to stay on top of current trends, but they will confuse you at first, then frighten you. New music will all sound like noise to you, but music videos will still make as much sense as they ever did.


It is true that you are as young as you feel, but soon 30 will be as young as you can feel. You'll no more be able to "feel 21" than a hamster can "feel grizzly bear". Resistance is futile. And it causes stress that hastens hair loss. Give up.