September 01, 2008

Tainted, in on the joke

Francis Bacon: Self portrait 1973

Being 38 a lot of people who were young when I was a kid have now become old, with the implication clearly being that for the kids I see today I'll be old before too long, when they're finally getting the hang of things. Always a lot of high school / university students in the summer classes, and the idea that I'll be almost 60 when they hit my age freaks me out a little, although I intend to make it in good physical shape. And when I meet them on the street 20 or so years later they'll also be tainted, in on the joke.

I started losing my hair when I was 18, so I've done the mid-life crisis thing enough times to have burned through it, and I shave my head with relief twice a week. I have a good skull, a stroke of luck.

I like living in an aging society, it means that I won't look out of place, but I also like folk young. It's such a seemingly arbitrary property, but no more so than being attracted to something because it's on sale, the same as before but just cheaper. When something is a bargain you can afford to take a risk, as the chances of regret are greatly diminished, and at a certain cost/wealth things become disposable. Much the same is true of youth, plus it's usually an attractive package. So little permanent physcial damage has been done to anyone under 21, little that a good rest and a month or two of diet and exercise couldn't put right.

The other reason why I like some young people is that they haven't f***ed things up yet, but then others are wasting away. I have nothing against people being young and confused - I spent years wandering around - but it frustrates me to see people tearing themselves apart within such narrow boundaries, "should I do A or B?", with neither appeals to them, without testing either to see if it really works, let alone considering C or extending their options even further. If you're going to f*** up at least do it in a spectacular fashion that leaves you twisted and broken from pursuing something you actually wanted.

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