As I get older, birthdays become less and less important. As a kid, I remember being shocked whenever I'd ask my dad what he wanted for his. "It's just another day . . ." he'd sigh, staring off in the distance at what I can only assume was his waning youth, before cracking open a Miller High Life and lighting a Marlboro. Ah, childhood.
It defied every sensibility I possessed at the time not to lie awake every night for two weeks prior to the big day, dreaming of the loot I was sure to acquire if I didn't burst from anticipation. I just couldn't comprehend my father's depressing indifference.
In many respects, my 29th birthday was the worst ever — however, the trip to the dentist when I turned 10 comes close. Not only am I now watching days fly off the calendar in an irrevocable descent into Thirtydom — although according to the NY Times, 30 is the new 21. So I've got that going for me, which is nice — I spent the day slaving over a column and a feature, and the evening praying that sweet death would rescue me from my flu-like malaise. Nothing like celebrating the last birthday of your twenties with a bottle of NyQuil and a comforter . . . in July.
Physical ailments aside, gift-wise, I made out like a bandit. The crown jewel was tickets to a Sox-Yankees game at Fenway in September, but my friend Ben came through with a close second.
I'd never heard of Chuck Klosterman until Ben introduced me to Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. Being as culturally aware as many of you are, I'm sure at least a few of you are familiar. However, I have only recently become enamored with Klosterman's witty brand of criticism. Page by page, he's becoming my favorite pop-culture analrapist. Thanks, Ben.
One of my favorite pieces of the book is the list of 23 questions he asks everyone he meets to determine if he can really love them. Since I can't make up my mind about most of you, I thought I'd give it a shot.
Question the first:
Let us assume you met arudimentary magician. Let us assume he can do five simple tricks--hecan pull a rabbit out of his hat, he can make a coin disappear, he canturn the ace of spades into the Joker card, and two others in a similarvein. These are his only tricks and he can't learn any more; he canonly do these five. HOWEVER, it turns out he's doing these five trickswith real magic. It's not an illusion; he can actually conjure thebunny out of the ether and he can move the coin through space. He'slegitimately magical, but extremely limited in scope and influence.
Would this person be more impressive than Albert Einstein?
Whaddya say, Solid State?