Last week, my wife decided to surprise me with a little pre-Father’s Day gift. While we had company over for dinner, she gleefully announced that she had purchased me a Groupon for three spinal decompression sessions. This came as a surprise to me because: a) I didn’t realize my back issues had progressed to the point where I needed spinal decompression. b) I didn’t know what the protocol was for reacting to this situation. I’m fairly certain I was the first person in the history of western civilization to learn he received a Groupon for spinal decompression while hosting a dinner party. I tried to wipe the confused look off my face, because quite honestly, my wife is amazing. She just thought that since I had complained about some back problems recently, this would be a nice way for her to help me out. (How she will react when her birthday gift is a Groupon for laser eye surgery is anyone’s guess). But this whole spinal decompression thing did get me thinking: All of a sudden, I’m not feeling that young anymore. While I’m still light years away from driving with my left turn signal on and walking around with a pocketful of Werther’s candies, I’m definitely feeling older these days. So to all the other dads out there who are in the same boat as me, here is my gift to you: 10 signs that you’re getting older this Father’s Day:
1. No more time for video games Perhaps you recall a time in your life when you freely played video games until 2 a.m. or when you staged NHL tournaments with your buddies on your PS3. But now that I’ve got kids, I don’t have time to play video games. The last version of Madden that I played had Marshall Faulk on the cover. And the last time I played a video game from start to finish was Wii Kids Dance Party 2.
2. People think you’re going bowling when you wear Sketchers Trying to stay fashionable as a dad is a delicate balance and a real challenge. You don’t want to be the guy wearing pre-distressed jeans and have someone ask, “Oh my God — are you okay? Did you fall down?” And footwear can be just as tricky, because once you reach a certain age, Sketchers can represent a midlife crisis.
3. You watch Entertainment Tonight and can’t identify 75 percent of the celebrities they’re talking about I’m too embarrassed to give more details about this one.
4. You can’t eat fried chicken without serious consequences For some reason, I’m not as embarrassed to open up about this topic. But I used to love fried chicken in my teenage years. I used to walk into KFC during their Two-nie Tuesday special and order two meals for myself. “Umm …the other meal is for my friend in the car.” But something happens when you turn 30; it’s like your body basically rejects fried chicken.
5. You don’t get invited to multiple weddings each summer In my 20s, it seemed like my entire summer schedule was jam-packed with weddings. One year, I think we had five or six weddings that we were invited to. But as time has gone on, the number of weddings we are invited has plummeted; leaving us only with obscure family weddings where we need to figure ways of how we’re going to avoid the big day.
6. You stop walking on escalators I noticed this the other day, when I got on the escalator at the mall and just stood there. Why didn’t I walk up like I used to?
7. You’ve got more hair If there was some excitement associated with puberty for a young man, it’s that facial hair finally starts to come in. Some teenagers even enjoyed getting the first hairs on their chest. But now, I’m starting to get hair in my ears. And I’m 35 years old. Where is the hair going to be coming in 10 years from now? Will I look like Teen Wolf’s older and less cool dad?
8. You just realized that Seinfeld episode you love is 20 years old You remember when George buys that cashmere sweater for Elaine with the red dot? Original air date: December 11, 1991.
9. You can’t sleep in anymore Before we had kids, our Saturday morning used to look something like this: Wake up at 9 a.m. — look at the clock in disbelief at how early it was — and roll over back to sleep for another two hours. Now, no matter where I am or what my schedule is, I will be awake at 7 a.m. at the latest.
10. You call your kids by the wrong name It used to drive me nuts when my mom would accidentally call me by my sister’s name. I mean, there were only two kids in the house, how could she screw this up? But, alas, I mix up my kids names on a fairly regular basis now.
Can you think of any other signs that I’ve missed?