I am 40 this year. Even typing that seems almost unbelievable. However, despite attempts to brow beat my mother into admitting that she got my, and my younger sister’s dates of birth wrong way round, I have had to admit that I am indeed middle aged. I was the last year to do O levels so indeed I must be 40. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about this. I have looked into cryogenic freezing but that seems ineffectual: I have tried to rationalise that I probably have about half my life left but it does not help. Even retirement is no consolation since as we all know by the time I am allowed to retire the retirement aged will be 120 and I am most unlikely to live that long. Death not life begins at 40.
In my despair my wife is no help to me. She has already just (she made me put that in) achieved middle age. Women, however, seem more sanguine about this ghastly state of affairs. Elenwe just cannot understand what all the fuss is about: she thinks I should just get on with life: well what’s left of it. However, it is clear: I must now have a midlife crisis. This is not a voluntary issue: it is like salmon returning to spawn, like wilder beasts migrating, like fundamentalists being dour; it is inevitable, even predestined. I am midlife-crisis- man (MLCM for short). The only choice is how I am to conduct this midlife crisis. There are a number of tried and tested options one can follow:
Firstly I could buy a motorbike. This option has benefits: motorbikes are relatively cheap; they allow transportation; they make scary noises and allow one to look manly. Unfortunately this is not an option for me. I am too small and weedy to control a big hard looking motorbike and a scooter would just look silly at my age. I could not grow a proper beard even if I tried; I am too much of a coward to ride a fast sporty motorbike. Unlike some men having their midlife crisis I am not so disenchanted with life that I do not fear death or serious disability from crashing the thing. As such the motorbike option was closed to me.
My next thought was swopping the wife for a younger model. This was initially quite attractive: after all the wife is no spring chicken herself (being older than me – ha got that one in when she was not looking) and, hence, an upgrade might be no bad idea. I toyed with the wife swop idea: I work with lots of young women. However, it was not realistic. I was not attractive to women when young so I have little chance now I am slightly balding, four eyed and weedy rather than just four eyed and weedy. I have lost acne and hair in approximately equal amounts. Furthermore getting a new wife would introduce so many other problems: I like my in-laws and they would disown me (a bit unacceptable of them but inevitable). My mother would be very cross (she likes the wife); the children would be cross. Finally and clearly least importantly I am desperately fond of old Elenwe: she is much prettier than I could realistically have expected to get; she is a very good cook and I do feel I got a good deal at the wife shop when I got her.
However, the wife pointed to the way out for the midlife crisis: I had recently had to buy the wife a new car. Here was the option for MLCM that I could seize: buy a ridiculous car. As such I trawled the internet looking for cars of suitable price and ridiculousness: Ferraris were dismissed; I am not that rich nor that extraovert. Furthermore having decided against the new wife idea I was stuck with the fact that she insisted on a car which could transport the offspring. Fortunately like so many middle aged men before me I discovered that Porsches have back seats. This was a revelation: my life was saved; my marriage secured; my self esteem salvaged (even if I look like a complete prat to everyone else). For the Ulster Prod they are even made in the Prod bit of Germany.
Hence, it was back to the car dealer. Second hand car dealers are cunning people: they can spot a weedy, balding man in a dishevelled suit a mile off; they may use drones like the US military in order to keep tabs on them. Certainly they must have had one following me after my last foray into their domain. At the car dealers I was told that no this was not a ludicrous idea; I would not look like a fool having a mid life crisis; of course this car (nearly as old as me) would be reliable and definitely it would make me seem youthful, attractive to women and lots of other things I have never been.
Trying out the car revealed some oddities: yes there was no real room in the back seats but the helpful car salesman explained that if you own a Porsche not only do you not age but your children do not grow either so they fit forever. The boot is rubbish and in the front but again a Porsche spontaneously cleans your clothes and feeds you as you drive so avoiding the need to carry shopping. The ride was a bit on the hard side but Porsche have an agreement with the government to improve all roads Porsche drivers drive on (how the car salesman knew this and I a political anorak did not is unclear but a second hand car salesman told me so it must be true).This car was becoming more attractive by the moment. Furthermore if the wife left me (let’s face it who could blame her) Porsches produce special chemicals which attract good looking young women in a special way and make weedy balding men look handsome and attractive.
Unlike most midlife crisis men I had a further advantage: the wife is very into cars. When I started going out with her more than 10 years ago she liked my then new and trendy (well trendy for a sad fundie) car: the first day she drove it she raced a fancy Mercedes from the Ballygawley roundabout. She has become a bit disenchanted that I had not changed it during all the time I have known her. Elenwe clearly felt that although her husband would look a total twat she did not care as she would get to drive the Porsche. I suspect the car salesman may have told her that Porsches also produce a chemical which attracts young men especially to attractive early middle aged women: well actually we all know that is actually true; Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson (yes I know it was an Alfa Romeo in The Graduate but Ulster’s fundamentalist toyboys would want a bit more reliability and Alfa’s are made in Italy: far too Catholic).
As such there was no escape. In reality even buying a Porsche would not solve the midlife crisis. In actual fact it would worsen it as I might then loose the wife forcing me to relearn cooking, tidying and other overrated bourgeois habits. Maybe I will look into hair transplants next; Or stand for election. I am a bit late for the latter: well for both actually.