Monday, April 16, 2012

The Great Radish Incident of 1974

Now that spring is here, aaaaa …… chooooooooo!

Give me a second.

I have to share something. When I sneeze, the windows rattle, car alarms go off, and the United States Geological Survey alerts the public. I don’t sneeze once. I sneeze at least a dozen times. There are times when I check my Kleenex for gray matter. I once gave myself a concussion during a sneezing fit; seriously I had to go for a cat scan. They didn’t find anything. Laugh amongst yourselves.

Here is the strange part, if I scream goddammit or even better, mumble it when I stub my toe, Esmeralda immediately stops what she is doing and hides under the bed. If I sneeze, she just looks at me. Maybe she doesn’t care because she sneezes as much as I do, which as you know is why she got the name Esmeralda. I still check for unicorns and Mother Goose every time she sneezes. Only the gays will get that one.

Where was I? Oh yes, spring.

Who knew that this lifelong apartment dweller would have a knack for landscape design? Or so, my neighbors tell me. I have put in a walkway on either side of my house and had a truckload of mulch delivered, which I had to share with my neighbors, for how much shit can one man shovel – apparently, a truckload. I have planted bushes and flowers, color coordinated my pots of various and lovely designs, made a brick platform for my grill, seeded and watered my lawn, and created a pebble garden around my deck.

I need an intervention because every time I see a garden shop, I have to stop and shop!

Now, the best part is that for the first time since Betty Ford was found passed out under a sofa in the Blue Room, I can grow my own vegetables and make Michelle Obama proud as I fight Gay Jewish obesity. If you didn’t know, Gay Jewish obesity is quite the epidemic. Whitefish salad can take its toll on a girl’s figure.

Due to a large groundhog population in my mobile home community, we are advised to grow vegetables on our decks with screens around them or the ground hogs will be eating fresh tossed salads daily and farting nightly.

I did make one mistake, telling a member of my family that I had planted vegetables in my deck garden. If there is one thing my family loves to do it is remind you of every mistake you made from the time you pooped your first Pampers to the second before the conversation started. I was constantly reminded of how when I was five years old, I dented all my Matchbox cars, so they would look as if they had been in the Demolition Derby. Apparently, I am the reason we are not millionaires because the twenty or so cars I damaged would have been worth a fortune someday. For the record, I go to automotive swap meets all the time, and the most you will get for a Matchbox car is $15. So, considering I damaged maybe twenty cars, I owe my family $300.

Funny thing about my family. When I would point out their financial mistakes, they would get angry. For example, my mother used my penny collection to pay the newspaper boy when I was out playing football. There were over 300 coins in that collection. I had an Indian Head Penny that today is worth about $1,600. Somewhere there is a former newspaper boy driving a Cadillac on my dime … I mean penny. But God forbid, I should remind her of that. Somehow, I was portrayed as the bad guy for bringing it up.

So, I told my brother about my string beans and tomatoes that finally sprang up for spring, and being the Stern that he is, he asked if I was growing radishes. Leave it to my only living relative to remind me of the Great Radish Incident of 1974.

Oh my God.

Here is what happened. While my family was not known for having the best landscaped lawn. OK, that is putting it mildly. Our yard was designed by Lilly Munster, and my mother’s indoor houseplants were from the Morticia Addams collection. For a couple of summers, we attempted gardening. I remember one snotty neighbor, obviously a gentile because he had one of those huge gardens, and the goyim are really good at gardening (remember, God kicked us out of the garden to go to medical school – or Miami, I forget which), saying, “Oh look at your Victory Garden.”

Anyway, we grew green peppers, which I hate, cherry tomatoes, which my brother would eat off the vine every time one ripened, and radishes. One day, while watering the garden, I decided that the radishes were too close together, so I transplanted them, so they would be spaced properly. This might be when my OCD started. I had them perfectly spaced, but unfortunately, they died. Who knew you can’t transplant radishes.

Well, you’d have thought I took the magic beans and bought a donkey or was it the other way around?

The entire family was on my case because we had no radishes. Radishes! Who the fuck needs radishes? They were goddam radishes! I was eleven years old. Eleven-year-olds do stupid things, and in my case, try on his mother’s wedding dress, too. Come to think of it, if I ever get to use a time machine, I am going back to the summer of 1974 and transplant the radishes again, but this time while wearing her wedding dress. Then at least it will be worth mentioning for the next thirty-eight years!

When you think about it, I went from football practice to my secret drag show? I just got a brilliant idea – Drag Football!

Back to the current story …

One thing I always heard was, “You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.” For the record, no one in my family could take it, and I had to take it every time anyone mentioned gardening or a salad. When going out to eat with anyone in my family, I prayed there would be no radishes on the salad.

I decided at that point after the Great Radish Incident of 1974 never to attempt gardening in the presence of relatives again.

While we are pointing out gardening disasters, let me relay one from Dutch Village the summer my brother and I lived together. We had a small patch of grass behind our apartment that abutted the Monastery of the Poor Clairs. Did you know they take a vow of silence and only talk for twenty minutes a year? I couldn’t do that for an hour.

My brother decided to grow tomatoes. Our neighbor had planted elephant ears in her plot. I don’t know who went crazy with the fertilizer, but somehow the elephant ears were actually the size of elephant ears, and my brother’s tomato plants grew to more than seven feet tall! The tomatoes were the size of soccer balls. Every night I had a dream like the episode of Lost in Space when they landed on the planet where the plants had feelings and would scream if you picked an apple or a flower. I wouldn’t go out the back door for fear of being attacked by either the elephant ears or one of my brother’s steroid-laden tomato plants.

I think I did eat one of the tomatoes, which may explain why I was six-three at the beginning of that summer and two inches taller at the end, and I was twenty three years old at the time!

Of course, I have never mentioned the gargantuan tomatoes to my brother since then because I didn’t see a reason to dwell on the past … until now.

And for the record, I still love my brother, and I did not plant radishes. After all, I don’t have time to transplant them into neat little rows perfectly spaced apart, and I know if I planted them, for some reason that only my therapist can explain, I would.

If you love radishes as much as I do, follow me, email me, get on my list.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Suffering Happily

Christian holidays are festive and filled with fun activities and sweet food like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and fruit cake. Jewish holidays are filled with suffering and food that sits in your gut for days. Hanukah may be the exception, but then again, made correctly, latkes can constipate you halfway to Purim. Even though Purim is festive, there is a fast involved. With every Jewish holiday (and we have many; look at a Jewish calendar), there is always fasting.

“I can’t make it to work today; it’s the Fast of Gedaliah.”

Do you know how many people have converted to Judaism just to get more days off? Jews for Jesus only work three weeks a year!

But, you gotta give it to the Goyim. They have two High Holy Days. Christmas and Easter. Both are marked by sales and pagan traditions. I will never get the Goyim. They celebrate the birth of the Messiah by waiting in line at Best Buy for twenty hours for an iPod XIV that they wrap and put under a tree they cut down and put inside the house. They celebrate the resurrection by chasing colored eggs all over a lawn, while being chased by a giant bunny, then wear fancy hats in a parade down Fifth Avenue.

By the way, I love Easter Parade with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ann Miller. Big surprise, huh?

The only thing that drives me crazy is everyone wishing me a Happy Easter. This year, I responded with Happy Passover! I confused a few of my fellow Trailer Parkers.

When I lived in Mount Pleasant, which is neither a mount nor pleasant – discuss, we had a neighbor I called “Happy Holiday”; her real name was Chicken. I am not making that up. She would wish you a happy whatever until the next holiday. So, Merry Christmas through New Year’s, Happy New Year through Martin Luther King Day, Happy Martin Luther King Day through President’s Day, you get it. I would wish her the Jewish holidays in the same manner, but with so many holidays, I would get mixed up.

Is it Happy Tish B’Av or Merry Tu Bishvat? Oy, this is giving me a headache.

The irony is many Jews celebrate Christmas and Easter – at least the gift giving and chomping ears off bunnies part, but when was the last time you heard Bubba say to Dookey, “What’cha doing for Shavuot?”

For almost five decades, I have been explaining Jewish holidays to my gentile friends. So, for the last time:

“They tried to kill us; they didn’t; let’s eat.”

Of all the Jewish holidays, one makes you suffer for so long that you have to “count the omer” until your next bowel movement, and it is my favorite holiday of all! Yes, Passover or Pesach to those of the Hebrew persuasion.

For eight days, we get to eat more tasteless constipating foods than at any other time on the Hebrew calendar, and I love it. Here’s why. The holiday starts with a massive spring cleaning, and my inner Joan Crawford comes out in full force. “I am not made at you; I’m mad at the Chametz!”

My mother loved Passover; my father hated it. Then again, he didn’t like anything to do with Judaism, or Jews, or being Jewish. Yes, he was Jewish – very Jewish.

On Yom Kippur at around 10:00 am in the morning, he would start kvetching about going without food and being forced to suffer needlessly. Seriously? You are only skipping two meals. Oy Vay. On the second day of Passover, he would kvetch about how the matzah was tearing up his stomach. At my bar mitzvah, he complained that the rabbi’s sermon was too long and that I should have stopped at one Torah portion and chanted an abbreviated version of my Haftorah.

And once, he complained that my name was too Jewish.

Our Passover Seders ranged from the drama filled small family affairs with just Grandma in attendance to the free-for-alls we would have at Aunt Devera’s house. I love my Aunt Devera, but those services were so non-Sederlike. Uncle Seymour would scream at his sons, Aunt Anita would spill a glass of wine then have a meltdown, my father would make some off color joke that made no sense, Mother would compete for center of attention, and Aunt Flossie and I would roll our eyes at everyone else. The highlight was Rosalee’s homemade gefilte fish. It was fried, and the fish was unidentifiable. Even Aunt Anita’s cat turned up its nose at those smelly, crusted fish balls. To this day, I don’t know what she put in her gefilte fish, and I don’t want to know for fear of finding out I ate skate or viperfish.

My brother and I reached a point where we refused to go anymore because we found the whole evening to be sacrilegious. Can you imagine your children complaining because a Passover Seder is not traditional enough?

The last holiday I spent with my mother was Passover, and I led the service for the first time. I had to balance it between traditional and quick because Dad or Arnold the Gentile-Wannabe was there as well. It was the least drama-filled Passover of my life, and I think it was because we knew it would be my mother’s last one.

What came next was the strangest Passover I ever led. I was dating Blond Frankenstein, and it turned out one of his Jewish friends had never been to a Passover Seder, so I invited him and six other people. I was one of two Jews at the table. The service and food, if I say so myself, were nice, but they drank seven bottles of Manischewitz Blackberry wine! The next day, all of them complained they had diarrhea. I responded, “We don’t drink Mainschewitz by the bottle!” I don’t remember one full bottle being consumed at a Seder, let alone six.

Jackie Mason says gentile homes have no cockroaches because there is no food. How much gin can a cockroach drink?

Later, a new tradition started with rotating Passovers with my friend Ed with various friends and family, mostly his, rotating in and out. The part formerly played by Grandma was now being played by his sister Nancy, and I’ll let Ed talk about Nancy in his blog (DCXPAT). An entire treatise could be devoted to stories of Nancy’s idiosyncrasies. I like Nancy, but then again, I am not related to her.

Our services were quick but covered all the important parts, and we always enjoyed ourselves. Last year, Ed moved to Palms Springs. Take all the overly tanned, wrinkled up Jews in Boca, transform them into overly-tanned, wrinkled up Gays, remove the humidity, and you have Palm Springs. He is going to kill me for that one. I couldn’t help myself.

So, now I needed a new tradition. Do I host? Do I participate in the synagogue Seder-match (a system I created ten years ago that the Rabbi scoffed at but is still operational). But, I also longed for a more traditional Passover Seder rather than the abbreviated edition.

Then I received an invitation from my good friend, Allan. I accepted. He is one of my favorite people, and I knew it would be a good and traditional Passover Seder.

Not only was the service perfect, the company and the food were just as wonderful. But, the best part of all was that for perhaps the last time in my life, I was the youngest at the table, and I wasn’t at a nursing home. I couldn’t believe it. That meant I would get to read the four questions and open the door for Elijah.

I never felt so young and beautiful in my life! Thank you, Allan.

Happy Passover, Everyone!

Do you have four questions, ask me, get on my list, follow me!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not a Famous Jewish Athlete

There is a television commercial I cannot stand about a once-a-year osteoporosis medicine called Reclast. A middle-aged woman in a garden shop pushes a wheelbarrow, goes swimming with her friend, buys a tacky, lavender sequined dress, and wears the dress for dinner that evening. The part that annoys me more than anything is how it begins with the woman saying, “Hi, I’m Jane, and I’m an on-the-go woman. I’ve been active all my life.”
The reason it annoys me is that I am Jane! I have even bought a tacky dress and worn it to dinner, but in my defense, I never wore lavender sequins.

Although I have been active all my life, I am hardly an athlete for two reasons. Guess what they are? Having trouble? What is the title of this blog? Now, you got it.

When I was nine years old, Mrs. Kroskin, my friend Suzanne’s mother (and I have known Suzanne since infancy), decided to produce a show for our Rodef Sholom Temple Hebrew School about famous Jews in show business. The first draft had the show going on for forty days and forty nights. She and I butted heads over creative differences. I think Mrs. Kroskin was not used to such an opinionated and obnoxious child, who had a flair for the dramatic. I was such a diva. However, she did recognize talent and asked me to impersonate Al Jolsen singing “Rock a Bye Your Baby.” I did sing it on one knee, but I refused to wear black face.

Her first inclination was to produce a show about famous Jewish athletes, but that program only lasted ten minutes.

Now, whenever anyone discussed the lack of famous Jewish athletes before 1972, someone was bound to mention Sandy Koufax, who refused to pitch the first game of the World Series in 1965 because it fell on Yom Kippur. My argument was you only mentioned one Jewish athlete, and although my first pet was a Repenomamus,* the esteemed Mr. Koufax was before my time.

Currently, Sandy Koufax serves as a member of the advisory board of the Baseball Assistance Team, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping former Major League, Minor League, and Negro League players through financial and medical difficulties.

After 1972, we had Mark Spitz, a great athlete, who was also blessed with good looks and a pre-Tom Selleck, porn star mustache, who did more for Speedos than anyone else in history. But, he suffered the curse of all Jewish athletes – a Jewish mother. Although accepted to dental school, he decided to pursue other options after the Olympics. To this day, his mother says about her record-breaking son, who made Jews everywhere proud, “He could have been a dentist.”

This reminds me of the joke my friend Bill told me years ago. The first Jewish President of the United States invites his mother to the White House for the weekend. His mother tells her friend about the invitation.

“My son invited me down for the weekend.”

“Your son the doctor!?!”

“No, the other one.”

I was born with a Jewish body. Jewish bodies are not designed for tossing balls, running laps or hitting things with sticks – except rocks if you are Moses and you’re angry. They are designed for sitting in a room and studying. As the late Totie Fields said, “All Jews have bad eyesight and bad feet.”

Do you know the boy who hits puberty, fills out like Tarzan, and is blessed with natural athletic abilities? He isn’t Jewish. And if he is; he’s adopted.

I was born with the least athletic body God ever created. I know what you’re thinking. But Milton, you are so sexy and hot and a vision of health and vigor, how can that be? Oh … you weren’t thinking that?

By the time I reached puberty, I had a body like McLean Stevenson’s, who is also dead – narrow shoulders, droopy boobs and wide hips. A classmate said of me when we were getting weighed in ninth grade, “You are built like a girl.” She wasn’t lying. I was built like my Nana, whom I have mentioned I look exactly like in drag.

In spite of my Venus de Milo shape, I was determined from an early age to work with what I had. I played football, but due to poor eyesight and lack of coordination, I played center. All I had to do was hike the ball and mow down whoever was in front of me. Since I was a foot taller than everyone else, I excelled in this position. They tried making me a receiver, but I couldn’t see the ball until it either smacked me in the face or flew over my head.

With the mention of football, I have to say something about little league football. Why is it every little league coach makes his son the quarterback of the team regardless of his abilities? My little league coach’s son was named Dookey. I am not kidding; that was his name. And, you doubted my Southern roots. By the coach’s own admission, Dookey had more penalties than any other player in the league, and he sucked at football! But in every game, he was the first-string quarterback. I cannot begin to estimate how many balls I hiked to him that he dropped. As a result, the South Morrison Vikings lost all but one game.

I liked football because my father was so far away from the action that you couldn’t hear him criticizing me on the few occasions he was sober and came to a game. Basketball was another story.

Playing center in footbll is an easy way to hide one’s lack of athletic ability. Unfortunately, in basketball, this is impossible. Hating basketball was also a factor. Buy me tickets to any sporting event, and I’ll go. I don't like to watch them on television, but I do like live sports. Buy me tickets to a basketball game, and I don’t care if the seats are next to Jack Nicholson, I will pass.

When you’re tall, everyone wants you to play basketball. Ucccchhhhhhh. I played two seasons for the Jewish Community Center team. I was forced to play the first season and tricked by my mother into playing the second. I forget what our mascot was – maybe a gefilte fish. What’s worse is that on a church league, which this was, the basketball courts are only a few feet from the bleachers. My father, who was usually drunk, would sit courtside and scream at me to pay attention, go this way, go that way, do this, do that, the entire game. He was obnoxious and relentless. Other parents would tell him to calm down. Then, he would scream at me the entire ride home about how bad I was. I had to take a Milltown after each game. Did I chain smoke then?

I often wonder how I didn’t turn out to be a serial killer.

Ironically, Grandma, his mother, would relay stories about how he couldn’t even make a team because coaches would laugh at his lack of athletics or ability. But, my issues with Mr. Macho and my masculinity are between me and my pharmacist, bartender, and kick shield.

Interestingly, every team I ever made, not just the South Morrison Vikings, was always the worst in the league. Without fail, the season would end with our losing all but one game. I think we once lost to a school for the blind in a blowout. My high school football team had the worst record in the entire state.

At the age of fifteen I began my quest to turn this Dodge Aspen of a body into an Imperial. I did what every gay boy did back then. I bought a weight set after the Charles Atlas program didn’t work.

I have never quite made it to Imperial, but I have managed Chrysler Newport a few times in my life.

With discipline and training, I transformed my pear shape into one that on Manhunt would be described as athletic and on Girlhunt would be called big boned. Unfortunately, what I ended up with were gay muscles.

For those of you who prefer the opposite sex, gay muscles are only for show. They look great in a tight T-shirt, but they are useless when it comes to sports and most day-to-day tasks. This is why gay people never rent a U-Haul; we hire movers. Have you ever asked a gay person to help you move a couch? If he says yes, film it. You will see a guy who can bench press 250 pounds for reps having trouble picking up one end of a sofa. It is a phenomenon that scientist cannot explain.

These shortcomings have not stopped me from pushing my body to do things it was never designed to do. In my twenties, in spite of Jewish bad feet, I took up powerlifting, and I joined a volleyball team. When I spiked a ball, people got hurt. In my thirties, in spite of my lack of coordination, I learned modern, ballet and tap dancing, and I became a long-distance runner, while starring in my own cable-access talk show – The Milton Rose Show, filmed in West Palm Beach, Florida. Did you catch it when it was on?

In my early- to mid-forties, I wrote five books and more than four dozen short stories, all of which were published. I had to prove I was still Jewish and preserve my spot in the afterlife by having intellectual pursuits for awhile.

When I first began any of the above activities, I wasn’t just terrible, I was a disaster waiting for a place to happen. But I had a few things going for me, determination and a pushy personality, and even though I love being in charge and barking orders, whenever I am trying something new, especially something athletic, I assume I know nothing and listen and take directions very well. It's OK that it will take me longer than everyone else to get it. That is how I became a good center on the football team, an experience I always draw from when pushing this body that was made for drag to do something only a straight guy would do. Also, my previously mentioned demographic, straight men, love helping me succeed at sports – it is the strangest thing.

As if Krav Maga wasn’t enough punishment for me (and by the way, the instructor says I am doing really well – or he likes the fact that I pay my monthly dues on time; I don’t know), I decided to do something I had not done in more than a quarter century, join a team.

It would have made sense for me to join a volleyball team or a swim team (I did that, too), or even a flag football team, but for some weird reason, I chose a sport I have never played – softball. I have not swung a bat since … seriously, I can’t remember.

So, I bought a glove, a bat, cleats, and batting gloves (Walmart has a great sporting goods department), and wearing a color coordinated outfit with my hair perfectly coiffed as usual, I showed up for my first practice. Was I good? No, I sucked lemons, but the coach, who is one of those guys you know was born with a naturally athletic body, worked with me, and I was able to hit the ball – twice! I actually caught it a few times, too.

After our first practice, we had lunch and a meeting to discuss the season and uniforms. The uniform discussion took up most of the meeting. Did I tell you it was a gay softball team in a gay softball league? Thank God! The uniforms will be both tasteful and flattering.

Being a gay team means at least half of the players across the league, especially the ones with gay muscles, will probably suck as much as I do!

Do you suck at sports? Follow me, join me, tell your friends – I need my own reality show!

* A three-foot long, thirty-pound dog-like prehistoric mammal that roamed the earth with dinosaurs and was known to attack them in packs and eat them. As a point of reference: Esmeralda weighs 26 pounds.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Used to Be Hot

There was a time in my life when I marveled at the fact that I had friends going back ten years. Now, I have friends going back as long as forty years (at least that is as far as I will admit). I am not bothered by this; however, I will never get used to having friends my age who are grandparents. How in the hell did that happen?

When you don’t have kids, your sense of time is a bit off. For example, when my friend Johnise’s daughter went to college and cashed in the matured savings bond I gave her mother when she was born, I was befuddled. I am rarely befuddled; dumbfounded, yes, but rarely befuddled. How could she be that old, and how could a savings bond I bought be mature? Where had the years gone?

The mirror is not a good indicator of aging – unless you’ve really let yourself go. In that case, I can’t help you. You’re done.

The first time I realized how much I had aged was when I had to renew my passport five years ago. After comparing the photo from my twenties to the one of me in my early … never mind which decade, I spent the next two days studying my face in the mirror and saying, “When did that happen? How did that get there?”

I have one thing going for me as far as aging, and one going against me – kind of a blessing and a curse. On my mother’s side, we don’t age drastically and tend to look younger than most people our age. On my biological father’s side, the men have not lived past fifty-eight. So while we continue to look youthful, we make a beautiful corpse.

“Wow, look at him. He looks younger than I do, and he’s dead!”

“He’s better looking, too!”

Aging for average people is easier. For beautiful people, aging is hell. These are the people who keep plastic surgeons in business. Lately, I have observed a new trend in Hollywood facelifts. There is a surgeon out there who is making everyone look like Donald Duck. I was watching Happily Divorced last week, and Morgan Fairchild was a guest star, but I didn’t know it was Morgan Fairchild until she spoke. Her cheeks were puffed out, her mouth had a permanent grin, and her eyes were slits. The same thing happened when Delta Burke was a guest on Drop Dead Diva. Barry Manilow has also taken a trip to the same doctor, but his results are the most drastic. He can no longer open his mouth! I am a fan of Barry Manilow’s, but the last thing a man should do is get a facelift. They just come out looking like old lesbians.

My how times have changed. In the 1970s, Aunt Dorothy’s sister got a facelift, and they pulled her so tight that she couldn’t close her eyes. Now, they pull someone so tight, they cannot open or close their mouths either.

The strange thing is none of these people look younger or even better. They look scary. What do they see in the mirror? Do they have an urge to go pantless in sailor suit?

My friend Frank has a neighbor who is in her sixties. We were heading out one day, and he stopped to speak to her. I could tell she never had any work done. As he drove away, I remarked that she was a very attractive woman. He agreed. Sure she looked her age, but she looked fantastic. She had aged gracefully. We both commented on how she had obviously had no work done and shouldn’t.

Now, all of us have that moment, as I mentioned above, when we realize we no longer look eighteen … or twenty-nine.

Do you want to know how you’ll look in ten years? Look at yourself first thing in the morning. You hate me now, don’t you?

When I first came out, I must have looked good because every guy over forty would buy my drinks in a bar. Having a Jewish liver, it didn’t cost them much. The first time I had to buy my own drink was the last time I think I went out to a bar.

I figured I was no longer young and hot. In the gay world, I was considered middle-aged. I had turned thirty!

Unlike many gay men, I accepted my new status and moved on. The thirties are a difficult time for gay men. You are no longer a boy toy or fresh meat or that term I hate more than any other – a twink. You also aren’t old enough to be a daddy.

Then, your first gray hair comes in, then another and another, and all of a sudden, twenty-year-olds, who just a few birthdays ago wouldn’t give you a second look want to be your boyfriend. Oy vay.

Strangely, I have never been attracted to twenty-year-olds, even when I was one. I always liked men in their forties. However, I am still attracted to men in their forties, which concerns me because I don’t want to be the eighty-year-old troll who inappropriately grabs forty-year-old men. Wait a minute. My genes say I’ll be dead long before then, so I’m cool.

I asked my friend Danny what was the stage between Daddy and troll, and he said, “Last week.”

The forties are another strange time. This is the last decade when you can tell people your age, and they say, “You don’t look that old.”

Until …

You hit forty-nine. That is when God plays a cruel trick. Until forty-nine, the aging process is quite subtle. A slight change here, a slight change there, then BAM!

You look in the mirror one day and scream, “What the fuck!”

That is what happened to me. Despite all the years of moisturizer, night creams, and sleeping in a vat of formaldehyde, in one year, I aged ten years. I knew I had aged rapidly when someone asked me how old I was and when I told him, he just nodded.

At first, it was difficult. I wore a veil whenever I had a social engagement, and I only used twenty-watt pink bulbs in my house. As a matter of fact, I avoided all situations with bad lighting, and I never, I mean NEVER, looked down. This is when you go from being versatile to being a strict bottom. Believe me, you’ll look better. If not, then you will never have sex in the daytime again!

However, I soon learned to accept my aging face. But there are times …

The other day, I ran into an old friend from more than twenty years ago at an event, and we were having lunch with a bunch of other people afterward. While we were catching up, someone asked him how we met. He relayed to them the story and said, “Milton was in his twenties then, and he was hot.”

To which I replied, “Yes, I used to be hot.”

Instead of smiles, I got looks of pity.

Then, I swigged my Geritol with a vodka chaser and ordered another – a double.

If you no longer look in the mirror, follow me, join my email list, tell your old, old, old friends.