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WebSideStory Pick of the Week! 3/16/98

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    By The Men's Editor

    Gary Sorkin

    I'm going to paraphrase one of my favorite monologues from a movie. It is taken from "City Slickers." It is the story of a middle-aged man, who "has lost his smile." Billy Crystal's character, Mitch, is asked by his son's grade school class to give a talk about his job. Mitch's job is selling advertising time for radio stations. In other words, he sells "air." The teacher calls the class to attention, and introduces Mitch. He stands in front of the class and begins to tell them of his job. Approximately half-way through his talk on "the joys of selling air," he realizes that he has lost his audience, as he sees his own son with his head down on his desk. He pauses, and then tells the class what they can REALLY expect from life. I've added my own special touch, but certainly give all just due to the screenwriters.

    Your 40's

    When you hit 40, you realize that you've wasted most of your life and you have less than half of it to go. Your company is talking of down-sizing, and your family is finding the hidden liquor bottles that you've squirreled away. Antacids, tranquilizers, and hair-coloring products fill your medicine cabinet. You have thoughts of running away to a South Pacific Island with the check-out woman from the local convenience store.

    Your 50's

    You reach 50, and you look in the mirror one morning to flex your once proud muscles, only to see sagging underarms, a protruding belly, and an un-protruding hairline. You borrow your wife's wrinkle cream to cover up those droopy bags under your tired eyes. You avoid all mirrors. Your doctor tells you that you need your first operation, only he calls it a "procedure." You have it done, and are in constant pain for six months. It takes you another three months to kick your addiction to the painkillers. Towards the end of your 50's, you start thinking that those chest pains just might not be heartburn after all.

    Your 60's

    At 60, your sex life is now down to a once-a-monther - and that's only during good months - and on full moons - during leap years. Each doctor's visit brings panic until you get back the tests and see that your prostate - your heart - your colon - your liver - your kidneys - still have some mileage left on them. Your chest pains grow as the kids leave home and find alternative life-styles. A conglomerate buys out your company and you are now taking orders from a 25-year-old kid. They call you the old man.

    All the rest

    In your 70's and 80's, you spend time looking up friends from high school. Most of them "cannot come to the phone." You gain a bit of wisdom, but cruelly you keep forgetting what it is. You have a major operation, and wind up in a wheelchair with a Jamaican nurse who rifles through your wallet everyday. You have found your smile, but you have no idea why. Besides, you haven't the foggiest idea of where you left your teeth. The TV Guide becomes your best friend.

    The truth?

    That in essence was Mitch's speech to his son's class. How much of that is true? None of it! It's just a silly monologue from a movie. We are all healthy vibrant men with great paying secure jobs. We all have a robust and fulfilling sex life. Our children are healthy and happy and call us all the time to tell us how much they love us. Life just keeps getting better.

    It's great to be a man.

    I'd say more, but I have to call my doctor. The tests are due back. I'm sure everything is okay, but I do feel that tingle in my arm when I,...never mind. Damn, where did I hide those pills?

    Has anyone seen my wallet?

    Men Editor's Archive columns

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