"I'm growing older, but not up
my metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck" - Jimmy Buffett
For many years, these were the words that I took very much to heart as the calendar pages fell from the wall and were eventually recycled in that very environmentally conscious way I have learned as time piled up along with this metaphor. I took great pride in the way I maintained my childlike fascination with toys and all things less than mature. I bought a little more time for reckoning when my son was born. Train sets and model cars were once again a part of everyday life in my house. We used to take trips to Toys R Us just to look around. For him.
Then there was the time I went into Best Buy and walked out with Guitar Hero, my son trailing behind me wondering aloud, "Do we like stuff like that, dad?" I spent hours in front of the television, pretending to play along with rock hits from long ago. Every so often we made a family event of it, with my wife on vocals and my son on drums. Sometimes we even got our friends into the act. It was an excuse for me to play with a plastic guitar and pretend that I was in a band. I even downloaded a couple Jimmy Buffett songs so that I could play along with the Coral Reefers. I already knew all the words by heart, I just needed to learn the faux chord progressions.
These days, the plastic guitars don't get much action. The toys have been put away, for the most part, replaced by screens and consoles that offer virtual experiences that appear more mature than the mounds of Legos that used to be piled under his bed. We no longer need to rush out to the toy store after we see the latest special effects comic book extravaganza to check out the swag. I miss it. Not just for my son, but for me.
I know that fifty-two trips around the sun doesn't mean that I have to give anything up. If anything, I can afford to be the consumer of all that stuff. Honestly? I don't want it as much anymore. Way back when I used to go to Jimmy Buffett concerts every summer, my niece went along when she was just a little girl. She wanted to know where the toys were. The good news was we could get her a stuffed parrot and then we could get back to the singalong. Happy Birthday to me.