I recently celebrated my 45th birthday. Well, maybe celebrate is the wrong choice of word. I’ve never really been a big proponent or advocate of birthdays. Even when I was younger, I never really celebrated my own birthday with the vigor and enthusiasm that most do. I always thought of it more as my Mother’s day anyway. After all, she did all the work. All I did was show up and terminally throw a wrinkle into her life. I do however now embrace having birthdays. If only because it’s much better than the alternative.

There was a time in my life that I wasn’t exactly setting a pace for longevity. But now that I have child number 5 slow roasting in the ole amniotic crock pot, I’m not allowed to die. I now have to be around for a really long time whether I want to or not. So with little feet pitter-pattering all over my house and my life, my birthday is now a good thing.

Every year on my birthday, I ask myself the same question. Is this the year that I become a grown-up? Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by “grown up”. Obviously I am an adult, if only on paper. I work my two jobs, pay my bills, get my kids to school on time, do the laundry and everything else that goes along with being my age. I don’t require ketchup and/or Ranch dressing on the table with every meal. My wife doesn’t cut my food for me or get me to eat it by making airplane sounds.

What I mean is that at what age does one’s general behavior mirror that which society and conventional wisdom dictate is appropriate for a rational adult. I can now say with staunch conviction that 45 is not that age. I woke the morning of my birthday, went to the living room, looked out the window, and immediately got super excited. Not because it was my birthday, but because it had snowed. Despite the facts that I was now 45, it was a Saturday, and it was about the ninth snowfall this winter, I had the enthusiasm of a child who didn’t have to go to school that day. I’m convinced that I will never outgrow this behavior.

Another thing I’ve come to grips with is the fact that I will never outgrow finding humor in farts. I don’t care if I get bitten by a vampire and live to be 700 years old, I will still always laugh at a fart. I don’t care if it’s mine or someone else’s, it’s funny to me. If an 87-year old-woman happens to be standing in front of me in line at the pharmacy counter and hammers out a bubbling whistler, I am going to laugh out loud with no remorse or effort of restraint. And if she permits me, I will give her a high five. I’m not proud of this, and I don’t even know why they are funny, they just are. Maybe someday someone will toot in my presence and I won’t laugh, and that’s how and when I’ll know that I’m a grown up. But I very seriously doubt it.

Shamelessly keeping with the flatulent theme, I’d now like to tell you about one of my favorite things to do while driving. One of the great features about the Honda Odyssey is that on the controls on the driver’s door, there is a window lock button.( I would imagine that most vehicles now have this feature, but this is the first vehicle I’ve ever owned that was made more recently than 1991, so forgive my enthusiasm.) When driving with my family on board the man van, every so often, I’ll feel a rumbling in my nether regions. If I sense that one is going to be particularly offensive (which happens often) I will discreetly reach over and depress the window lock button so that no one in the van but I can open them. I then sit and giggle like a small child as I listen to my wife and three daughters frantically gasp for fresh air and gag violently. These are the people I love most in the world and this is what I do for entertainment. What the hell is wrong with me? I know that I should be completely ashamed of myself, and my amazing bride could use this behavior as solid grounds for divorce. But I lack the maturity and dignity to have the necessary level of shame. And she’s pregnant again so she needs me around. I wish I could say that I was making all of this up, and that such behaviors were beneath me, but we all know I’d be lying.

More evidence that I’m not quite there came on my birthday. I spent the day at home with my three little girls, my wife, and my sister. The five most important females in my life. At one point that day, I found myself hiding in the dark in a walk in closet eating cookies. It’s not that I’m not allowed to eat them or that it goes against doctors orders. I just didn’t want to share, and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. So I sat in the dark like a freakin’ troll power shoveling Samoas into my gullet trying only to be gone for the same period of time it would have taken for a routine trip to the bathroom. Yes, that’s me at age 45.

My best friend is 3, my checks feature characters from Disney’s The Lion King on them, and my greatest talent is the ‘pull my finger’ trick. I’ve come to grips with all of this and I am perfectly happy being a child for life. Judge me if you must.

As it turns out, this particular subject matter is going to require more than just one week. So we’ll be returning to the lengthy list of ways in which I’ve proven that I’m not yet a grown up soon.

Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols

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