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Fried Rice

“Old man, look at yourself, you’re a lot like ME now!” I sang, turning around the words to Neil Young’s classic song as I dusted the furniture in the house.I walked by husband-head and dusted him, too.”Here, let me get those cobwebs off you,” I offered as I ran the feather-duster over his head.Husband-head pushed me away.”You’re really getting a perverse kind of pleasure out of this, aren’t you?” he accused. I stopped dusting and turned to look at him.”You bet I am,” I smiled. “I’ve been waiting for you to turn 40 for several years, and it’s finally happening!”I was pleased because I am nearly four years older than husband-head, a fact he never lets me forget.”I’m in my 30s and YOU’RE in your 40s!” he sings in a “nanny-nanny-coo-coo” type of tune with his thumbs in his ears and wriggling his fingers. “And when I’m in my 40s, you’ll be in your 50s, and when I’m in m y …””SHUT UP!” Turning 40 was a milestone in my life, mainly because I never thought I’d even MAKE it that far. And I figured any time after that were just bonus years I got for good behavior.So I couldn’t help but torture husband-head a bit.”Gee, this is your LAST week of being in your 30’s,” I pointed out. “That makes this the LAST football game you’ll ever watch while you’re in this decade.”Husband-head just scowled.”Oh, it’s not that bad,” I tried to reassure him. “Sure, you’ll wake up with aches and pains you never had before … you’ll check your hairline in the mirror every morning … you won’t be able to read the phone book unless it’s halfway across the room … but really, it’s no big deal.”Then I turned around so he couldn’t see me and laughed.”So what do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked when I’d regained my composure. “Check out the nursing home? Visit a couple of mortuaries?””Very funny,” he retorted. “Let’s just go out for a nice dinner or something.”Oh no, pal, I thought to myself. We are not going to let this one just slip quietly by. We are not going to rob all your buddies of the chance to roast your hinder as you enter into geezer-hood.I remembered my 40th birthday party and how touched I was by the kind and thoughtful gifts I received from my friends. A huge pair of white granny briefs, a bra with long, sagging cups, a pair of reading glasses (which I secretly used), a bottle of Geritol, denture glue.”No, we’re not having a quiet little dinner,” I decided. “We’re having a party. And the theme will be the … MIDDLE AGES!”I was cracking myself up, but husband-head was not amused.”Yes, and we can play pin the muzzle on your mouth,” he suggested.We finally decided on an Oktoberfest party, complete with beer and brats.”Can I have one of those big, blonde German women named Olga pop out of the cake?” husband-head asked hopefully.”Nope,” I said, patting his hand. “You’re too old for an Olga. She’d make strudel out of you. I was thinking more along the lines of Florence Henderson.””But she’s ANCIENT!” husband-head protested.Yep.”Remember when I met you on your 27th birthday?” I reminded husband-head. “And you tried to get me to go hiking at 2 a.m.””I was a stud, wasn’t I?” husband-head recalled wistfully.”Yes, a very inebriated stud,” I agreed.But I’ve noticed that as the big 4-0 day has grown closer, husband-head has become a little bit edgy.He was in a foul mood after attending a high school football game the other night with some of his buddies.”I don’t think that was the thing to do right before turning 40,” he admitted. “It made me feel so OLD!””It’s OK,” I whispered soothingly in his ear. “You’re like a fine wine, you get better with age and pretty soon you’ll be vinegar.”But like it or not, husband-head turns 40 on Oct. 9, 2004.Happy Birthday, honey! Heidi Rice is the Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.Heidi Rice is the Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.


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