The Goat Cheese Incident

April 2003 - I should have seen the signs. Well, all right, let's be honest. I did see the signs. But, I didn't want to. I tried to ignore them, but they just kept popping up all over the place. The jokes. The music. The goat cheese. So many signs that I just couldn't ignore them anymore. So, at 10:00 AM this past Friday, it became official. I'm old.

Even now, when this revelation has had a couple days to sink in, I still don't want to believe it. I listen to alternative music. I play racquetball a few times a week. I drive faster than the speed limit on a semi-regular basis. I'm not old. I'm just coolly mature. The problem is that only people who are coolly mature like me understand what it is to be coolly mature. Our coolness is wasted on the young.

Take, for example, my co-workers. Many of them are under 30. Some are younger than 25. And a few just got their license to drink. They're nice people, smart people, energetic people. And I can't talk to them. Just the other day, we were discussing religion or church. So, I said something about the "church of the poison mind." Do you get it? Boy George? Culture Club? The Eighties? Oh, never mind.

On another occasion, the name Warren Zevon came up. One of my 20-something co-workers piped up with, "Who's that?" For a minute, I wasn't sure if he was asking about Warren Zevon. I mean, doesn't everyone know who he is? Apparently not. But, the light bulb did go on when I mentioned "Werewolves of London." Phew. A cultural allusion saved from the brink of irrelevance.

I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to meet someone who gets it. I got to talking to a woman from New York who was in Harrisburg on business. I told her the story of the only time I've ever been to Madison Square Garden. We drove to NYC in an orange and white VW bus. We sat in the very top row of the Garden. We enjoyed a performance by John Denver, with Starland Vocal Band as the opening act. The woman immediately understood the whole Seventies-ness of it all. If you don't, then never mind.

All of which brings me to the goat cheese. I tried some the other night. In fact, I tried it on my last official night of being young. The goat cheese pushed me over the line. The goat cheese took me from being young when I went to sleep, to being old when I woke up. Some people might say it was the two martinis, one beer, and two whiskey and Cokes that I also had. But, I think it was the goat cheese. A coolly mature person like me can't think otherwise.