Steve Eaton: Old guy comes up short on personal goals and is still feeling groovy

Published: Monday, Oct. 29 2012 5:21 p.m. MDT

As I write this column, it is 4 a.m. and I’m eager for this day to get under way. Today is my 56th birthday.

Now, I know most grownups want to ignore their birthdays, but in our family we milk birthdays for all they are worth. Because of work issues, we can’t go on our traditional birthday getaway this weekend, so we did that two weekends ago. Does that mean my special treatment is over?

No, not at all. In fact, I took today off work. Three people are filling in for me today so I can play and try to capture that “feeling groovy” feeling from my childhood. It’s going to be a good day if the sun would just come up.

My wife has mastered the ability to be exceptionally kind and cruel at the same time around birthdays. About one week ago, a new wristwatch on eBay called out to me. It is a watch I really need and instead of yelling at me for wanting yet another watch, my wife told me she would buy this very cool timepiece for me. That’s the kind part. The watch came three days ago, and she has not let me even see or touch it yet. She’s making me wait until my birthday. (In this case, my birthday has to start, not at midnight, but at the time “normal” people get up.) That’s the mean part.

Now I should be even more depressed than most people would be to be this old. I don’t have the word “executive” in my title, and while I still hope to play for the Seahawks, I have to admit I probably will never make it to the Olympics. I have failed to achieve nearly all of my vocational and personal goals so far. I thought by now I would have been working as a genuine superhero for at least 20 years. While I am often genuine and I sometimes rip my pants just like the Incredible Hulk, I can’t fly, throw magic hammers at people or hang upside down on the side of a building.

But I have succeeded in other areas.

I have two lava lamps, a mahogany brief case and more than 50 watches.

I am appreciated in my eBay world. Here’s what a seller said about me on eBay after I bought my second watch from her recently, “Such a treat to do business with this ★★★★★★★★★★★ eBayer. Thanks so very much!” That’s 11 stars, in case you didn’t notice. How can I feel like a loser when I’m out there in the world earning 11 stars at a pop?

I have this column in the Deseret News that is read by thousands of people if I use the word “Jimmer” in the headline.

I am not only a “Preferred Customer” at Albertsons, but I think the robo-lady in the self-checkout lane at Smith’s really, really likes me. When I go to check out, she says in this voice just dripping with love and enticement, “Welcome, valued customer!” If you could hear her, you’d know she really likes me. (It used to be that every time I went through the self-help line she would get so mad at me that she would eventually order me to put all my food on the floor and back slowly away from the scanner machine with my hands in the air until the customer service lady arrived with her Taser.)

I have two kids who still claim me. These are smart, good-looking kids who are now old enough to pick another father or file lawsuits against me if they wanted to and yet they say they still like me.

I have a kind, mean wife who gets even prettier as she ages and who stays with me despite the fact she seems to also get smarter every year.

I have a new puppy, Sundance, who greets me at the door when I come home every day acting as if I am the smartest, kindest and best-looking person who EVER lived.

While my younger brother and sisters are way more successful than I am, I am still bigger than all three of them put together.

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