March 23, 2013 by serverscorned
It’s my 40th birthday. I’m officially old and bitter. When did that happen? The old part…I’ve been bitter for years. If I live to be 80 then I’m technically in the back nine of my years. What the hell? I’m hoping there’s been some sort of mistake on my birth certificate. Maybe I was a really smart kid and my parents wanted to send me to school early so they had my birth certificate forged. Nevermind the fact that I didn’t graduate high school. I was just so much more mature than my classmates that I couldn’t bare to stay in school with them so I got my GED and headed off to community college to be with my intellectual equals. Nevermind that I withdrew failed in my first semester and never went back. I mean really, I was too smart for school. Yeah, that’s it. I needed life experience. Enter my career in the restaurant business.
I’ve worked all kinds of waiting table gigs. From corporate to fine dining to mom and pop ventures, I’ve done it all. My current home away from home is a casual individually owned pizzeria and craft beer taproom where I’ve been a force to reckoned with for 17 years now. 17 years! That’s crazy talk! I started there when I was 23. This place has stolen my youth. I’ll never get it back. And what do I have to show for it? A bunch of angst and neurotic tendencies. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I’ve had some really great times and met some really great people. This job has outlasted my marriage and countless friendships. My dad once asked me (about 10 years ago now) when I was going to look for something more permanent. Well dad, I don’t know how much more permanent you want from me. 17 years is the longest I’ve stuck with anything. That’s got to count for something right?
It’s Saturday, and even though it’s my birthday, I’ll be working. Anyone who’s served for any real length of time knows you don’t take a weekend night off for something so trivial as a silly little birthday. We servers are whores for the almighty dollar and I’m certainly no exception. I could’ve taken tonight off. As head wait I make the schedule. But I wouldn’t enjoy myself because I would just think about all the money I wasn’t making. And besides, weekends are the worst time to go out. Not to mention, I had to take last Saturday off (St. Pats weekend) for a dear friend’s (see bitch who cost me over $200) wedding. I mean really, who has a wedding on the Saturday before St. Paddy’s and invites industry people?
Anyway, it’s official. I’m old. Oddly enough I don’t feel that old. I don’t even think I look 40, though that could be some sort of psychological image distortion thingy. I tried to think about things in my life that are older than me. It’s a short list but here goes:
My dog. He’s 15 in people years but technically he’s like 105 in dog years. He’s my geriatric life partner.
My TV. Ok it might not really be that old but it’s pretty ancient.
2 of my coworkers. These guys are freaking OLD! They are respectively 41 and 44, but 41 dude is on dialysis for crying out loud, and 44 dude looks like an old leather shoe with a drinking problem.
Several of my family members, including my dad and several aunts and uncles. All of whom I remember their 40th birthdays and thinking how old they were.
Yep. That’s about it. I guess getting older beats the alternative. For now. But when I get to the age of having one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel I hope someone will take me out. I have no desire to drive a jazzy scooter, play bingo, watch reruns of Matlock, or talk about “the good old days”. Considering how ornery I already am I’m sure by the time I get there I’ll be so insufferable there will be no shortage of people willing to kink my oxygen hose or smother me with a pillow. Some of those people might even include my customers.
Happy birthday to me.