No, not Las Vegas. I've never had any particular affinity for America's Gomorrah; while I don't object to gambling or scantily-clad showgirls, neither is high on my list of vacation desiderata. "LV," in this context, is the Roman-numeral equivalent of "fifty-five," which is my age as of today.

Quite apart from the obvious fact that I've never been this old before, I find this particular event somewhat perplexing, if only for its branding in popular culture. Fifty-five is the beginning of yet another arbitrary demographic group (usually 55-64) for marketing purposes, and it's the starting point for various "benefits" of dubious worth: for instance, it is legal under Federal law for communities to market themselves to those 55 and up so long as at least 80 percent of the residents are in fact 55 and up. Not that I have any compelling desire to dwell in such a place.

But enough about the marketing blather. I roll out of bed five days a week at 5:58 am, and I try to avoid staying up too late, so, if Ben Franklin is to be believed, I should be on the road to being "healthy, wealthy and wise." Let's see.

Health: Blah, maybe a tick or two above blah. I apparently have some resistance to middle-aged spread; while I'm no longer losing weight, I'm pretty stable where I am, which is about 40 lb below the highest I've weighed. And so far as I can tell, there haven't been any complications from my previously-appalling blood-sugar numbers. On the downside, I'm clearly losing stamina, albeit slowly; I'm more sensitive to cold than I used to be; and the joints don't move with the alacrity I'd like. Still, the numbers obtained after a recent scare indicate that the infrastructure isn't exactly crumbling: the kidneys are fine and the heart is as sound as the dollar used to be. For now.

Wealth: Likewise blah. Housing prices in this area are stubbornly refusing to collapse, and while I haven't looked at my 401(k) lately, I figure I haven't quite been reassigned to the poorhouse just yet. Unfortunately, I've not made much of a dent in my debt. Still, low interest rates are helping, and lower gas prices are helping even more; if I make it through 2010 I'll be in much better shape.

Wisdom: Arguable at best. I'd like to think that I've learned something in fifty-five years, even something as trivial as not stuffing tennis balls into the toilet, but there are days, and this is one of them, when I just have to wonder.

Otherwise, things haven't changed much in the last year: I still have a bad temper, no love life, and too much of a spare tire. I expect these conditions to continue indefinitely, however long that is.

The Vent

  25 November 2008

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