Bad news and pain. Illness and rejection. Lay-offs, selfishness and drug problems. Friends and family are hurting, and it seems like I heard it all yesterday. I left the house, got on my bike and all I could see as I rode was other people’s troubles. Then, as now, I can’t distill what I think into one thing (besides, ‘We’re lucky we only have regular problems.’) I was just staring into the middle distance, thinking, Damn.
Real Adult Problems. You don’t have them when you’re twenty-five or thirty. Maybe you don’t get them if you’re rich. But when you get to be a grown-ass man, or have kids, your troubles get more complex, more thorny, more troubling. And less resolvable.
It’s a cinch when you’re young, stoopid and made out of rubber. Once you depend on other people, or they depend on you, then you graduate to Real Adult Problems.
Caution--Real Adult Problems may include one or more of the following: confronting the death, or impending death, of a loved one; unexplained, chronic, undiagnosable illness; known and very diagnosable illness; living with a husband or wife; separating from a husband or wife; drug addiction and alcoholism; intra-family cruelty; abandonment; and the inability to find cheap, comfortable shoes.
I guess having real problems makes life more complex, even more interesting, at least in the spirit of the Chinese curse, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ But having already lost one of my parents, I’ve taken steps to assure that my mom will never die. Having survived seven years of marriage without ever trying to strangle each other, I’m determined to never divorce my wife, or even spend more than twenty minutes apart from her. And having had some firsthand experience with alcoholism, I’m foresworn to stick to lemon soda. I fail at this almost every night. But two out of three isn’t bad.