Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dying Celebrities and Lying ID Cards

It’s a strange thing, the way people over the age of 45 say to me “Buh you young”. With the understanding of time and relativity I know what they are saying is true, yet there is something slowly etching away at the comfort of my youth. I was really shocked by the death of Michael Jackson not only because of the realisation that the King of Pop is actually no more but by the revelation that he was 50 years old! It is strange how until his death it never occurred to me that Michael was twice my age, his age was something I seldom thought about. As a matter of fact it is only until his death that I actually acknowledged that many of his songs that I liked were released the year I was born 1982 and some of them shortly thereafter.

I grew up on Michael’s music and it is only in the year 2009 that I realised I had a false perception MJ and I was of the same era, heck we were separated by two decades and a half! Then there was the death of David Carradine famous for his role as Cain in the TV series Kung Fu the legend, one of my favourite all time childhood TV shows. Cain I knew for certain was older than I am I had no illusions of sharing an era with him, however his death still had an impact on me because it reminded me of my childhood with such clarity. It’s amazing how the death of a celebrity can really jolt you back into reality and it is not because they were famous and are celebrities. The world of celebrities is like a timeline for us average mortals. Your celebrity fan affiliation is a signature of the era you belong or belonged to and it can scare the living day lights out of you if pondered upon too seriously.

Watching the 2009 BET awards I had a surreal feeling watching Tevin Campbell sing his 1993 hit ‘Can we talk’. This was still the time where the women in a young male’s music video were still fully clothed. I consider myself to be more in Kevin’s era, him turning 31 years old this year just 4 years older than I am. The feeling was surreal because Kevin was no longer the smooth face pretty young black man in his video ‘Can we talk’ and after not seeing him for such a long time it was so strange to watch this man with grey hair setting in, sing his 1993 hit song on the BET Awards. He is still good looking, but after not seeing him for such a long time the difference in his appearance was markedly different. I wonder if people who know me and who are about 4 years younger than I am who may not have seen me for a while, if they see me now would my changed features stand out to them the way Kevin’s stood out to me? And how much grey hair will I have in the next four years?

In the environment I work, the perusal of people’s ID cards is a necessity. Lately I’ve found myself paying greater attention to the year persons were born and observing their features. You’re able to make a better comparison with those who have IDs that are soon to expire because our ID cards are valid for 10 years so you actually get to observe the marked changes of the person’s features over the period of a decade. My ID card is due to expire next year and I’m of the view that ID cards are one of the most dishonest inanimate things to exist on this planet. You give them your youthful beauty via a photo and in later years they lie to you. They list your date of birth and state your name, they claim that the person in the photo is you but every time you look in the mirror you know your ID card is a liar. After you grant them your youthful beauty they flaunt your youth in your face.

As I write this I acknowledge that there are certain parts of my body that are starting to ache, it’s an aching that I’m not accustomed too but I’m sure I will become familiar. It’s strange but seven years ago I don’t recall having a single ache, not unless I bounce my toe or fell real hard while playing football. As I watch school boys in their prime pass me by in the street I feel a tinge of jealousy creeping into my psyche, a jealousy I never knew existed. I suppose it’s the type of jealousy my girlfriend has often explained to me that she has noticed in the eyes of women older than her while observing her and of late my girlfriend has been wondering if she would have that same distant gaze while observing younger girls.

I noticed that her interest in anti-aging creams has suddenly peaked within the last couple months. Being one year older than I am and a woman at that, my girlfriend makes more observations and comments about her body than I do of mine. Two weeks ago she went into Pennywise and while perusing the various brands of anti-aging creams one of the ‘just out school sales clerks’ asked her how old she was and she said she just stared at the girl, she couldn’t answer off the bat. Determined to make a sale the sales clerk indicated to her that once she reaches the age of 30 she should start using the anti-aging cream.

That comment was a grave injustice to me, the unknown boyfriend! Sales clerks ought to be more sensitive to the unknown and unseen boyfriends. We are usually the ones who are left with the challenging task of assuaging our women’s distress of growing old! Another new trend I noticed lately is being asked ‘Will you still love me when I get old”? How does a man answer a question like that but in the affirmative? And how are we to sound sincere every time the question is asked? I don’t know the answer, all I know is some kind of male survival mechanism usually kicks in and I am able to endure the repeated questions and conversations of growing old and for that I thank the natural laws of evolution.

It’s a funny thing how between the ages of 14 and 20 you usually feel as if your life is at a standstill. You yearn for your ‘independence’ and it seems as if adulthood is taking forever to come knocking at your door. August holidays usually feel as if they are a year and the next birthday seems like two years away. Between the ages of 20-25 you enter into a phase of existing but not truly existing as your life takes on a transformation that is most certainly irreversible. Your allowance is replaced by a salary and your home work is replaced by industrial work. Your snack and mall indulgences are replaced by bills, real hardcore never ending bills and control battles with your parents are replaced by emotional battles with your significant other.

By the time you reach 25 your life goes into high gear. The years cease to appear as long and your clock begins to count down. Pretty soon you begin to notice that in the next couple years you will be 30 and the years keep getting shorter and concluding much more quickly. You start to notice the many changes in the world and it amazes you how so many things change and in so little time. The phrase “We are all here only for a time” becomes much more meaningful as we live out and observe the transformations take place during ‘our time’, transformations both internal and external. We solemnly trot along our time lines and embrace all that come our way and the false belief that we control everything in our lives suffices if only to maintain our sanity while another celebrity of our youthful days passes away and an ID renewal is no longer an indication of independence and a new beginning as when we first acquired it. Instead it is now a sign of imminent conclusion, a conclusion we may not be looking forward to but a conclusion that is certain to come nonetheless. ©

1 comment:

  1. Similiarly I felt the sting of Shock on the passing of MJ and it did mark the closing of an era for me, as I felt that he had the wherewithal to live to a nice old age. I did not feel the same for Davis Carradine, maybe because he was much older and I probably didn't follow up all his movies.

    Tevin Campbell has not made an impact on me, so I can't comment on his looks. I agrree with you on the ID card as I keep using one particular picture over and over for one of my membership clubs.

    You speak of aches, and I think that you're too young to ache unless you're working out too strenuously or perhaps sitting too long in the wrong posture. I started to ache two years ago and I am double your age exactly.

    Your girlfriend is too young for anti-aging creams, she just needs to avoid the sun and alcohol.

    Life is indeed short so you have to make it worthwhile and make a decision to avoid falling into the great Credit-Card trap..Nothing ages you more than the stress of having bills and not being able to manage your debt!

    You'll be fine and thanks for your insight Oke.


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