I got to thinking recently about old friends from various phases of my life, and how people change over time, and so forth. And I realized something which has kind of occurred to me before, every so often, but never so vividly as now: I am nothing if not a simple man. Most of my peers have houses, and spouses, and kids, and mortgages, and other fairly grown-up elements in their lives. Careers. Lots of keys, for different stuff out in the garage. Snowblowers, and swing sets, and health club memberships, and time-shares. Bum knees. Food processors. Equity.
As for me ... well, I'm still in training mode for my job. I rent an apartment in Mad City, on the second floor of a house not too far from Willy Street. It's not quite living in a van down by the river; but I do live near a river (the mighty Yahara), in the Land of Cheese, and I just upgraded my 20-year-old car to a 10-year-old car. Never owned a house, and probably won't buy one anytime soon. I'm not fluent in any foreign languages. I like having my belly rubbed after a big meal. I tend to judge people by their physical flaws and the pitch of their voices, rather than the content of their character. I still enjoy a good creamee every now and then (favorite flavor: twist.) I can't write songs unless they're about movies, and I blog without a cause.
For whatever reason, age and education seem to have had little effect on my general sensibilities. Back in college, my friend Chud was widely considered to be the simplest of us all. But he has since attained a level of maturity and sophistication which I can only marvel at. And why is that? It's simple: I'm a simple man.
I state this not with pride, nor with great regret. I do acknowledge that we've had another simple man running this country for nearly 8 years now, and obviously he's mucked it up real good. Unlike him, I know my limits, and I also think there are many good simple men and women out there. We're too simple to form any sort of cohesive organization or society, but we do nod and smile warmly at each other when we pass on the street.
But I'm also troubled now by the thought that maybe simple really is as simple does. Should I start buying things? Read more challenging books? Or hit the bottle, hard, for a couple months? At least long enough to know what discontent and sloppy self-pity really mean? (Not that this is about self-pity. I'm really not into that. But it does have an exotic appeal at times.)
I'm not really sure what brought this all on for me, but I think it was multi-factorial. I turned 40 a few months ago, and within a year I'll complete my medical training and start practicing without supervision, and they switched the guy who plays James Bond a little while back, and some other miscellaneous stuff. Who can say for sure? But let me assure you of one thing: I take good care of my patients. And also, despite the simpleness, my views on politics and produce are spot-on.
Actually, that's more than one thing. Maybe nothing is as simple as it seems ...