It's a middle aged thing
As Just a Minute turns 50, comedian Gary Slaymaker reflects on what he’s noticed since crossing that threshold himself.
1. The “Is that you, dad?” phenomenon
Like a tennis pro during a particularly vigorous baseline rally, I’ve found myself prone to grunting during the past year. The first time, was when I bent down to pick up a pair of trainers. The noise itself came as a bit of a shock, but the fact that I sounded exactly like my dad, when he exerted himself, was the real surprise. Many would see this as a sign of advancing age, whereas I like to think of it as honouring the memory of my late father in an unconventional way.
2. "Are you familiar with Snapchat? I’ve heard of him”
Rapid changes in technology bring their own unique challenges. My elderly next door neighbour had spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to call her daughter the other day, until I pointed out that she was trying to phone her on a calculator.
Hands up if hours on ‘Insta’ sounds like fun to you? But for those of you that think it was better in the old days, without all this technological malarkey; here’s a word to send shivers down the spine – algebra.
3. “I’d rather binge watch Netflix than binge drink with friends”
There was a time when the thought of a ‘quiet night in’ was unconscionable. These days, with all the goodies on offer from various media sources, the idea of spending a night in a packed pub with friends who moan on about their kids, their jobs, and their various aches and pains is nowhere near as appealing as it once was. When you’re given the option of 12 episodes of Power Man, or 5 hours of power drinking; comfort, maturity, and the health of your liver makes the choice an easy one.
4. “You call that music?”
I’m bewildered at what passes for pop music these days. I doubt I could name you a single entry in the latest Top 10, unless Ed Sheeran’s in the first eight positions (as usual). And I only know him as ‘the ginger lad off Game of Thrones’. Remember when ‘grime’ was just something you cleaned off the bath with a cloth and some Flash? I wouldn’t mind so much if you could hum along to these modern songs, but they seem to lack any kind of tune. Not like the old days when you could merrily whistle the Pistols’ Pretty Vacant or Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Kids today, eh?
5. “The BIM theory”
For years, many men suffering a mid-life crisis would buy themselves an expensive sports car or even a road-thrashing motorcycle. But looking at my friends, these days are long gone.
Today, men seem to be suffering from the Budget Infantile Mid-life (BIM for short) crisis. With the world becoming more puerile in its nature, and money a lot tighter than it once was, a lot of my mates have decided to show their disregard for middle age by traipsing back to their youth and spending their money carefully. A recent trip to town with a friend saw him spend two hours deciding whether he wanted to buy an Iron Man t-shirt or a Captain America t-shirt, to wear for ‘dress down Friday’ at work. Another friend has recently bought himself a Lego Death Star, and yet another has purchased a set of Harry Potter colouring-in books.
All well and good; and their wives are happy enough with a cheap outlet for their mid-life crisis, but it’s a little worrying to see grown men behave like this. I could go on about this senseless withdrawal into childhood, but I’ve just bought myself a Lego Big Bang Theory set, and it won’t build itself now, will it.