My dad died young; (and I was a lot younger, obviously). He died in 1968 at 56. (I was 21 when he left.) It seems people whose parents die young expect to do the same. We don’t expect to live much longer than they did. I think this is especially true of men whose fathers died young.
So, we sort of inherit this expectation, and when we’re in our 30s and 40s, we’re sort of counting down, looking at a scorecard (or bucket list, I suppose), thinking “Whoa, 42!! I gotta get cracking.”
Then the magic age passes, and we’re still keepin’ on. Trucking as we’ve always been. Hm… Then it’s five years – FIVE YEARS? I outlived the old man by five years? Well… good for me. I think.
Then it’s ten, then fifteen, so I can say to my kids “Why, when my dad was my age, he’d been DEAD for fifteen years!” And it’s kind of a joke, and they smile, which tells me perhaps it’s the ultimate “Dad Joke.” I guess it is for me.
I ruminate on this every October; my birthday is the day after his. I ponder all the above and wonder “what’s it all about, dipshit?” Occasionally I think the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about, but I don’t really think so. But this being so much older than he ever got to be is weird.
It’s like being on a train whose destination you’re sure of, but you feel like you should have arrived quite a few miles ago, and the scenery bumping past now – however familiar it should be, same places, same streets, etc. – isn’t at all what you expected to see.