40

When my wife first suggested Vegas for my 40th birthday, I was bothered. 40 meant for me, what I suspect it means to a lot of people, that a part of me was dead. Maybe not 100% of me, but somewhere in the lower 60% range. That left me with, not coincidentally I suspect, 40% of me left to work with till I actually die.

Now for some, that 40% is more than enough to work with. For me, it’s like trying to build a skyscraper with legos. Possible, but christ it would suck. There’s just not a whole lot of raw materials to work with, unless you count the McRib pudge I wear around my stomach/thigh/face region and enough self loathing to spackle that wall they’re going to build between Mexico and Texas.

I figured that between the time my wife made that suggestion and the time my birthday would actually happen, I had about 6 months to make some serious changes. If I was going to go to Vegas at 40, I wanted to be hot, or a close approximation thereof.

I dieted and exercised, and I was well on my way to my goal. I had dropped 15lbs and a pant size. I went to the beach without a fucking shirt on. I was getting confidence in myself, I could see the goal ahead and it actually seemed possible: Hotness.

Then, I got laid off. Resigned? Forced resignation? Spending some time ruminating on the topic, I think the technical term is, Dicked Over.

Those 15lbs I lost? I found them, plus some of their friends.

I worked at that job for 4 years, and I had developed some incredibly close relationships. One even got me in trouble at home because, lesson here guys, don’t choose your friends over your wife. It’s stupid. I’ll provide a diagram later.

Those close friends seemingly evaporated once I got laid off. I did my best to keep up with everyone: texting, emailing, hitting the occasional bar, etc. But after the first month, it got harder and harder for anyone to respond. “Hey how goes it?”, would lead to an inevitable, and conversation ending, “Ok”.

Those close relationships I had developed turned out to be less substantial than the friends my missing pounds brought to my ass.

The thing that really drove home the apathy was as my 40th birthday approached, I suspected it would suck. Vegas was a dead plan, losing my job saw to that. That also meant that doing much of anything was out, because some asshole in Washington thinks it’s more important to feed and clothe my kids than to get drunk and go strip-club hopping. Libertarians unite, am I right?

No, the real blow came when my wife, reluctantly (bless her heart), told me that she had tried contacting a half dozen or so of my friends to have a party for me. No one responded.

I suspected that she’d try to do something like that. A small part of me hoped that the whole reason I didn’t hear from anyone was that she somehow managed this elaborate silence scheme. That all my friends were going to shout “Surprise!” when I came home from work on October 18th and give me my very first heart attack. That they were all being silent because she cleverly told them how much happier I’d be to hear from them all at once.

Yeah, ok I lied. A big part of me hoped that.

I’ve heard the term ‘work-friend’ for most of my life, and I always thought it was a silly monicker. I have friends I still keep in touch with from nearly every job I’ve ever had, with the exception of the grocery store when I was 16. Cause really, fuck those guys. But never has that term felt more poignant than it does these last few months.

I don’t have friends. I have work friends.

Could I have some work pounds? I suspect those will be easier to lose than pounds.

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