- Originally printed in issue #29 (March 2012) of Blue Skies Magazine.
- Buy a reprint of this issue.
45-year-old businessman leaves his office, secure with his place in the world. 45-year-old businessman leads a happy life, is financially well-off (rich to the rest of us), comfortable in his home life with happy wife, happy kids, happy dogs, and a moderately happy cat.
45-year-old old businessman gets into a car wreck while driving home from work one day. This results in some bent metal and frayed nerves, but no injuries to speak of. 45-year-old businessman has great insurance, and goes home to his family with nothing more than a story to tell. He thinks very little about the accident after the story is told. Or so he thinks.
45-year-old businessman wakes up in the middle of the night in cold sweats and doesn’t understand why he can’t stop thinking about death. 45-year-old businessman has never really had to deal with his own mortality before. He has always believed that thinking about death is a lot like staring into the sun. It can’t be good for you, and if you do it too long, it really fucking hurts.
After a mostly sleepless night of trying to hold back his “fight or flight” instincts, he vows to himself to live each of his remaining days as if it were his last. He jumps out of bed with renewed vigor, showers with intensity, kisses his happy wife, kisses his happy kids, kisses his happy dog and even smiles at his moderately happy cat before climbing into his slightly bent car, the sight of which sends shivers down his spine.
45-year-old businessman wants to go big. 45-year-old businessman decides to go make a skydive. It costs him a little extra because he’s over the weight limit for the normal cost, but he doesn’t care. The jump scares the shit out of him and he loves it. He goes bungee jumping. He decides to try scuba diving. He discovers with all these activities that he’s in terrible physical condition and thinks that needs to change.
45-year-old businessman decides to join a gym. It’s time for him to start taking much better care of himself. 45-year-old businessman signs up for the super special Gold Card gym membership which includes the weight room, aerobics, sauna, tanning, 24-hour access, and a professional assessment from a totally qualified (and extremely attractive) personal trainer. 45-year-old businessman goes straight to the gym from work to start getting into shape, then spends the following three hours in the emergency room having his ankle X-rayed after a nasty spill off the treadmill.
Aching and sore in the waiting room of the car dealership, waiting for them to give him an estimate on damages to his car, 45-year-old businessman decides that perhaps instead of repairing the old car, a new one would be a more appropriate choice. The salesman tells him that he’s pretty sure the insurance company will total his old car anyway, and slides the sales contract in front of him with a smile. “Like each day were my last,” he thinks …
45-year-old businessman can’t understand why happy wife is not only not happy, but actually pretty pissed off. No, the kids wouldn’t be able to fit in the Carrera, but a Porsche wasn’t designed with kids in mind. 45-year-old businessman decides he doesn’t love pissed off wife very much. The divorce proceedings start quickly.
45-year-old businessman enjoys driving the Porsche to take his mind off his family problems and death. He enjoys driving the Porsche to the Crazyhorse where his favorite entertainer named Thumper always seems to understand his problems. Thumper likes 45-year-old businessman’s Porsche. Thumper even gives 45-year-old businessman some free dances, which has to mean that she likes him. Thumper decides to do something she’s never done before and meet 45-year-old businessman for drinks one night. She can go as long as he can cover what she would have made at the club because her rent is due and she doesn’t have the money, but she REALLY wants to see him. 45-year-old businessman spends lots of nights like this with Thumper ‘cause she really cares about him. He’s happy to give her money to help her out because she is exactly what he’s been waiting for.
One night Thumper tells 45-year-old businessman that her girlfriend Corvette wants to hang out with them for a fun night. Thumper’s girlfriend has some really fun stuff to try, as long as 45-year-old businessman has a little cash she can have to cover it. 45-year-old businessman has never taken Ecstasy before, but he’s heard it’s amazing, and he can only imagine what will happen with Thumper and Corvette on Ecstasy!
The Ecstasy makes 45-year-old businessman think the Porsche looks beautiful wrapped around the telephone pole where Corvette accidentally parked it after convincing him to let her take it for a spin. When the police report was read by his wife’s attorney during the divorce proceedings, 45-year-old businessman was pretty sure he knew what was coming.
45-year-old businessman settles into his new apartment. His pissed-off wife is now a happy divorcee living with the happy kids, the happy dogs, the moderately happy cat, and lots of 45-year-old businessman’s money. 45-year-old businessman sits at his new fold-out card table eating ramen noodles alone because the bouncer at the Crazyhorse says Thumper doesn’t work there anymore. 45-year-old businessman didn’t care about dying anymore, and sucked his noodles down almost wishing for death. His mid-life crisis was pretty much over.
We’ve all heard the story. It’s been played out a million times before. But when you do for fun, almost every day, the same activities that most people only do for a mid-life crisis, what do we get to do when it’s time to flip out? Perhaps people like skydivers and rock climbers and extreme junkies don’t have mid-life crises because we deal with our fears every day. Most of us have already dealt with and come to terms with the only sure thing in life. To quote Chuck Palahniuk, “On a long enough timeline, everyone’s chances of survival drop to zero.” [team_member image_url=”123875″ name=”The Fuckin’ Pilot” role=”Monthly Columnist”]About the author: The Fuckin’ Pilot has more than 8,500 hours of flight time; 5,000 of those have been piloting jump ships for skydiving. [/team_member] [products_mixed layout=”listing” orderby=”ID” order=”asc” ids=”26630,121868″ title=”Get more like this!”]