Thursday, March 08, 2007


10 years ago, Biggie Smalls was shot and killed.
20 years ago, Iran accused Iraq of using chemical bombs in the Gulf War.
30 years ago, I was chosen to take over Elvis' legacy.

And I did.

Once I was born and made it past the crucial 5-month period, Elvis passed sadly, but gracefully.

You know, on a historic scale, March of 1977 was probably the worst month since Vietnam. A Bucharest earthquake killed 1,500 people. A dozen Muslims took over 3 buildings in Washington, DC and took 130 people hostage. One person was killed. The Tenerife air disaster in which two huge commercial jets would collide mid-flight would be the worst aviation accident ever killing 583 people. But, then again, "Three's Company" would make its debut in March of 1977. How tragic.

So here I am, 30 years old. Doesn't feel much different, honestly. Stubbornly, I've never really paid much attention to conventional wisdom or traditional grandfathery.

I don't know how much I should have invested at 30 years old.
I'm not entirely sure how close I should be to fatherhood at 30 years old.
No one ever explained the back aches to expect at 30 years old.

How long should me resume be at 30 years old?
Is 30 years old too old to slip in a hugely inappropriate joke in a formal circumstance?
At 30 years old, should I still be watching "The Real World" and "COPS"?
Is there a time when I'm expected to trade up to 4-door vehicle and have I already passed that at 30 years old?
Did I miss my cutoff for listening to hip hop?
At 30 years old, am I supposed to only listen to Steely Dan (which I am now) and use words like "effulgent" and "dazzling" to describe music instead of "slammin'" and "ill"?
If I was a 30 year old rapper, how many platinum records should I have?
If I was a 30 year old firefighter, how many lives should I have saved?
If I was a 30 year old surgeon, how many surgeries should I have performed?
If I was a 30 year old book, how many times should someone have read me in completion?
Jimi Hendrix died when he was 28 and I can't even play the guitar, should I be able to be?

Last night, after describing to my wife how, being the loser I am, I missed my own birthday celebration at work because I opted to work through my lunch break and then go home to let the dog out, I put in James Brown's In a Jungle Groove and just started dancing uncontrollably. When you dance to James Brown, it's important to dance with dress socks on a tile or finished wood floor. You can do some incredible moves in dress socks. Jay-Z says that 30 is the new 20. I don't know if I feel 20 again, but I definitely don't feel 30. Maybe it's the coffee. Maybe it's a steady diet of hip hop. Maybe it's the walks to work. Maybe it's The Root Down. I might not be able to dance like James Brown, but I still can shake what my good mama gave me. And I do.

James Brown must have been 40 years old when they recorded this video. Actually, I estimate he's mid-40s. I'll be rehearsing this routine for my 40th birthday. Check it. It's only a minute and a half and well worth the view. I'm going to load some Steely Dan onto my iPod and then wake up my lovely wife who, as always, has offered to make a breakfast casserole for my co-workers on my birthday. Here's my chance to redeem myself for yesterday. I think I'll join Jean Grae and, for my next 30 years, I'll work towards converting the wack.

Have a wonderful March 8th, folks.


TX said...

Geez...that IS a horrible month! However, not sure that passed out humped over a toilet would be a "graceful" way to go for the King. Maybe for some, but not at 30+. Happy International J3 Day.

sarahsmile3 said...

Happy b-day, J3. I'll be right there with you in a few weeks.

toadlift said...

Happy birthday dude. Dirty Work is the best Steely Dan song.

K-Fleet said...

Here's to 30 more, brutha!

Davona said...

you know I found out that march 8th is the cat in the hat's 50th birthday :) So there is something warm and fuzzy for you on your b day!