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Mid-Life Crisis


Bruce Longman

If he's forty-something, with the big five-0 lurking over his head, then he's a prime candidate for the dreaded Mid-life Crises. It awaits, like a malignant tumour just itching to unleash its unending torment on every facet of his life.

For the sake of brevity, we will henceforth refer to this strange phenomenon as MC.

MC is that terrible disease that compels a rational man into trading in his staid Toyota Camry on a Ferrari Diablo (or a something V8, in the case of those less endowed with cash). MC drives an otherwise lucid individual of sound mind and respected business acumen, into leaving his forty-something wife for a twenty-nothing blonde bimbo young enough to be his daughter's roommate. Or in some extreme cases is his daughter’s roommate!

The symptoms of this fearful disorder? Firstly, that great American institution - the weekend barbecue - is no longer the frivolous beer-swilling occasion it used to be. Yes, he still congregates with the boys around the coals. But, no, he can no longer concentrate on who will win the World Series, as his thoughts keep drifting in contemplation of the women currently fixing salads in the kitchen. No, these idle ruminations do not include his lovely wife. Instead he has become obsessed with young Dave’s just-out-of-her-teens lovely wife, who does not have his old lady’s childbearing hips. Neither does she ever wear a bra, or very much of anything else for that matter.

Then those girlie magazines that he used to ignore with pious disdain are now furtively hidden away in the back of his closet pending future reference. Even the objects d'art in his teenage daughter's nude photographic study book have become his objects d'personal sex fantasy. His wife starts thinking that maybe she is the problem because she hasn't exerted enough energy in keeping herself attractive - despite a four figure bill at her local health and racquet club.

And when she goes to Denver for the weekend to visit her aging mother, he bounds joyfully off to the pub to indulge in some serious drinking without the restriction of her usual curfew. And that's when MC delivers its next lethal assault.

One of those twentyish blondes with more curlers on her dressing table than brain cells in her head, starts hitting on him. Now, this is not as inconceivable as it sounds, as he still looks reasonably good for his age. Like many other MC sufferers, he has taken up a variety of sports to keep him young and trim. Typical MC sports, that is, like sky diving, bungee jumping and para-gliding. Sane sports such as football, baseball and jogging are for wimps in their twenties, and therefore, to those afflicted with MC, are about as appealing as an all expenses paid trip to Bosnia.

As soon as the girl starts oozing her nuclear powered sex appeal, he knows that he is not going to get out of this one. His mates are watching expectantly. They've often heard him brag about the countless women he has bedded in the past, only they don't know that he exaggerated these stories a little. Actually, a lot!

But he can't let the side down, so he finds himself escorting this delectable creature to the closest available hotel room. All thoughts of home, family and fidelity instantly evaporate, as the single burning thought etched into his brain is: SEX.

He wakes up the following morning delirious with the joys of life. He showed that girl the time of her life and he is quite convinced that he has done for sex, what Martin Luther King did for freedom. This state of euphoria lasts for approximately 0.3 seconds. MC deploys its next weapon striking him firmly in the gut.


It eats away at his soul, callously threatening his very sanity. He forgot that he still loves the 'little woman'.

He tries to rationalize his actions by reasoning that it's not really his fault, it's his wife's fault! (Isn't it always?) He justifies this remarkable piece of male logic by saying, if only she didn't suffer from thenot-now-darling-I've-got-a-headache syndrome, he would never have looked at another woman. But even this solid piece of justification makes no difference whatsoever to his guilt-ridden frame of mind, and he still feels as if he has betrayed king and country.

When his unsuspecting life partner returns from Denver, he wants to hold her tight and shower her with kisses to appease his conscience. But he doesn't. You see, he's never done it before, so if he started now, she would know for sure that he's been up to no good. So instead he kisses her chastely on the cheek just as always. That's when she mentions in passing that her sister caught her husband in bed with some blonde bimbo, and reminds him that if he ever did anything similar, she would string him up by his you-know-whats and thrust a sharpened bamboo stick up his you-know-where.

He now lives in perpetual fear of every phone call, every knock on the door, in case it's his gorgeous young thing. He doesn't want to be transformed into a Michael Douglas clone living out his own Fatal Attraction. He stares warily at the stove every time he enters the kitchen just to make sure that his son's pet rabbit is not merrily on the boil.

MC then launches yet another missile from its considerable arsenal. If she was so happy to bestow her sexual favours on him so quickly, then she must surely have done so with many others as well. You guessed it! This is when the spectre of AIDS raises its ghastly head. He starts thinking that maybe the bird was HIV positive and just wanted to share her problem. He becomes obsessed with the idea that he might pass this dismal disease on to his family. This is about the time that he flicks open his communicator and begs Scotty to beam him up off the planet because he's in serious trouble down here.

Although The Test doesn't reveal any obvious disorders, he nonetheless vows never to stray off the straight and narrow path again.

It just so happens that on his next business trip out of town, an exquisitely built flight attendant offers to exchange intimate bodily juices with him. Although he stares hungrily at her unfettered assets beckoning seductively at him, he sticks to his resolve and declines as gracefully as he can (or as gracefully as anyone can with their bottom lip trailing somewhere in the region of their groin).

He wakes up the following morning delirious with the joys of life. He is intensely proud of himself for showing such immense self-control and devotion to the woman he loves. This state of euphoria lasts for approximately 0.3 seconds. He then kicks himself firmly on the butt for missing out on a wonderfully passionate night of unbridled sex. Damn! He could easily have bought a condom.

Now he can't decide what to do the next time such an opportunity presents itself, so he spends the next ten years wallowing in the misery of indecision before MC finally relinquishes its stranglehold on him.

He feels that he survived the ravages of mid-life crises quite well actually, as he escaped trading his Camry in on a Porsche (although he did compromise on a new three series Beemer); he resisted the urge to run away with his daughter's room-mate; and even overcame the desire to share a hot tub (and much, much more) with young Dave’s nubile wife. Now that MC is firmly behind him, he can at last relax and enjoy what little is left of his wretched life.

Until he arrives home one day to discover that his wife has moved in with his son's best friend.

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