Over the past five months my life has changed a lot, for obvious, baby-related reasons.
But over the past few years, my life has changed in other ways that have nothing to do with the ill-advised and soul-deadening decision to have a child. I’m talking about things that seem to have more to do with the fact that I am rapidly approaching my 35th birthday than the fact that I’ve added yet another mouth with its own carbon footprint to an overpopulated planet on the verge of extinction.
Problem is, with my life so wrapped up in making sure my baby lives long enough to contribute to and eventually witness the final days of the planet he will help destroy, it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between the changes that are his fault and the changes that are my rapidly deteriorating body’s fault.
So I decided to try and figure out what to blame: old age or parenthood?
OLD AGE vs. PARENTHOOD
- I Can’t Have More Than Three Beers Without Falling Asleep
This one is clearly due to my exhaustion. Stupid tiring baby. WINNER: PARENTHOOD
- I Can’t Have More Than Four Beers Without Wanting to Kill Myself the Next Day
This is probably a combination of things. It’s partially due to my dwindling tolerance. In the five months since gaining a son, my drunkenness quotient has been cut down by 75% or more, so my ability to drink beer for long amounts of time – while maintaining both my alertness and my astounding power to attract women – has suffered greatly. That’s understandable. But should four beers over the course of a night really cause such a bad hangover the next day? Sure, I’m waking up at six-ish instead of doing the customary sleep-off (I’ll give you two guesses why and you only need one), but four beers shouldn’t leave feeling me like I was force-fed broken glass or, at best, like I’ve had my face hammer-smashed. But drinking a mere four beers does just that. Pathetic. What’s worse is that I could feel my hangovers increasing even before I had a baby in my life. So this is clearly because I’m an old piece of garbage. WINNER: OLD AGE
- I Can’t Get Up Past 7AM
If one of your two guesses above was “because of the baby!” then you’re the big winner. It’s because of the stupid, stupid baby that won’t shut the hell up. WINNER: PARENTHOOD
- I Can’t Stay Up Past 11PM
Not sure I blame this on anything more than the fact that I no longer have a TV in my bedroom. I used to watch “The Daily Show” and half of Colbert before turning out the lights, but nowadays I find myself crawling into bed at 10:45, 10:30, 10:15 and immediately going bye-bye. Clearly, I’m exhausted after being up early to tend to the baby, but I also have brittle old bones that tire easily. So let’s call this one a push. WINNER: PUSH
- I Barely Go Out Anymore
This is actually not true. We go out a lot, and we bring Detective Munch along. Turns out the kid loves a good bar! Nothing puts him to sleep like the belligerent ravings of a crowd of Brooklyn drunks. But we definitely pull the happy hour routine more – we’re back home a lot earlier, both to put the kid to bed and to get inside before all the Young People Who Have Few Responsibilities show up and fill me with white-hot rage. I think this one leans mostly towards me being a curmudgeon. WINNER: OLD AGE
- I Hate Younger People Who Have Fewer Responsibilities
Always have, always will. So I don’t think my kids or my age is to blame for this one. WINNER: PUSH
- My Bones Are Sore
At nearly 35, my bones are brittle, obviously. But my son is also a fatty. The combination is not good for my arms or my back. I hurt my back during a move a few years back (has anything good ever happened during a move?) and constantly having to lift the kid high enough that he gets confused by his new vantage point and FINALLY stops whining is not doing me any favors. Of course, back issues always seem to spring up once you cross the 30-year mark, so this is a tough call. Let’s split the difference. WINNER: PUSH
- I Have To Get Up Five Times a Night To Urinate
Not sure this can be blamed on the baby or old age. WINNER: MY SMALL BLADDER AND/OR PROSTATE ISSUES. Actually, strike that. This is definitely more of an old man thing. WINNER: OLD AGE
OLD AGE: 3
And the winner is: I’M AN OLD MAN. And the loser is: ME!
Wow. Based on this highly scientific study, I’ve finally found something I can’t blame on parenting!
I just hope my increasingly fragile body holds out long enough – say, about 17 years – for me to get my kid out of the house and downshift into full-on heroin addiction. That should ease my pain.