I spend huge amounts of time convincing myself that I’m not 45 years-old. It’s an elaborate magic trick that requires lots of misdirection and an almost heroic amount of ignorance. But if I perform the illusion correctly, I can move serenely through this process called aging; if I don’t, Florida law requires me to get a Viagra prescription. Also, I have to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
The stakes are high. And sometimes, my audience won’t cooperate with me either.
I went to get donuts last Saturday at the swanky new donut place in town, the Jupiter Donut Factory. The Donut Factory is popular right now because the young staff there don’t make donuts as much as they hack donuts - taking regular donuts apart like a software program and putting them back together in new and sometimes dangerous configurations. Some of these configurations even involve bacon, which is nature’s perfect food because it both nurtures you and eventually kills you. As usual, a long line stood between me and my creamy quarry.
I don’t mind the long lines at the Donut Factory, mainly because someone in the kitchen is usually playing music while she cooks. The first time I went, I heard some Talking Heads; the next time, Radiohead. No matter how much I like the music, though, I have never commented on it, because talking about music with young people is always dangerous.
Last Saturday was the day the donut music died.
I stood in line enjoying a series of B-52 songs, one of which I did not recognize. Because the song interested me, I felt compelled to ask where I could get it. What I should have asked was...
“Hey, you guys have great taste in music. What B-52s song is that? I’d like to download it.”
Then I should have pulled my pants low, low on my ass like Justin Bieber and adjusted my ironic trucker hat so that it wasn’t straight.
But I didn’t. I was still sleepy, I hadn’t had my coffee yet and I completely forgot that I was pretending to not be 45 years-old. What I said was...
“What CD are you playing?”
The confused look in the young cashier’s eyes froze me like a raccoon caught in a garbage can. I looked around at the other younger people in the shop to see if they had heard my slip. Besides the cashier, no one looked confused. Good. I looked back at the cashier and this is what I repeated in my head...
“Please don’t ask me what a CD is. Please don’t ask me what a CD is. Please don’t ask me what a CD is.”
Her eyes unclouded and became sweetly sympathetic.
“It’s an IPod. You can load it up with thousands of songs and it will play them randomly.”
With my eyes, I begged her to stop.
“No one buys CDs anymore. You buy songs on the Internet.”
I considered whipping out my Iphone. Instead, I just pulled out my leather wallet on a chain and paid for the very cool donuts.