DATE: 5/17/2004 02:48:00 PM
Not Getting Any Younger
Looks like Trent's just spotted his birthday cake...best just to stand aside...you know how he gets about chocolate.
Is it normal to celebrate the birthday of someone you've never met, even if it's in that, 'hey-whaddya-know, today is...' thought to yourself kind of way? What if it's the birthday of a rock star pushing forty?
Yes, that's right, everyone's dark hero Trent Reznor is 38 years old today. Thirty-eight. That's practically...gulp...middle-aged.
Since I've had the Red Sox to replace the music of Nine Inch Nails as the thing that makes me alternately feel miserable and like I'm touching God, Trent has fallen a bit by the wayside. This is also a defense mechanism--Trent likes to tease when it comes to the new morsels of music he sees fit to drop on the world. He started speculating publicly about a new album last year, which means it might--might--be released next fall. If I started anticipating the new release every time I heard news of it from this guy, I'd be writhing around in my own feces and a straight jacket somewhere.
And so we let Trent be. Except when we are having a particularly bad day, which is when his music at high volume and a brisk drive over a curvy road works wonders.
Until, that is, the date May 17 keeps cropping up in our daily life (read: documents at work) and we keep wondering why it is that rings a bell and then for whatever reason we remember that stupid girl from the film footage of the Fragility tour singing over a cupcake with a candle on it and realize that the rock star that was the subject of most of our doodlings in tenth grade geometry class is downright middle aged.
This doesn't mean he is automatically disqualified from being cool, of course--witness Stephen Tyler, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Elton John, et al. I guess the problem is that Trent being almost forty means, once again, that I'm not a dewy little Gothling anymore.
More and more things are reminding me of this. I hope I'm not going to turn into one of those people who buys birthday cards with jokes that only thinly veil bitterness about the aging process. You know the kind. Or, worse, the kind so steeped in denial she buys the man-meat ones they sell at Spencer's when she's old enough to be those models' big sister if not their mother.
Of course, I am only twenty-three (soon to be twenty-four!), so this hand-wringing over aging is not warrented in the least. It's not wrinkles I'm afraid of, though, or sagging or any of the other cosmetic effects of aging--actually, I kind of look forward to some of them, oddly enough, because then I won't have to worry about not being pretty anymore, I'll be an old person.
It's not worry about death, either, of course. I've thoroughly adjusted myself to the fact of my own mortality, as we all know.
No, the fear of aging I have is the fear that I will suddenly be fifty, and wake up and look out the window and realize I am not where I want to be, and that I have done absolutely nothing with my life. It's when I contemplate that possibility, when I sink into the self-pitying morass of obsession about how nothing is happening to me, that time hits warp factor four and I start screaming.
Of course, when Trent was twenty-three, he was scrubbing pubes off urinals at a recording studio in Cleveland. He was the keyboardist for a godawful 80's dance band called the Exotic Birds. He and Chris Vrenna were living off peanut butter and Wonder Bread and selling old record albums to pay bills, and he had only just begun writing his first real song, "Down In It."
And just look at him now.
So, things continue. Trent continues rocking. Life continues being queasily beautiful. New-release rumors abound as usual. Although I suspect they always will, even when Trent is dead and / or senile and can't possibly release a new album, just like Elvis sightings in the subway.