Flash Fiction

Middle Age

word prompts: grand / kibitz / uppishness / urinator / middle age / maiden / maidenform / lowbrow

‘Twas only grand for a short while.

I thought middle age would be a new era for me. Leaving behind the brash naiveté of youth, the forced humility of too-many-lessons-too-fast, the fevered hunger for faster truth. I thought a calm inner resolve would grow in me, and I would walk through my days with a quiet confidence. Restless men would look at me, pause, and be provoked to sigh and smile to themselves. Without understanding why, they would become more content for a time. Such would be the power of my serenity. It would grow to be a soothing cloud that would envelop passers-by and stop babies from crying.

But it was not to be. Instead, after turning 40, a strange fascination for lowbrow entertainment overtook me. I couldn’t stop watching Jerry Springer. I would creep guiltily into monster truck rallies (until the day I spotted a urinator blessing the back of the risers. As his glistening pool of piss grew I quietly exited stage left).

My moment of glory was securing an invitation to a real live cockfight. Of course, that was only the first. I soon became a regular. I would sit in the audience, becoming very still as I watched the women kibitz their husbands to exact results from recalcitrant roosters. I would watch the sweat bead on the foreheads of the men, as they fervently prayed for the savage rending of their neighbor’s cock.

I don’t know what provoked this thrall for philistine amusements. Perhaps it started as a penance for the uppishness of my youth. As a maiden, I had been convinced that it was my holy mission to save the world from the evils of boredom, Maidenform bras, and deviled eggs, and I campaigned against each of them with equal fervor. (For the uninitiated, deviled eggs are the leading cause of salmonella poisoning. But little did I know that I was attacking one of the pillars of Jewish potlucks and would be soundly punished by God and my grandmother.)

I wish I could say that this morbid attraction changed me for the better, and that it was all part of a necessary learning experience that has brought me to new, more fully integrated heights of understanding and enlightenment. Such pat answers sufficed in my youth; now, nothing makes sense. Purpose drifts apart and turns into late night marathons of Montel and re-runs of COPS. I have not come around, full circle, to a greater understanding of the meaning of human life. I have not developed a connoisseurship in my chosen field, carved out a niche expertise on the common man, or created a blog pioneering a new appreciation for the ghettoized entertainment of resource-poor American subcultures. I have simply slid backwards into entropy, watching my own descent with sickening awe.

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