On St. Patrick’s day a couple of weeks or so ago, I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my birth. I had the required plastic crows and the sign out in front of the office and someone sent me some black flowers. On one side the sign said, “Lordy, lordy, Thad is 40.” But you probably already knew that. That is also a requirement for anyone who is having a 40th birthday. The other side said, “Once a hot stud, now an old dud.” Now, after 40 years of living there are things that I have experienced that, for various reasons we won’t discuss here, have exited my conscious memory. Every now and again a particular song may come on the radio that brings some long-forgotten memory crashing into the old cerebral cortex and all of a sudden I’m back in school and my American History teacher is telling a classmate that if she’s going to scratch her elbow she needs to go out in the hall to do it (that really happened by the way). I think the song was Islands in the Stream by Kenny and Dolly, for what it’s worth.
But I digress. My point, if I have one, is that if there is a time in my past when I was a hot stud, I’ve forgotten about it and that disappoints me greatly! Because on the list of things one wants to remember and be able to tell one’s children (and wife) about, being a hot stud would rank near the top for any guy. Especially when it comes to my son. He needs to know that I haven’t always been a boring, dumb, fat guy. He needs to know if there was a time in his old man’s life that he was able to make someone laugh, or bust a move on the dance floor, or dunk a basketball (again, true). His enduring image of his dad certainly doesn’t need to be of him having a loud, heated argument with a Subway sandwich artist on a Wednesday night after church in front of a store full of customers. But, quite unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the memory of the time in my life when I was a hot stud. And, if I had to hazard a guess, so has everyone else. I’m sure it’s got to be in there somewhere. I had a pair of parachute pants, man! Black ones with zippers down the outside of each leg that, when unzipped, revealed a beautiful, silky, poofy white piece of fabric that contrasted nicely with the shiny, black fabric that the rest of the pants consisted of. I had a pair of high-top, boat-shoe kind of shoes that, when worn in tandem with the parachute pants, made me feel and look like a light haired Denny Terrio from Dance Fever. Throw in a purple, sleeveless shirt with a huge Japanese symbol on the front and the coolness factor shot up like an AIG executive’s annual income after they got the bailout money from the feds.
But there is a difference between being cool and being a hot stud. Anyone can be cool. All it takes is a little personality and the proper wardrobe. To be a hot stud requires that the ladies dig you. That’s where my memory of myself is lacking. I don’t remember ever having my phone ringing off the hook with women who found me diggable. These were the pre-cell phone days and it was one of those big ol’ black, rotary dial phones in my dad’s room, just in case you were wondering. I do remember, after I got divorced, sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down things to talk about before I called to ask a young lady out so I wouldn’t freeze up and look stupid. Not particularly studly. All that work and she still said no thanks. At least she was nice about it. I should have just said “Hey. You and me. Friday night. Eight o’clock. Twickenham Station. Be there.” She still would have said no thanks, but I sure would have sounded like a hot stud! Anyway, if someone out there reading this happens to stumble across some record, maybe some hieroglyphics in a McDonald’s somewhere, of me being a hot stud how about giving me a call. My son will be 8 in a couple of weeks and this is something I’d like to pass along to him as any good father would. My number is Klondike 5-1313. Thanks.