It’s been a slow encroachment, subtle, like the onset of age or the shot that divides the casual user from confirmed addict. Perhaps it has been ticking inside me, like some DNA time-bomb waiting to release its gas, infecting me in increments until finally, I awake one day to realize: I have become a cranky old fart.

It comes with age. At least in my case it has as I look down the pot-holed road of my fifth decade. I am becoming one of those old codgers I remember from my youth, disdainful, angry old cranks, resentful of youth and its waste on the young. I never understood them then but now I might have an inkling. Perhaps they were angry about the poon tang they couldn’t have anymore, the vaporous co-eds that cooed beyond their shaky reach. It was as if they’d been sentenced to Super-Man’s Phantom Zone.

I’ve noticed my crank-syndrome (CS) at work. I’m employed by a sports newspaper, part of which entails the coverage of OSU football recruits. Without exception, the stats of these recruits which includes their free time activities, sound like a piece of old vinyl with a stuck needle. Under hobbies, the list is always the same; “likes Lil Wayne, hanging out with friends, playing with the X Box.”


I’m sick of Lil Wayne.


Lil Wayne


Christ, what the hell is an X Box? And is there some un-written law that all recruits must listen to Lil Wayne? I’d be happy to see Def Jam listed once or Public Enemy or even Kanye West. Anything but Lil Fuckin’ Wayne! When am I going to see recruit interested say, in translating the Hebrew bible into ancient Greek, constructing a scale model with tooth picks of Chartres or even boosting Jaguars from the parking garage downtown? Anything but Lil Wayne and X Boxes!


Hanging out with friends though, is OK.


In fairness, I must examine my own youth if I can remember back that far. What was I doing at their age? Probably listening to Pink Floyd like every other white boy in the midwest. I probably dressed like every other kid my age and certainly drank beer and smoked pot like my peers. Still, I like to think I lurked outside the box at times. I went to art school where outside box lurking was the norm. Lil Wayne wasn’t born yet and X Boxes were far from being invented. Joggers were just starting to wear Walkmans. It was that beautiful time before we became a nation of cell phone idiots. The good old days, right? We were almost Amish back then.

Alas, it’s only another symptom of CS, romanticized nostalgia of one’s youth. The sixties were too violent and the 70s were full of polyester. These decades piss me off. But back then I wasn’t. I was too busy being young.

Perhaps I should nurture my crankiness, treat it like an old aunt or uncle that needed to move in. Make piece with it, accept and welcome it to the layers of my personality. But if I did that I wouldn’t be cranky anymore and what’s the fun of growing old if you can’t be a crank, like some Robert Crumb character?

Damn straight. I hate Lil Wayne and X Boxes. Not even yoga can save me.

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DAVID C. BREITHAUPT was born in the heart of the Cold War, in 1959. He grew up in central Ohio, the youngest of four brothers. His mother was an artist; his father, a political rabble rouser. He studied fine arts in college. Lived in NYC in the 1980s where he worked in various bookstores, including the great Brazenhead on East 84th street. He was an archives assistant to Allen Ginsberg and worked with his amazing staff. Did some part-time work as a newsstand checker for Rolling Stone. Quit drinking in 1987. Fell in and out of love. Kept moving. Moved back to Ohio with his family, Christa, Kate and Jo - worked in a college library. Snuck his work into various magazines like Exquisite Corpse, Rant, Main Street. Wrote bio-lit essays for the American and British Writers Series (Scribners) on James Purdy, Anna Kavan and Denton Welch under the editorship of Jay Parini. He edited a book on the works of writer poet, Charles Plymell called Hand On the Doorknob (2000 Water Row Press). Buy it now, please. His work is in the anthology, Thus spake The Corpse vol. 2, Best of the Exquisite Corpse (Black Sparrow Press, 2000). (Please buy that, too.) Breithaupt currently lives and work in Columbus, Ohio, for a sports newspaper while making occasional contributions to his federal restitution. He just finished a memoir with the working title Dada Entry: Picasso, Proust and Federal Prison as well as a collection of short stories, My Curves Are Not Mad with an intro by Jonathan Lethem. He is looking for publishers. Thank you.

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