“Really, you don’t look 42?” This used to be music to my ears until I realised it was a backhanded compliment. “Really? That fucking old. Wow.”

In less than two weeks I will reach another milestone–they’re all milestones after forty as far as I’m concerned–43. You know that phrase Black Don’t Crack? Well, Brown Don’t Frown. Yeah I know, it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

As a cafe au lait skinned person, I’m immune to the cracks, wrinkles and blemishes that beset my white partner. Sure, not all we beaners are so lucky. Many of us have to toil away on some godforsaken farm keeping the price of produce low, our skin crackling under the blazing sun. But not this beaner. I just came back from a visit to my local Gail bakery where I was beset with a cappuccino and a dark chocolate scone.

But like it or not, I’m turning 43. And like it or not, my body is beginning to rebel.

First it was my cholesterol. High. That’s right, gym-going vegetarians who watch their diet can have high cholesterol. You know why? It’s hereditary. Thanks Dad! Guess who will shortly be put on statins? Guess who now has to monitor (even more) his intake of dairy, liquor and fried foods? Yours truly.

Gone are the nightly glasses of red wine with dinner. Gone are the gelato cones that thrust themselves into my hand whenever I walk by a park on a sunny day. Gone are the frites that I occasionally allow myself to inhale. Gone are the days of being under 40 and medical problem free.

Second to go was my groin. Now stay with me here. After turning 40 I got myself a trainer because it was becoming harder to see results at the gym. She taught me all sorts of new things, some of it very Abu Ghraib. And closet masochist that I am, I liked it. Well, guess whose boys (balls) started to feel achy and sore? Guess who timidly googled ‘testicular cancer’ in the middle of the night? Guess who is recovering from an abdominal tear? It turns out all those great Abu Ghraib type exercises my trainer taught me contributed to my guts nearly spilling out into my scrotum.

Truth be told, the other contributing factor to my ‘groin tear’ was me playing with my nieces. I’m an adult who enjoys playing with kids because I am a kid at heart. I know people toss this phrase around like a football at a suburban BBQ but it’s true. Other adults monitor play while I’m there in the trenches throwing children around a pool or jumping wildly on a seesaw. To me, playing with children is like a roller coaster or a scary movie. You don’t get that many opportunities as an adult to shout, scream and let loose. You might as well take them.

My groin tear doctor said to me, “I don’t want to be rude, but someone your age (this is when I saw red) cannot be exercising in this manner and expect to be okay.”

He then went on to lecture me about muscle tissue when you are young versus muscle tissue when you are nearly 43, at death’s door, with clogged arteries, your scrotum on the floor.

I kept imagining myself leaping across his desk and slapping him with his stapler. But instead I nodded and said, “Thank you doctor. I agree. I’ll stop all those abdominal and core exercises so that my partner will divorce me and I’ll end up having to pick grapes under the blazing California sun while my skin crackles in the heat.”

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