You know that time is coming, because eventually it comes for all of us. In fact, you can probably see the demon doubters huddling by the water cooler now, lowering their voices as you near, whispering behind your back as you walk down the office hallway.
The old man doesn't have it any more.
He's a step slow. He's out of touch. He doesn't have the drive to succeed, or the willingness to take a risk, or the openness to embrace change. His routines are out of date. His way of life does not apply.
There are younger folks, kids who are hungrier. Those who are more willing to make sacrifices now, to stay late to finish that presentation, to print out the copies for the meeting, to do that last bit of analysis that puts them in the good graces of management.
Who can fly on the redeye each week to be in Washington DC the next morning, jumping off the plane to immediately start a long Monday's worth of lobbying on Capitol Hill, and return to their apartment on the west coast on Firday evening and party all night long despite the three-hour time difference. And do it again each week. Willingly.
Who already saw that hilarious video you got over email. About six months ago.
Who know all the new artists and visit all the new underground clubs and can get past the velvet rope based on their connections alone. Who recognize that celebrity at the Lakers game from the MTV show you've never heard of. Who don't recall when MTV showed music videos in the first place.
Who have already read that day's Wall Street Journal and New York Times and Washington Post and can weave these references into conversations seamlessly, while you lament spending your morning wiping soggy cheerios that fell out of your kid's mouth and onto your wrinkle-free slacks, leaving a stain you only noticed as you struggled to get out the door with your reusable coffee mug in one hand and your briefcase in the other.
Who are up every morning at six. And when you are standing in line for open auditions, you're there along with two hundred people who look almost like you, except that they are younger and thinner. And have already been to the gym.
Who can not only edit that scene better and faster and more dynamically than you, but have watched every television show in the last ten years, catching up on missed episodes with the power of hulu and bittorrent. Who don't know what Cheers or M*A*S*H or Fletch was--but it doesn't matter since they know Superbad and Old School and The Room.
It's not necessarily damning, in isolation, that you don't twitter or facebook or myspace. There are plenty of people who don't know or use those social networking sites. But what's worse is--it doesn't matter that you don't know. No one cares that you don't know. Just go back to your rocking chair and listen to your Synchronicity album on your cassette tape Walkman.
You're out of the coveted 18-34 demo. Advertisers don't care what you watch, or buy, or think.
That day may come, when the cacophony of naysayers finally breaks through and pushes you out to pasture. And tells you that you've outlived your useful life. That you're not needed anymore.
We all know that day is coming. We all dread that day.
For Garret Anderson, he of the batting average that hasn't seen Mendoza levels since mid-April, that day may be near. But that day wasn't on Wednesday. It may have taken six tries at the plate in yesterday's game, but this day, this glorious day, was finally his.
And today at least, he deserves to enjoy it.
Congratulations, Garret Anderson, on your walkoff hit. And thank you, not only for the victory, but also for giving some of us almost-old guys and gals some more hope.
photo: AP/Mark J. Terrill