The face on the computer screen didn’t match the squeaky voice that came from between its lips but I didn’t comment on that.
Nor did I flinch when I thought he asked me if I could describe the inside of June though it seemed like an odd question to ask.
Just nodded my head and said I could provide a detailed an intimate description with knowledge no one else had.
When they asked if I had a specific and useful skill set I said many and offered: “Drunk Blogging For Amateurs” “Cartwheeling Through A Coven Tree,” “How to Earn The Undying Love Of A Shmata Queen” and “15 Ways To Destroy Your TED Talk.”
Took about ten minutes for them to comment on my creativity and to ask questions about my background and experience.
“Who are you and how did you replace Josh Wilner.”
“I am Josh Wilner and you’re not.”
I paused for effect and asked them what made them think they knew me.
“We haven’t had need or reason to have any serious engagement. You probably haven’t seen a resume so how would you expect to know any of this.”
“I have never seen you like this before, so it was kind of shocking. You’re usually so quiet.”
“Quiet probably isn’t a word many people would use to describe me.”
Thirty-Two Years Later
The younger Mr. Wilner turns 21 next month.
That got me thinking about a variety of things ranging from gifts, to similarities and differences between his life and mine.
It made me go looking through old pictures and I stopped on this one for a few. I am 20, my uncle is 45 and my father is 46.
Still throws me a bit to realize I am older now than both of them were in the photo and it is more than a couple of months.
In less than five years my uncle will be gone and I’ll have graduated from college and entered the workforce.
That 20 year-old has dreams about the future and no idea the man he’ll grow into will look at this photo and realize he is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
It is not a bad thing, but damn it feels surreal.
That kid wanted to be a father but not for a long time. And now I am looking across the room at the aforementioned younger Mr. Wilner. He has to be older now than I was in that picture.
It sounds silly, but I sometimes wonder how I am old enough to have a 21 year-old.
Hell, I am still reconciling that my baby is graduating high school this coming May.
All the years of soccer, basketball, school events and extracurricular activities are coming to a swift conclusion.
It is bittersweet because this is what we push for. We spend years teaching our kids how to grow up to be independent and then time moves faster than we expect.
I am starting to hear more stories from contemporaries, friends and exes becoming grandparents. That throws me a bit too, but less by the year.
Thirty-two years later it is strange to say that I am starting to realize the second half of life is almost here.