How to keep your sense of humor and discover what matters at midlife while being really vulgar: a guide from funnyman Ochs.
Ochs wrote this guidebook because he was grappling with all of midlife’s little acceptances he didn’t want to accept. Nor did he have any intention of chucking the big stuff, like a good marriage, having enough, and laughing on the outside as he continued to laugh on the inside. A set of simple truths runs through his book: “1. I’m actually getting old. / 2. It’s ultimately going to suck. / 3. Tough shit. I will still need to live life to the fullest until I can’t anymore.” It’s not poetic—actually, kind of splintery—but fruitful in its own rough way. His plan is to approach the challenges with as much rudeness and as many invectives as he can muster, which he deploys here like a lion tamer’s chair and whip to prod midlife men into action as they consider “the schedule of decomposition our genes planned for us.” He doles out pearls of wisdom, some his own, some borrowed from Carl Jung, Kim Kardashian, Gandhi, Pliny the Elder, Buddha, Margaret Mead, and Louis C.K. There will be times when the reader will catch himself nodding his head in agreement—“Midlife crisis...is much less about a loss of flesh and far more about a loss of innocence, the stripping away of the illusion of choice and order”—or unleashing a guffaw: “Sitting in your underwear on top of some other pair of underwear you’re not wearing anymore while watching a game on TV and drinking a shitty beer (seriously, try some Belgian ales) is not officially ‘living.’ ” One longish anecdote involves an erection in a locker room shower. Another section almost breathtakingly explains how to deal with debt and losing your job. After all the zingers have zipped past and the end is in sight, readers may realize that Ochs has hit on elementals: stop being a dick; recognize the interplay of exercise and aging; treat older folks properly; move through the world with more than a modicum of consideration and awareness.
As Ochs says, “a do-it-yourself guide to working out your own shit,” the last any midlife ordinary Joe will need.