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Macho Madness Hey, Whippersnappers!
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I recently turned 50.

I've heard people say "50 is the new 40," or some other sort of nonsense during the past couple of weeks, possibly in the spirit of cheering me up.

I'm not sure if this is true, but now that I've reached this benchmark I've found there is an upside to this whole turning 50 thing: I'm able to release my inner cranky old man.

So in this spirit, they're full of crap.

Family members might say I've been cranky for a while; this is probably an accurate statement.

But now, I can feel entitled to share my opinion with everyone by having lived a half century.

I was explaining my theory to my wife, Donnelle, the other day, but I don't think she bought it.

But all in all, it was a fun birthday. I received a bouquet of black balloons at work, which was a nice touch. Family and friends sent me some humorous cards, but I found it was those who have already reached the age of 50 who enjoyed my recent birthday the most.

My brother-in-law, Jerry, was pretty excited. He had passed this milestone a few years ago, and always enjoys welcoming new family members to this club.

How excited was he? Not one, or even two birthday cards would suffice. He had to get me three.

One spoke of looking on the bright side of reaching 50. The inside of the card, though, was classic.

"Okay, there is no bright side. There's a bright light, but you're gonna want to stay away from that."

Like I said, he was happy I joined the club.

One thing about my birthday is for at least a few months, Donnelle and I will be the same age. While one of our friends recently, and humorously, pointed out in a Facebook posting that Donnelle had "robbed the cradle," it only affects us for a few months out of the year.

But these are wonderful months for me.

Although we were high school sweethearts and graduated the same year, she was actually born in December. With my birthday in July, we have different years of birth.

Of course, this is not unusual for many couples; sometimes it is the male who is older, but every once in a while the woman has, let's say, seniority.

What makes it extremely fun for me is this; Donnelle was born in 1959, while I was born in 1960. Not only a different year, but also a different decade.

The possibilities are endless.

For example, a song might come on from the 1950s.

"You know, I love music from your decade," I'll say. "What was it like back in the 50s?"

This usually earns me an eye roll and a heavy sigh.

Or if a celebrity news item about a May-December romance comes on TV, I'll say, "Ooo, that could be us."

Kind of like she's Demi Moore to my Ashton Kutcher. (I originally had this line as "The lady from 'Ghost' and the guy from 'That 70s Show,'" but one of my colleagues helped me out.)

But it turns out Donnelle is going to have the last laugh.

As she gleefully pointed out to me a while back, Social Security benefits have changed depending on your year of birth. The cutoff for having to work more years for less benefits?

Those born in 1960 or later.

Once again, crap. No wonder us old guys are cranky...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.