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If This Is Mid-Life, Where's the Crisis?

Sam Cook
Illustrations by Joy Morgan Dey
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv2k4
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  • Book Info
    If This Is Mid-Life, Where's the Crisis?
    Book Description:

    If This Is Mid-Life, Where’s the Crisis? explores the peaks and pitfalls of being forty-something and married--with kids. Sam Cook takes you on a rollicking ride through mid-life with stops along the way to enjoy life’s special moments. Finding humor in the little things that drive us all crazy, he helps you laugh at the trials and tribulations of family life. But Sam is not just funny--his delight in life’s small pleasures shines through in every story. If This Is Mid-Life, Where’s the Crisis? brings the lively wit and gentle insight of one of the Midwest’s best-loved newspaper columnists to readers everywhere. “Reading Sam Cook is like spending an hour with your most terrific friend. He is smart, kind, thoughtful, honest, hopeful, and hilarious.” Lynnell Mickelsen, journalist “Sam Cook, in the tradition of Mark Twain, transforms the ordinary occurrences of everyday life into extraordinary stories.” Bob Cary, author, Root Beer Lady Author of the award-winning outdoor series, Up North, Quiet Magic, and CampSights, Sam Cook also shares his insights and observations through his weekly columns in the Duluth News-Tribune. His work has been reprinted in Reader’s Digest.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9973-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. viii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    S. C.

    Most Wednesday mornings, I get a little edgy. That’s because every Wednesday at noon, my Friday column is due.

    Some weeks, I have it finished sooner than that. But more often than not, I’m still fidgeting and rewriting and pushing words around right up until noon.

    I’ve been enduring Wednesday mornings this way for about five years now. That’s how long there’s been the Friday column.

    I’m sure some readers of theDuluth News-Tribune,where these essays first appeared, were a little surprised by my ramblings on Friday about kids and love and life. Before that, I had written mainly...

  4. Life’s OK, mostly
    (pp. 1-18)

    We are dancing in the living room. Just the two of us.

    I’m the one in the blue jeans and T-shirt, getting ready for work. I’ve already had my Shredded Wheat and toast.

    He’s the little guy in my arms, almost three, still in his gold pajamas. They’re the kind with the feet in them, and they’re tattered from high mileage.

    I had put the tape on because I wanted to hear one song from it. Nothing you’d recognize, probably, but I had played it the night before and couldn’t get it out of my head. “Silver Thunderbird,” by Marc...

  5. Working it out
    (pp. 19-44)

    A recent night. Eleventhirty P.M. Second-floor bedroom.

    The two of us had turned in for the night. One of us was tired and pregnant. The other was merely tired.

    I’m not sure how long the light had been out. Two minutes would be a generous estimate. Then, from the darkness, came the sound of a voice I recognized as that of Tired and Pregnant.

    “You’re on my side,” she said.

    “No, I’m not,” I answered.

    “You are, too,” she said.

    We had been through this before. Roughly a billion times. I knew what was coming next.

    “One, two, three and...

  6. Transition hairstyles and other issues
    (pp. 45-64)

    I once married a woman who had long, straight hair. Brunette. Not down to her waist or anything, but long. It blew in the wind and looked good wet and I fell in love with her in biology class and we got married.

    The same woman walked in the other night after coming home from the beauty shop. Her hair was chopped at the neck. The rest of it was swirled and piled so high and so far back I thought maybe she’d been caught in a cotton-candy machine. It looked as if her hair had been designed by an...

  7. And then there were four of us
    (pp. 65-94)

    For a long time, I denied it. I thought I was still in control of my life.

    I know better now.

    My life has been taken over by a small person, infiltrated by the trappings of life as perceived by a five-year-old’s brain.

    The evidence is before me constantly.

    I eat many of my meals on a Bert and Ernie placemat.

    In the living room, what once served as a coffee table has now been layered with kids’ blankets. From under the top blanket protrudes a bald plastic head bearing a shock of synthetic hair. The doll smiles vacantly at...

  8. Gerbils and other realities of the forties
    (pp. 95-122)

    I called my friend Larry the other day.

    “Larry,” I said. “I need to put down a concrete run for my dog kennel. Is that something I can do myself?”

    Larry knows me. Knows my skills with saw and square and level.

    No, Larry said. I should not attempt to pour myself a dog run.

    So, as always, I called around until I found someone who had the skills necessary to do the job, asked him what it would cost, and paid him to do it.

    He came a couple of weeks ago. Did it in one day. Now I...

  9. Life as we know it
    (pp. 123-146)

    Today’s topic is “How to Eat an Entire Row of Girl Scout Thin Mints and Still Feel Good about Yourself.”

    Yes, it can be done. I know. I did it just the other day.

    OK. It wasn’t an entire row. The packet had been opened, and I’m guessing that one, maybe two Thin Mints already had been eaten. I base my case on simple logic: Who would open a row of Thin Mints and not eat one?

    Right. Nobody.

    In case you’re not living with a Brownie Girl Scout, as I am, then maybe I should describe Thin Mints. They...

  10. Youth soccer and other parental rites of passage
    (pp. 147-172)

    Welcome to today’s class on Creative Parenting.

    Today’s subject is “Getting Your Eye Poked Out.”

    I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, it seemed like my parents were constantly harping at me not to do something because “you’re going to poke somebody’s eye out with that thing.”

    Near as I can tell, this warning was universal among 1950s parents.

    We’d be playing pirate or cowboys or war with some harmless object like a sharpened stick or a barbecue fork or a broken-off fishing rod, and our parents would see us and sure enough, they would invoke...

  11. Life is sweet
    (pp. 173-176)

    I think it was the way the gull looked at me. That and the images of my wife and kids that kept appearing in my mind.

    I was sitting on a sand dune on Minnesota Point, wondering if maybe, possibly, crazily, something was going haywire in my heart.

    A mile and a half into a noon-hour run, the feeling had begun to grow in my chest. Not pain. Not the proverbial elephant sitting on one’s chest. But something unusual, a tightness I hadn’t felt before.

    So I walked for a bit, then sat down on the dune. I’d been there...

  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-177)