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Opening Remarks

On Turning 50

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Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson (the one with the giant head) hanging with the cool kids at this year’s Okaloosa RevFest in Downtown Fort Walton Beach.

Since we last talked, I turned 50.




My brother visited from Kentucky during Birthday Week, along with his wife and a pair of adolescent girls that stared at their smartphones almost as much as the old farts I hang with look at theirs. I’m still not sure who those kids belonged to.


It rained hard most of the week, but my brother and his posse managed to get a beach day in, as well as a bike ride along Scenic Highway 30A. I took them to the new Graffiti & Funky Blues Shack the first night they were here, which happened to be Matt McCarty’s Jazz Jam night. (Told you I’d make it out one of these nights, Matt.)


On my birthday proper, we—along with my mother and sister—enjoyed dinner at Boshamps here in beautiful (when it’s not monsooning) Destin. I had the lobster macaroni and cheese, because there’s nothing I like more than our locally caught Gulf lobster. And a few too many Johnnie Walker Black and sodas, but not too many, because I didn’t die.


The next night, the Manson and Hilton clans gathered at La Paz for a full-on celebration where we were joined by various friends, party crashers and complete strangers. Paula somehow managed to put together a wonderful slide show without me knowing. Still, I had always hoped those photos of Young Chris would never make it to digital format.


My mother still has a copy of my junior high school era Mad magazine ripoff that she’s threatening to release to the public if I do anything to piss her off. Which is why I’m always happy to help her move furniture at 3 a.m.


Anyway, back to the party. The Act4Murder gang (see Upcoming Shows, page 33) chipped in and gifted me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which I have yet to crack open. It’s been two weeks, and that baffles me. I know I’m not losing my mind, because I still kick Kindle Fire’s ass in Scrabble (Intermediate level, Best Word option disabled).


Perhaps I’ll treat myself now, since the new issue of Beachcomber is in the can. That’s definitely cause to celebrate.


In other As I Begin My Sixth Decade as a Man news…


I joined the Feel Good Naked gym down the street from our house, not because I was feeling any worse at 50 than I did at 49, but because there are a few tiny parts of my body (don’t go there) that haven’t gone to shit yet and why take a chance. On my first visit, I tried all the machines and rode the stationary bike for an exhausting four or five minutes.


I plan to return soon, because I left my headphones there.

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