Columnist

Mike Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and published author. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

October was rough. It is usually my favorite month. It’s got my birthday and Halloween. Two of my favorite holidays! My birthday, Oct. 11, often falls around, or near, Columbus Day. For years, I thought banks and post offices closed to celebrate me. Why wouldn’t they? I’m a national treasure.

My birthday fell on a Sunday this year. Normally, I would whoop it up on my big day. This year, I think I did chores and watched Netflix. In other words, it was exactly like every other pandemic weekend since March. Most of this year has been one nonevent after another since St. Patrick’s Day, or, rather Not St. Patrick’s Day.

Side note: While I wore green on St. Patrick’s Day, I didn’t raise a mug of beer or say “Erin Go Bragh” once. Of course, I don’t like normally run around drinking beer or speaking Gaelic. I was too afraid to pinch anyone not wearing green, because I wasn’t touching anyone.

But I digress, like I do. My birthday was like any other Sunday, except I had received a few beautiful and loving cards – congratulating me on living yet another year. I hope to get them for many years to come, but, let’s face it, the bucket is in view; I just haven’t kicked it yet.

Carl Reiner once said, “Every morning I check the obituaries before breakfast. If I wasn’t listed in it, I would have my oatmeal.”

I don’t normally feel old, but two weekends after my birthday, I was invited to be in a short film for a sketch/improv group named Classy & Relevant. I was cast as “Old Man.” I played a 90-year-old. And no, I was not wearing prosthetics, makeup, or any special thing to make me look older. Ouch.

It was a severe blow to my fragile ego.

I had a blast on set. However, all my lines were about being old. My actual dialogue was, “I forgot to take my meds,” and I thought, in real life, if I forgot to take my pills, I’d probably die. Yikes!

At one point, the director, Zane, asked us to improv some lines about being old. It was way too easy. I just talked about my medical history, my meds, and my recent colonoscopy. It was comedy gold!

The whole experience made me feel ancient, especially since I got lost on my way home. It wasn’t exactly that moment in “On Golden Pond,” where Henry Fonda gets lost at the end of his driveway. I just refused to turn my GPS back on because I was listening to a captivating story on NPR.

They say, “Age is relative,” and I don’t even admit my age to my relatives!

My nephew Max tried to get the number out of me. He even asked, “Are you able to get in Kennywood at half price yet?” He is both sneaky and cheeky.

I’m not old enough to read the obituaries and check for my name. Maybe next year.

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