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Section Gee! | Off-Kilter

Smartly Approaching Midlife

November 09, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Middle-Age Malaise Bureau: Ever since we turned 40 a few months ago, we've been seriously thinking about having a midlife crisis. So we bought a copy of "Midlife Crises for Dummies" and studied the key chapters, such as "Creative Cheating on Your Wife" (which includes a math table to determine if your mistress is at least half your age), "Virility-Boosting Cars" and "Choosing the Right Gold Chain to Wear With Your Unbuttoned-to-the-Navel Polyester Shirt."

For some of the steps, adaptations were necessary.

Since we are still single, we had to rent a family to walk out on. Then we began dating a 19-year-old (also rented) and driving a flashy foreign convertible. Well, actually, we couldn't afford a new car, so we just cranked open the sunroof on our VW Jetta.

Next, we decided to update our personal effects. In college, some guys thought it was hip to always carry a condom in their wallet--"just in case." Now that we're 40, it has been suggested that we always carry a Viagra pill in our wallet.

At our birthday party in June, we even received one of the blue tablets from a doctor friend who thought she was being oh-so-clever. (We'll see how clever she feels when we turn her over to the state medical board for illegally dispensing prescription drugs.)

We're now thinking of postponing our midlife crisis until 50, on the theory that we'll then live to be 100 instead of 80.

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Parrot Earp Department: Why do cops and politicians keep taking credit for falling crime rates when it's obviously the work of parrots? For example, when a gang of crooks recently burglarized a pet shop, it was a parrot that solved the crime. According to the book "Animal Angels" (Conari), the crooks made the mistake of calling each other by name during the break-in. The next day, a parrot at the store recited the names to police, and the thieves were busted.

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Ironic Books Bureau: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that author Duane Brown just published "a book written to be read by teenagers about to drop out of high school." Which should help, because everyone knows would-be dropouts are voracious readers.

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Weird Polls Department: Do sitcoms cause liberalism? A new survey by Copernicus, a Massachusetts-based marketing consulting firm, found that more than half of those who regularly watch two or more sitcoms are Democrats, whereas only one in five TV comedy fans vote Republican.

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Going Postal: In response to our report on Burger King's new "fly-thru" restaurant in London (which has a take-out landing pad for helicopters), reader Clayton Fuller notes that scuba-diving reefs are sometimes nicknamed for onshore landmarks, such as Hospital Point or 1,000 Steps. In Grand Cayman, he says, a scuba spot just offshore from a fast-food restaurant is called Burger King Reef, which divers sometimes refer to as a "dive-thru."

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Woman, 24, Sues Parents for $525,000 for Making Her Clean Her Room as a Teen!" (Weekly World News)

Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Ann Harrison, Mike Fisher, Wireless Flash News Service, Gene Edward Veith, Terri Williams (belated). Off-Kilter is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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