In intoxication, falling into chairs, against walls, and onto friends, a person enters a realm of free experience. Liquor unlocks the innocent belief that the way you feel about anyone else should be the way he feels about you. Drugs make perception the subject of experience, by slight derangement, tuning you to the colors, outlines, and movements we take for granted.

…they create experiences that push past the little you can learn about other people from social interactions and conversation, into immediacies it seems you couldn’t know in any other way. They point to a world a lot looser and more liberal than this one.

You can suffer hangovers in more shades of misery than the merely physical, and vow never to touch the stuff again. But somehow the experience seems definitive, for better and for worse. What was learned is not unlearned. Once you discover these earliest means to experience, of course, the question becomes how often you have to, or even can, discover them again, rather than repeating them with diminishing returns. So these forms of experience may or may not have a time limit to them, associated with the feeling of youth.

From Against Everything by Mark Greif

[FX: vinyl crackle]
[GRAMS: Heart of Gold – Neil Young]

Of course, I’ve heard the suffix ‘-narian’ to describe people of certain ages before, but for some reason only as applied to people of advanced seniority. ‘Octogenarian’ for 80-somethings, or ‘sprightly septuagenarian’ – alliterating and slightly patronising for the 70-somethings. The combination of polysyllabic term with high multiple of years accrued seems an appropriate fit.

Today, however, fumbling about for something Q-based to post that wasn’t simply a quartet (or quintet) of Queen videos, I discovered that there is – perhaps somewhat obviously – a list of words to describe age groupings for every decade (except, as far as I can glean, between the ages of 0 and 9, though I welcome further input on this).

Some of the nouns have pleasing suggestive qualities, such as sounding a little like Dr Who villains (denarians), or warring factions in a Swift pamphlet (vicenarians vs tricenarians; advocates of pure hedonism ranged against an officious clan that requires supporting paperwork signed in triplicate? Something like that.).

And, to the point, I was interested to discover that as I am between the ages of 40 and 49 I am a quadragenarian, with all the solid, square connotations implied in all of that, as well as the suggestion of being vexed with non-specific thigh pains. In my fifth decade.




With that in mind, here is a single Queen video:



Put your feet on the ground
Put your hand on your heart
Lift to your head to the stars
You’re a quadragenarian.