26

We traveled to the casino last night—hitting the seafood buffet for my birthday. It was a gift from my grandparents. A lot of kids grow up with families who make dinner and bake cakes. We don’t do that. We go to casino buffets for the crab legs.

My wife had only eaten crab once. I suppose it’s normal for people from Idaho; some things are just different here. Most interesting was her unfamiliarity with the tools. “This one is for cracking,” I explained, “this one for cutting.” She nodded, I spilled the butter.

So the whole table cracked. Shell bits flew everywhere. My brother and I compared crab-meat findings like gold miners compare nuggets: “Look at this one!” I made four trips total.

After dinner, we vagabonded from slot machine to slot machine, searching for the perfect one. I lost; my brother said I wasn’t doing it right. I’m not sure how else you do it. But he claimed whatever it was, I wasn’t doing it right.

Acceptance.

When I talk to people about aging, a lot of them mention acceptance. For instance, one lady told me she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin until she turned 50. One guy I know said something similar, except it was 30. I’m sure everyone is different. At some point we recognize who we are and become satisfied with the person in the mirror.

I don’t know if I’m there yet. I still feel I have too much to prove and figure out.

What I do know is that my family frequents the seafood buffet. I guess, overall, we’re casino people. You know those cute older ladies that talk out loud to slot machines, that’s my grandma. My grandpa likes the Texas Tea one. My brother has his favorites as well.

I’ve never much liked casinos; except for card playing and roulette. It’s not so much the smoke, but more so the sad weight of desperation that haunts every player’s shoulders. You can almost taste it. Still, if I want to get my grandparents and brother out of the house to spend the evening with, it’s where we end up.

Last night, I’ve never felt more comfortable around the ones that I love. I guess that’s part of that age acceptance thing. My family are casino people. And to be honest, maybe I am too.

Someday I think I’ll feel completely comfortable in my skin. Maybe 27? Until then, at least I am comfortable with my family. Even if they don’t bake cakes and sing me the birthday song. We love each other and express it uniquely. I suppose that’s something I can be comfortable with.

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