It is often said that jealousy is what drives us to be successful. Actually, I don't know if that is said at all because I just made it up for an opening to this piece, but it seems pretty true, no? Jealousy the deep, burning, coveting mood we get in when we see someone bigger, better, faster, richer and smarter has been around for hundreds, maybe even two-hundreds, of years and it's not going anywhere. But, while jealousy never goes away, it does change as you grow older.
0-8 Years Old: Toys. At first, it's all about oedipal complexes. You hate dad for taking mom away. But that jealousy soon fades when you realize how that dad is the one with the means to buy you toys and when you're a kid, nothing means more to you than toys. Not only are toys fun to play with, they are invaluable social status signifiers. In my day, if you had a either a Nintendo or Fireball Island nobody could touch you, you were that cool. I had both and, man, did I milk that for all it was worth. The problem with toys is that when a newer version of your toy comes out, you immediately go from envied to envious. I still remember the day Super Nintendo came out and ruined my entire childhood.
9-18 Years Old: Girls. I could be wrong about this one but I think I first started noticing girls when I was about nine years-old. I remember it was at this age when I first experienced body shame, which is a sign that I was thinking about what girls thought of me and my baby fat (still there at 22) Girls become like baseball cards; things to be collected. Of course, the fact that you're reading this online means that you did not date the hottest girl in school and probably spent most of your time hating the guy that did. You would look at your own girlfriend and brainstorm ways to make her more like that goddess who wouldn't even look at you, but to no avail. Also, you probably had a lot of conversations about how girls don't want nice guys like you. God, isn't it amazing how well I know you?
19-22 Year Old: Internships. Forget girls, you've been there and literally done that. It's time to focus on your future, son, and the best way to do that is to get really intense about finding an internship. Internships are the college equivalent of sports cars; the cooler yours I, the cooler you are. At my college, the kids who had the internships at MTV and Virgin Records pulled way more tail than the kids stuck at Simon, Webb and Cranford and Associates. I spent my college years practically drooling at the prospect of some glamorous internship where I'd be invited to sexy parties and hobnob with the cream of New York society. Instead I worked as a bouncer in a dive bar in the ghetto. And even though I love my job now and literally couldn't ask for a better one, I'm still pissed MTV wouldn't even look at my resume.
22-28 Years Old: Real Estate. Now that you're a grown up with a big boy job, you need something new and grown up to envy about your friends. Inevitably, you will turn to real estate. "Man," you'll say, "Chris' apartment is awesome" sure beats my blah blah blah." You'll find yourself looking at the real estate classifieds, window shopping at property brokers and driving around trying to find that perfect house you can't afford. You'll pretend that you own property in the country and plan out where, exactly, you'd put your helicopter landing pad on your imaginary estate. You'll inevitably have one friend who will make a ton of money right out of college and set himself up in a tremendously sexy bachelor pad. Remember who this guy is, you'll hate him for the rest of your life because he'll always be one step ahead of you. It's really best to just kill him now and go back to your studio apartment on the wrong side of town for a night of ramen noodles and stolen cable.
29-38 Years Old: Children. Well, look at you: married, nice house, good job and even a few kids. What could you possibly be jealous of now, you have everything you've always wanted, right? WRONG! Sure, you love your kids, but, man, wouldn't it be great if your kids could be more like your friend's? Your son wins his JV matches but his son wins varsity. Your daughter is at the top of her class, his daughter is comfortably in the middle of hers" at the country's bet private school. From soccer to little league to pee wee football to the science fair, there will always be kids better than your own. Sure, you could work with your children, educating them and molding them into better, more complete people, but isn't it easier to just curse them under your breath while you drink whiskey alone at a bar?
39-55 Years Old: Second wives. The kids are growing up and spending more time with their dirtbag friends than at home with you and your loving wife. There was a time, a few years ago probably, when you guys all felt like a family. But now, with the kids out doing heroin and sleeping with dangerous minorities, it's just you and your wife at home. Look at her, will you. What happened to the girl you married? Where did her ass go? Her toned thighs? Last time you checked her breasts weren't flopped lazily on her stomach, were they? No, this isn't the sexy young girl you married, this is her mother. That being said, you look at your friends who, being good Americans, got divorced and re-married. Their second wives are so much younger than that old bag you share a bed with. Look, Steve's second wife can still wear a bikini! Lucky guy" I bet they still enjoy sex. If only there was some way to divorce your wife and un-have your kids?! Sadly, there is no legal way to accomplish this. You can, however, have an affair. Why not, you've earned it! Plus, college girls who would have called you a loser twenty years ago now think you're refined and mature!
56-74 Years Old: Erections. Like it or not, you're stuck with your wife till death do you a favor and take that sour bitch away. The kids are long gone, off making horrible life choices by themselves finally, and you've probably been given that golden handshake after a lifetime spent toiling away at an office. Welcome to the golden year pal, but don't get too excited, there are still thing to be jealous of. At this age, you couldn't care less about what you look like or which gold diggers your friends are marrying, but you never stop caring about your abilities as a man. When you and your hag of a wife do enter into that most sacred and disgusting of unions you still want your soldier to stand tall. However, this is not always the case as, after years of abuse, your little guy isn't always up to the task. Of course, one of your friends will never have a problem getting or maintaining an erection. You'll quietly curse him, spending more time thinking about his genitals than a man your age should, and ponder ways in which you too can be a rock hard super stud like him. Then you'll give up, purchase Viagra and resign yourself to chemical boners for the rest of your life" whatever, it's not like you're going to enjoy the sex anyway, what with the arthritis and all.
75-88 Years Old: Regular Bowel Movements. Let's face facts, around 75 years old even you get grossed out at the sight of your naked body. You're wrinkly, saggy, leathery and God knows what else. Sex at this age becomes a serious risk to your health because Lord knows what you'd do if Mary broke her hip again; she's already had two replacements and we can't afford another one on our pensions. The envy you once had for guys that could achieve an erection without drugs becomes irrelevant and your envy shifts to something much grosser that old people having sex; old people on the toilet. Bowel movements become the focus of your entire day. Everything revolves around when you'll "make": your diet, your schedule, when you take your meds, etc. When you do use the bathroom chances are you'll need some assistance from a laxative or enema. A natural shit is almost unheard of at this age because, well to be honest, people aren't supposed to live this long. However, you'll have at least one friend who still shits like a twenty year old. He doesn't have to ingest powdered colonic fiber every time he wants to take a dump, he just goes. What you wouldn't give to be able to take a shit without planning it two days in advance. Some guys have all the luck.
88-100 Years Old: Death. Look at you; outlived all your friends, did you? Bummer, huh? Your life now consists of watching television in your nursing home and once a year visits from your children at Christmas. The more you think about it, the more you start to see the upside to death: no more diapers, no more pureed food, no more Matlock and no more question about who' getting what in your will. You'll think about your friends that have already die and cruse them to hell for skipping this portion of life. They're dancing in heaven while you're wallowing in your own filth and trying to remember your grandkid's names. Why couldn't you have been so lucky? Well, I've got some good new for you; if it's death you want, I can guarantee you're going to get it. Just be patient like you've been your whole life and soon enough your children will be fighting over the $8,000 worth of GE stock before you're even in the ground.