I’m not sure what possessed me to decide to keep the “Aging Hip Replacement” column going after Dave told me he needed to take a break. Perhaps it’s the fact that I don’t want to see one of my favorite columns on the site fall by the wayside. Perhaps it’s the fact that I like talking about myself and have resisted opportunities to do so lately beyond the 140-character variety (thus resulting in a fairly large buildup of subject matter.) However you slice it, I’ve decided that I’m gonna keep the Aging Hip flame burning until Dave comes to his senses (or gets pissed off by me wrecking his column) and returns.

Of course, my version of this column will have a fairly different flavor. There are some pretty distinct cultural differences: Dave is 40, white, straight, married, a college grad, bald. He grew up in relative suburbia, listening to alternative rock and hair metal. I’m 36, black, gay, single, without a college education, raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, a child of Michael Jackson, New Edition and hip-hop. I’m trying to work miracles with the little bit of hair I have left. And that’s just the surface. Although I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and being friends with Dave for almost a decade now and I love the guy, we’re two different people. Two completely different people. I don’t and have never really considered myself a hipster. I’m sure there was a time in my late teens and early twenties when I considered myself “hip,” in whatever universe I was in. I wore Docs, then I stole my roommate’s army boots. I bleached my hair. I smoked clove cigarettes (what can I say? I hung out with a lot of lesbians.) I bought and read “On the Road.” That was a phase, I guess-one of many guises I’ve adopted over the years. But I don’t know if it was ever “me.” And stealing those army boots not only left me with a nasty case of athlete’s foot, as it turns out, walking in those things every day does a lot of damage to your tootsies. I certainly don’t consider myself a hipster in the 21st century sense of the word. I’ve only just started wearing fitted jeans a year or so ago. I’ll be damned if I take the step into wearing skinny ones. First off, my muffin top would be ridiculous. Second, my nuts need to breathe. I can only imagine what sort of tucking goes on in the skinny jeans world. Besides, I like shitty music unironically. I could never be a hipster. Though I can grow a mean beard when I want to. And I have the glasses.

At any rate, I have a pretty serious amount of content for this column. After all, I see a therapist-sometimes multiple times a week. I’m often doped up on anti-anxiety medication as well as antidepressants. I’m trying to work my way through a fair amount of damage. I have a colorful job, which leads to a somewhat colorful life, the contents of which I shouldn’t divulge to those of you who don’t already know what it is. My cultural uniqueness alone gives me a fairly unique vantage point from which to see the world.

All of which to say-there will be plenty of opportunities for this column to be about me. Hell, I’ve spent the last 500 words writing about myself (OK, I wrote a little about Dave.) But I really want to use this first column to draw attention away from myself, and towards the victims of Hurricane Sandy who need your help.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’re well aware that Hurricane Sandy has ravaged parts of the East Coast, from the mid-Atlantic all the way up to my former homes of New York and New Jersey. Here in Beantown, we were fortunate enough to just get some heavy wind and rain, but plenty of places are still underwater-with no electricity, no cell service, and no means of getting anywhere. If you’ve been watching the news, you know that large parts of NY and NJ are in pretty bad shape. Lots of folks are displaced.

I lived in either New York or New Jersey for 29 years. I have a good amount of family and friends still there, and it’s a little unsettling to be seeing all of this from a distance, knowing that there’s nothing I can do physically to help those in need. However, I can donate to the relief effort, thanks to the American Red Cross, and you should too. Of course, the Red Cross is helping hurricane victims all across the East Coast, and it’s the only organization I feel totally comfortable supporting right now because a) I haven’t done enough research to find out which organizations are legit vs. which ones aren’t, and b) I’m afraid of getting Wyclef-ed.

Anyhow, regardless of where you’re located, if you have suffered any hardship on account of Hurricane Sandy, my heart goes out to you. Stay safe. Hopefully the worst is over.

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