Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What Aging Is

Ah, okay. I get it now. I see what Aging is.

Back when people got old in their 60s and were largely immobile and drooling by age 70, it made sense to start falling apart circa age 55. We were gradually shown that things were winding down. It was a kindness; a gentle pivot to denouement.

Like the music on Final Jeopardy, or the orchestra swelling during an Oscar acceptance speech, we were told to start wrapping things up. Nothing extreme! Vision gets blurry, hearing gets scratchy, everything hurts a little, and recovery becomes a slog. Body parts become more like inanimate objects - less able to self-repair, they carry the cumulative damage of every minor indignity.

Having offered due notice, god (or whatever) avoids liability. It's not like you didn't have ample fair warning!

But in an era when most of us expect to live past our mid 80s, these middle-age warning shots no longer serve their intended purpose. Instead, they augur an entirely gratuitous headwind; a snide reminder that the impending three decades will be spent battling obsolete artifacts of diminishment.

I'm not bitter. I accept. It sure beats the alternative! But I hadn’t realized how pointless these challenges are, given current lifespans. The timer incessantly rings, but dinner's nowhere near cooked!

There's no choice but to embrace these vestigial alarms. That's the only way to play it.


Unknown said...

Jim: Was this opine prompted in any way by your birthday? Blame NPR for blabbing that little factoid (assuming that the radio report today was live and not from the the wayback machine). Our little community radio station here in Nevada City is the culprit for running this noontime filler. I actually host The Beer Show on KVMR the second Tuesday of each month. Link upon request. So delightful to hear your dulcet tones oozing from my speakers even if you were trying to get a vegetarian to violate her sacred vows.
Happy birthday, my friend. Hoping you have someone special to change your drool bucket. I do...

Tom D
Nevada City, Calif.

Jim Leff said...

Tom, it’s not my birthday (but thanks!), and I’m not aware of any recent NPR thingies on me. Sounds like a repeat of some ancient one.

Speaking of ancient ones, I WISH I could still drool. I’m now reduced to dry-drooling. And there’s nothing meaner than a dry drool.

Display Name said...

aw you took down that cryptic hero post was just gonna re-read it. You aren't going to the princeton bennigans for thanksgiving again are you? I ordered a smoked turkey from sd this year but he is selling them unstuffed with outside filling available. I'll make my own dam stuffing. Had a surreal moment when I saw SD put a poem up mashing up the night before christmas and his smoked turkeys. SD is a big guy and I swear I was the muse on that one. When SD came back to lansdale about a year ago I went there the first day. SD stopped by to see how everything was and I blurted out that it felt like christmas and he was santa claus! anyhoo hope you have a restful and relaxing feast day Jim!

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