It all started with a piece of junk mail – not junk e-mail like spam, the real mail, which nowadays is comprised primarily of junk (dear occupant) since no one writes anything on paper any longer. As I am sifting through the unruly pile of fliers and advertising circulars, (40% off at Gus’ Golf shop this weekend only!), I happened upon a mailing from the AARP. I thought: “Ha, shows you how crappy the market research is on this stuff – they don’t even know how old I am”. The flier, along with most of the rest of the pile wound up serving as lining for my Conure’s cage (a fitting, if ignoble re-purposing of the stuff, in my view). Then, not two days later, I received a mailing from a local mortuary – promising “peace of mind for my family after my passing” – if I were only to shell out a sufficient chunk of dough prior to the tragic event, that is. (I am reminded here of the hilarious and clever John Denver song “Forest Lawn: ”to have a simple resting place is my desire; to lay me down with a smiling face comes a little bit higher”) But that’s not the issue I am focused on here – the point is, in a mere 48 hours’ time I had been upgraded from “Senior Citizen” to “Dearly Departed” – what on earth was going on here? Was someone privy to information I did not have?
I moved on, relegating the whole affair to poor, if not misguided, marketing and returned to my rather busy two-job lifestyle. Surely a gentleman who is currently holding down two jobs must be packing a full quotient of youthful vim and vigor, right? Well, the mailings did not stop, or even slow down, – persistent in their insistence that I would be wise and prudent to consider their offerings. And, despite my conviction that none of that claptrap was relevant to me (in my mind’s eye and mirror, I remained the same man I was at age[redacted] (thought I was going to slip up, there, didn’t you?).
So, there I was, tooling happily along, serene in the assurance that Father Time’s Relentless March (remember the Dark Magic he works behind your back?) somehow did not apply to me. Surely that little nagging pain in my left hand was just a muscle sprain and would soon depart, as would the persistent ache and pains throughout the rest of me. (These were surely just the outcome of standing too long in one place at my part time job, exacerbated by a chronic lack of sleep.) Anyway, this litany of ailments probably strikes most of you as an all-too-familiar song. To cut directly to the chase; as it stands now, the only parts of me that still function the way they are supposed to no one is interested in anymore. I find myself asking: “when the heck did this all happen?” Obviously, I was not paying attention – a by-product of my ADHD (as if ADD by itself isn’t bad enough, there has to be a HIGH DEFINITION version of the malady, which I apparently am afflicted with.) BTW, I AM paying attention, now as I recently had a visual epiphany; passing by a small mirror, I caught a fleeting glimpse of “some old guy” – apparently when I look in the mirror to be sure that I am not looking my age, I see what I am seeking, however, when I am caught off-guard, the self-delusion becomes immediately apparent. (Who the hell is that old coot in the mirror?) Some years ago, when I worked as a substance abuse counselor, I was fond of telling clients that the function of therapy and groups was to “hold up gentle mirrors” in an effort to help clients see the truth about their behavior and lifestyles. Life has no such circumspection, bringing The Truth to the foreground with disturbing alacrity and veracity. Full-on reality check with a side of vengeance – a vindictive approach, to be sure, but one I suspect is brought about as a form of punishment for all the years spent lying to myself (and fooling no one else) about the reality of my life tenure.
So, suddenly the mailings do not seem quite so misdirected and I find myself paying attention (as best as my ADD-afflicted self can manage) to the never-ending list of medicines advertised on TV that will cure the ever-growing list of medical conditions I probably have but am unaware of (as are, presumably, my doctors). It’s amazing – it appears the longer the human race exists, the more debilitating conditions exist to rob us of our “life enjoyment”. I recall a much simpler time when as an official “old codger” I need only worry about developing the Heartbreak of Psoriasis. Today, it seems, I am probably suffering from any or all of a veritable alphabet soup of conditions – The pharmacological companies, armed with a list of acronyms that would do the DOD proud, have made it their business (in more ways than one) to warn me of all the various infirmities and conditions that are out there, just waiting for a chance to afflict me. Anyway, I need to close out this rather lengthy missive before the chicken pox virus that is “already in my system” infects me with a full-blown case of shingles (1 out of three people ALREADY have the shingles virus in their systems). Also, I can’t tell if my urge to move on is being informed by my RLS or IBS – I probably have both since I am not taking the proper medications for those maladies. Fortunately, I’m not taking any opioids, else I’d be looking for additional fiber in my diet. It’s amazing that if you watch enough TV ads these days,, you can darn near get a medical degree on the information you gather through osmosis – the trick is remembering it all – I seem to have an issue doing that these days as well. (I feel obliged to mention here that my list of ailments does not include anything that starts with a capital “E” – those still-working parts, remember?). Anyway, here’s to youth – a commodity that is wasted, unfortunately on the young. I heartily hoist you a glass of Ensure and bid a fond farewell. (has anyone seen my glasses, BTW? I seem to have misplaced them…..)
Addendum: In recognition of the fact that he has made this writing two weeks in a row, I thought it appropriate to include a pic of my Conure – who is my constant companion and compatriot these days. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you : Baby C (does this guy ooze attitude, or what?)