I was reminded last week that I’m getting older, and that I shouldn’t still be doing some of the things I’ve always liked doing. Of course, I acknowledged the fact that I’m getting older, but I’m not going to stop doing the things that have made it worth getting older.
Quoting the late Andy Rooney, “Death is a distant rumor to the young.” And speaking from personal experience—and ONLY for myself—I agree with him.
As countless others before me have done, I spent the first one-third of my life as a card-carrying member of a club called “Young,” without giving so much as thought to death.
But it gradually dawned on me—and I didn’t care one bit for the thought—that whether I liked it or not, EVERYONE dies at some point . . . from some cause. And STILL, the tangible impact of its reality didn’t smack me nearly as hard at the age of twenty-six as it does NOW, in my mid-seventies.
Even now, in my later years, death’s inevitability tends to be more of a nagging apprehension than a genuine resolution to its certainty. And seeing as how no physician has yet to confirm otherwise, my demise remains a rumor—at least in my mind—only not quite as distant a one!
But I suspect that, age notwithstanding, terminal diagnoses produce knee-buckling sensations that are compounded even more when a physician lets us know—with amazingly accurate statistical certainty—approximately when we’re due to check out.
The late George Burns, as he approached his 100th-year birthday, often said that once you reach 100-years old, you have it made because very few people die beyond that age.
But, on the other hand, this same man began complaining about his sex life around the age of 80. “It’s like trying to shoot pool with a piece of rope,” he’d say.
Anyway, having stated all of this, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have absolutely no fear of death. Dying, however, is a different matter altogether.
Death is a state wherein one no longer exists, other than as a memory in the minds of family, friends, and associates. Dying, on the other hand, is the means by which one transitions from the living to the dead, and, truthfully, that scares me a bit.
There are many ways in which one may die. For me, any way that is not quick—like a massive heart attack, killed instantly from being hit by a motor vehicle, even shot through the heart—bothers me immensely.
But death doesn’t bother me in the least, but not because I’m a God-fearing Christian; I’m neither: God-fearing or Christian.
I’m a bonifide agnostic; I haven’t the slightest clue if there is a God or not. However, since religious doctrine is asserted without even the slightest tangible evidence, I am entitled to dismiss it without evidence as well.
When I die, I believe that I’ll simply cease to exist. It will be as peaceful after I’m dead as it was before I was born. I’ll have no idea that I’m dead, or that I ever lived; my window of consciousness will have closed forever.
In the meantime, getting older hasn’t been a big deal for me. Life is still pleasant; I don’t run any more, but I walk as fast as I ever have. Nor do I shoot pool with a piece of rope.
With my knees, I no longer stoop down to pick up coins that I drop. I’m a virtual legend at Wawa because of it. Kids follow me all over the store hoping. And to tell you the truth, sometimes I drop coins on purpose if the kids are young.
And finally, I learned to follow Jack Nicholson’s three cardinal rules for aging men. I present them herewith.
First, NEVER pass up an opportunity to use the bathroom BEFORE going anywhere outside your home!
Second, NEVER waste an erection!
And third, no matter what, NEVER trust a fart!
Have a great week!