Gray Doubt

The specter of old age is beginning to show up on my mental radar, which is strange for me. I’ve always been less ant than grasshopper (or perhaps locust) in the way I’ve led my life and my net worth shows it. So far, I’ve avoided having to worry about how to finance my retirement years by indulging in unhealthy vices. My logic was that people tend not to care about what Medicare will or won’t cover if they’ve been dead for twenty years.

As luck would have it, I’m descended from hardy peasant stock and at 44, am far healthier than I deserve to be. Unless I do something proactive like a swan dive off the Golden Gate bridge, I run a better than average chance of achieving geezerdom.

My pal Betty, being a financial journalist and therefore more adept at seeing the writing on the wall, has her bases covered. Her retirement plan will ensure that she can enjoy her dotage with all the pleasures the future will bring, including jet-powered walkers, organ replacements on demand (thanks, China!), virtual-reality pool boys, and the latest in deodorant technology to stave off that old-people smell.

And let’s not forget the medical bills. Living longer does have its drawbacks: broken hips, incontinence, cancer of the everything. Betty told me that no more than a few percent will be financially able to handle the expense on their own.

So what’s going to happen to the rest of us in my age bracket thirty years down the road? Or more to the point, what’s going to happen to me? God knows. At least I don’t have to worry about a revival of the old Eskimo tradition of setting wrinkly folk adrift on ice floes. Global warming will have melted them all by then.