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.
I finally broke down and spent my hard-earned money to have someone do what I am apparently incapable of doing myself: cleaning my apartment. I love how my place looks. Betty loves how my place looks. My cat is less enthusiastic. She hasn’t seen the place in its current condition for quite some time and it must seem barren to her.
I’m not quite crazy enough to ask my cat’s permission to hire a cleaner but it would be nice if she had some opportunity to speak her mind after the fact. Unfortunately, my cat (like most) is incapable of uttering anything more intelligible than a plaintive meow, which could mean anything from “I have fleas” to “I have cancer.”
Because of this, I have decided to channel Dr. Seuss on her behalf.
I do not like this nice clean flat
I do not like ’cause I’m a cat
I like the stains from vomit spewed
I like the fridge with year-old food
I like the dishes in the sink
I like that lovely bathroom stink
I like the bread crust hard as rock
I like that crumpled spooged-in sock
I like the drain that’s clogged with hair
I like the trash strewn everywhere
But I do not like this nice clean flat
I do not like ’cause I’m a cat
Often though, you get what you pay for. Last night, I dreamt about and old punk-rock singer friend, whom I’ll call “Ray.” I haven’t seen him in over fifteen years and I hope he’s doing well. Other than his affinity for binge drinking, drug abuse, and domestic violence, he was a nice enough sort.
In the dream, he wasn’t so nice. He shot a good friend of mine in the head while in a chemically induced psychosis. The victim wasn’t anyone in particular, more a composite of people I’ve known over the years. Anyway, Dream Dave got a little peeved at Dream Ray over this and called 911 to rat him out to the cops.
By the time the police arrived, he had sobered up and all he said to me was, “Hi Dave, it’s been a while. You’ve put on weight.”
He apparently saved the last bullet for my ego.