the thing that kills me

Sometime in the last year or two I suspect I’ve read about the malady that will kill me. It could be complications of osteoporosis, or some cancer, or emphysema, pneumonia, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes. It could be a lot of things. Elephants crush me to death at a circus. But in the end, it will be some certain thing, and I’ve almost surely read about it. Studied it in a clinical way, which means I studied it assuming it was some other person’s death. I’ve laid my innocent eyes on a paragraphical description of my own mortality.

And there are a lot of spectacularly shitty deaths lurking out there. Most of them, in fact.

Once upon a time I decided that I’d be the first person to live forever. Progress would be such that I could be the first to take advantage of the elixir, that lovely thing, that breaks mortality. I remember thinking that, when I was young.

I’d still like to think that, but it’s hard. For one thing, I don’t feel so good. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with me, but through the accretion of years I have various incredibly minor but apparently permanent disabilities that I have to compensate for. And there’s no stopping that parade; I’ll just get more and more of those. They’re like macabre fruitcakes doled out at Christmas parties. Nobody wants them, but we’re too polite to refuse.

I knew I was going to get old when I was a kid, I just didn’t really understand what that meant. I assumed I’d stay exactly the same except with more wrinkles and less hair.

Kids are insane. I watch my kids; they can’t wait to get on with the business of growing old. They don’t see how massive that rock is. It rolls, and it rolls at its own stately, awful speed. No matter how much they yearn for it to accelerate, it will not. I’ve told them there will come a day when they want that rock to slow down, but they don’t believe me. I’ve tried to explain to them how alarming that rock can be, but they don’t listen.

God love those crazy little people. It’s such a pity that they eventually become sane.

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