June 27th, 2008

peepeing claude

...and taxes

he increasing number of emails I get every day warning me that the ladies are laughing about the size of my penis terrifies me. It wouldn't bother me so much, except that so many of them are from my mother. I try to keep things in perspective: she hasn't seen my penis since the early 1980s, but it was fully erect. Hot tip: when tossing it to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, be sure to lock the bedroom door.

One thing that scares the ever living shit out of me, though, is Andy Rooney. I mean just look at him. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have cotton puffs for eyebrows? I've become convinced that Andy Rooney died over a decade ago and was replaced by an animatronic. CBS would have you believe that the computer they added to his desk in the 90s was to give the appearance that Andy was in-step with the digital age, but it's really what controls him.

I'm not afraid of dying, never have been. If you believe in an after-life, then we continue and endure in a new place. If not, then we don't know we're dead or alive so it doesn't really matter. I am afraid of growing old, though. I'm afraid of the gradual and debilitating process of aging. My grandfather is 87. I can't even imagine what being at that stage of life does to the psyche. When you're young, it's easy to be philosophical about the future: that tomorrow may never come, live in the moment, carpe diem! Lennon said life's what happens while you're busy making plans, but it's true that everyone plans for a future. You fully intend to still be here tomorrow, next month, next year. What happens when you have to accept that that is no longer possible? When the prospect that you may have no more tomorrows becomes very real, how do you live in your own head? You can't defy the one thing certain about life. I fear that breaking point, that moment when you realize that there is no more future. The point where you give up.

I have no desire to live to be old for these reasons. I think 70 would be a good age, maybe 80 if I was in reasonably good health. I don't want to waste-away my final years in some long-term care facility. In cases like that, I think Alzheimers is a blessing. To become oblivious to reality and live in a fantasy world surrounded by long-deceased friends and family. To not know that your body systems are shutting down. To not suffer the look of pity and often patronizing tones of family. My hope is that when my time comes it will be quick: a sudden heart-attack or a stroke in my sleep and I never wake-up.

As with any fear, all I can do is face it. I know I can't defy the inevitable, but maybe I can find the ability to always believe in my own future until that final second.