The next time it is close to the end of the month of July,
and if I am still around, I will be 86, and so I suppose I am expected to think
that, in my own case, that is an interesting question. And I am interested. Maybe even very interested. Not, however, interested enough to want to
know the answer. I don’t know why
anyone would ever want to know ahead of time the exact date of their departures.
I started thinking about this not so much in connection with
what will happen with me as it was in reaction to the latest comments I’ve been
reading on progressive sites in the Internet about the ages of the Supreme
Court Justices. It seems that of the
four oldest, two, Ginsburg and Breyer, are liberals, and both are younger than me, though not by
These commenters like to ask uneasy questions and to make
uncomfortable speculations, such as that in four years, when the next
Presidential elections roll around, the chances are good that by that time at least two of
those four oldest justices will be gone and, in addition to having successfully evaded honoring Obama's choice for Scalia's replacement, the current president-elect
will have also replaced those latter two retired or deceased justices with hard-ass conservative types, and thus will have already made life difficult for a huge number of American citizens who deserved much better, for a long while to come.
Besides the political implications there, the way that that prognostication
reflects on my own personal situation throws an extra chill into me, though not
for long, because I don’t feel particularly close to death, and therefore I
don’t think the chances for those two or even just one of the older liberal justices to skate out of here in four
years are that good either, if what my person tells me is any indication, and
unless these justices already have threatening health conditions that I don’t
I think I have very good prospects for putting in another
five years at least, or until age 90.
This is because generally I feel all right, and I’m not aware of having any
conditions that ordinarily take out senior citizens, even those much younger than me,
though I know perfectly well that something final could hit me at any moment and
I would never know that it had happened.
I have long since been told that I have heart murmurs, but the doctor
didn’t consider those serious enough to do anything about it right then. Also occasionally -- though I haven’t told
anyone about it till now, dear reader, because I believe it’s been going on all
my life -- every once in a while I experience a sudden jolt to my nervous
system, as if I’ve been hit with 200 volts briefly. But like the murmurs, that has been happening
for far too long to me to see it as an indicator of more serious matters.
Meanwhile every once in a while a friend will say that,
because I do so little harmful stuff and therefore generally still look okay,
they see no reason why I shouldn’t, in fact, hit age 100. But I am not comfortable with that idea,
because I don’t want to need any assistance when it comes to walking
around. I don’t want to need any
Yet, at the very same time I would very much like not only
to hit 100, but also to go much farther and reach age 115, which seems to be as
long as anyone lives these days, so that, should you get to be that age and
are declared to be the world’s oldest living human, that news would be enough
to bump off a person right there, because it would mean that he or she only has
at best a few more weeks before he or she is no more and is quickly replaced in
being so distinguished by the next oldest.
--No, I would like to live that long only because I have
always been fascinated by the answers that the extremely aged give to eager young
reporters who like to ask them what enabled them to grow that old, because I suspect
that few if any of those respondents really know. The factors are too numerous.
Therefore, as an intellectual exercise seasoned with a touch
of mischief, I have spent more time than I should, thinking up the answer that I would give,
should I be in a position to be so asked, though my reply, too, wouldn’t be
actually an answer, because as to why I was still hanging in there, I wouldn’t be any better informed
than anyone else.
In light of what I’ve just mentioned about life expectancy after
being designated the “world’s oldest living person,” the most appropriate
response upon hearing about that development would be to recoil in feigned horror and to
strike one’s self in the head while exclaiming, “I am? Really?
The Oldest Living?” OHHHH shit!”
And saying that not with pride but instead with alarm in my tone. I have even practiced using that tone.
I have not made a career out of using bad words, but I would
get a big kick out of saying just that, to some
fresh-faced female 20-year old with a pen in her hand. It would be almost worth living that long in a world that otherwise has had far too many truly appalling moments, even though the luck of timing and of geography may have allowed me to avoid a large number of the very worst.