I don't expect to be reincarnated,
so I'll blog about dying and death (with appropriate irreverence) while I'm still alive.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I think I'm running out of time to read my books.

I'm typing this in a room filled with books, in a house filled with books. A quick estimate indicates that I have about 400 linear feet of books (100 feet more than the length of a football field, with the books standing up, not lying in the grass).

With an average thickness of one inch, and 12 books per foot, those 400 feet mean that I have a frightening total of about 4,800 books. That can't compare with the Library of Congress's collection of several million books, but it's pretty good for an amateur bibliophile.

And that 4,800 doesn't include hundreds of other books on my iPad, Kindle Fire, desktop, laptop and smart phone, and on the UPS truck coming from Amazon. Or what I might pick up at Barnes & Noble this afternoon.

I'm what is called an avid reader. I'm also a collector. That can be fun --  or a dangerous combination.

I read everything. I read labels, cereal boxes, signs and even magazines that I should have no interest in (including one for tow truck operators, one for poultry farmers, one for appliance dealers and another one about air compressors).

When I was a young teenager I subscribed to about two dozen magazines -- everything there was about science, cars, cameras and electronics. They took up a lot of space. One summer I decided that instead of going to the beach club every day, I would devote three days each week to going through my collection. I'd cut out the interesting articles and file them for future reeference.

This was actually a problem, not a solution.

At the age of 14 I could not afford to buy a photocopier and therefore could not resolve the dilemma caused by pages with important articles on both sides -- but about different subjects that should go into separate folders.

But even worse was the depressing realization that the magazines were coming in faster than I could read, cut and file them. I stopped being a librarian and swam more.

And that brings me back to 2012.

I assume that I've read about half of my books. To make it simple, I'll assume I have about 2,500 p-books and e-books to go. According to my theory, I have about 23 years left. I acquire about 80 books a year. I read about 100 books a year. I'll assume that as I age my acquisition rate may diminish, and my reading speed may also diminish, However I'll probably have more time to read.

Although my College Board scores in "verbal" were much better than in math, my quick computation makes me think I'll die with about 2,400 unread books.


What should I do?

Should I read faster, live longer, stop buying, or get rid of a lot of books.

Sadly, none of the options seem likely.

(Top photo is from

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is living long really better than dying young?

Several times a month I come home and stand in front of my door and press the button on my car key and get pissed off because the house door doesn't open.

However, my mother (age 89) has recently realized why my late father doesn't visit her anymore. She said that Pop got out of his coffin and married someone else.

She also reported that three mechanics were working on the air conditioner in her bedroom and left through the back door -- which does not exist. She also thinks her name is written on the ceiling above her bed, and that a woman called her at 2 a.m. Tuesday and asked her to marry her. She told me that a family with three kids was living in her guest room and said that my brother and his wife were living under her coat.

Mom was an extremely bright, aware, articulate, active lady with a master's degree and almost a PhD. Now she can't stand up and gets too tired to talk.

I sure hope this is not a preview. Life was much simpler when our ancestors got gored by woolly mammoths or toasted and eaten by fire-breathing monsters -- at age 17.

What is it?

I started a brief conversation with my wife a few minutes ago and she asked me to wait a minute because the garbage disposer was running and she couldn't hear me.

When she turned it off I could not remember the subject of the conversation.

I'm not merely losing it -- sometimes I don't even know what "it" is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting closer to the $$$

Another day older and another day closer to hitting the Soc-Sec jackpot. So far, being 66 is much better than being dead.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Counting down to my first Social Security payment

Will I still be alive on 5/17/12?

Will the Treasury still have money on 5/17?

At age 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50, being 66 seems disgusting and decrepit.

But actually being 66 is EXCITING. I feel like I've been stuffing quarters into a slot machine for half a century, and, finally, this month -- JACKPOT! Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

I had thought that my new wealth would become a slush fund for toys, travel, maybe a second house. Now I know it will pay bills. Damn.

Can I get Mitt to adopt me, or buy a ton of my books?