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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Contemplating suicide (Relax. It's merely an intellectual exercize. There is no need to send help.)

A wise person once said that when you talk more about what you've done than about what you want to do -- you're old.

Based on that, I suppose I'm old. I'm scheduled to become 70 years old next April 15th.

  • I've gone SCUBA diving under ice, I've skied, experimented with various pharmaceuticals, been arrested, had a threesome and had my salad tossed, eaten raw clams, lived in The Bronx twice and been to four foreign countries. I've survived long enough to collect Social Security and Medicare. I've written lots of books, including a bunch of bestsellers. I have hundreds of friends on Facebook and a few in real life. I've earned and spent lots of money. I've voted in every election I was eligible to vote in. I was invited to the White House (Bush One) and was nominated to be Hispanic Businessman of the Year (a long, silly story). I live with a wonderful woman and a wonderful dog who both seem to like me.
  • I am unlikely to visit the moon, jump with a bungee, become president, earn a PhD, win a Pulitzer prize or an Olympic medal for jumping. At this stage, it's extremely difficult for me to stand up after being on the floor. I have no human children to provide grandchildren. I probably won't buy a 3D TV. My next home will be smaller and less-grand than my present home.
  • I am almost prepared for the end. My will needs to be updated but I've written the text for my headstone and planned the music for my funeral 
My bucket list is pretty much empty. It contains a few fantasies (time travel back for a weekend in 1967, read every book I own, own a Ferrari, get an honorary PhD from Lehigh and ride a fast camel across the dunes in Morocco).

There is just one semi-realistic item on the list. For years I've had a vision of staying in a cabin next to a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. 

So, with health declining, money waning, discomfort increasing and little or nothing to look forward to... why should I bother to stay alive until my anticipated death in 2035?

Is there any good reason to not kill myself right now?

There are a few:

  1. My wife and my dog need me.
  2. I have to sort out, throw out, and give away lots of stuff.
  3. I want to finish writing a few books I've started or planned.
  4. I actually enjoy large parts of most days. 
  5. Suicide is not reversible. 
  6. There is probably no pizza or ice cream after death.
  7. I'd like to get back to Maine at least one more time.
  8. Some people would probably miss my blogging and Facebook postings.
  9. I expect that someone will give me a really good 70th birthday party next April.
  10. I probably won't hear what people will say at my funeral.
  11. I have lots of empty bottles to exchange for nickels.

In a few months I'm scheduled to become 70 years old. However, as I grow older I still refuse to grow "up."

About 35 years ago I met a guy whom I thought was a few years older than I was. Today I found out that I'm 3-1/2 years older than he is. That means I was older than him 35 years ago.

Lately I've realized that lots of people I thought were older than me are really younger than me.

As time passes, there are fewer and fewer people older than me.

However, as I grow older I still refuse to grow "up."

Like Tom Lehrer​ I plan to pass from adolescence to senility without passing through maturity.

Like Peter Pan I don't want to wear a tie.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Nap time!

When you're four years old, a nap is a punishment. At my age it's a mini-vacation. I can even nap at a red light.

I'm not yet ready to begin my dirt nap.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Another one gone, and less left

Holy shit!

I just looked at my appointment book.

It's almost September. Wife Marilyn has been in the hospital since June. This summer has been a blur. 

I can remember assorted minutes and hours, maybe even half-days. But not weeks or months.

Where did July go? Where did my life go?

This will be my approximate 50th summer of unfulfilled fantasy.

I will not get to paddle a canoe and then fall asleep in a hammock near a cabin at a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. 

I'll need a second life to check off the remaining items in my to-do-list. I'd really like to visit Morocco, Italy, Greece, Austria, Israel, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Australia, Antarctica, Chile, Brazil. 


Kids look forward to birthdays because age implies empowerment.

Later on it just means one less year left.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Should I revise the text for my gravestone?

Other than people who are planning suicides, most of us don't know how much time we have left.

When I started this blog five years ago, I did some research and calculating and estimated that I'd die in 2035, at the ripe old age of 89. (My father died at age 87. Mom made it to 92.)

The 89 number seemed realistic, and neither pessimistic nor greedy.

Now I wonder if I'll hang on that long.

I've been a Type-Two diabetic for about 25 years, but it's under control. I've had kidney stones, but they were blasted to smithereens and I peed them out. I don't smoke and seldom drink alcohol. I don't bungee jump, sky dive or engage in dangerous sex.

Like many Americans I eat too much. I assumed that I'd have a heart attack when I was in my 40s, then 50s -- but it didn't happen.

A few years ago I lost about 120 pounds. I got rid of the other person who was living under my skin and hanging onto my bones. I was able to buy jeans for $14 at Sam's, not $50 at the fat man's store. I felt good, looked good and some hot chicks flirted with me. Twenty pounds came back but I made ten go away. I want to lose the other ten, and maybe more.

Last week I was diagnosed with inadequate kidney function and atrial fibrillation (also known as coronary arrhythmia and irregular heartbeat). Yesterday I found out that my blood pressure is very low (80/60, compared to a normal 120/80).

My wife Marilyn inherited bad heart genes from both parents. She's had a triple bypass and two stents installed. We knew she had a "bum ticker" and she ate carefully, got lots of exercise and good medical care. She's lived longer than both parents and a brother.

Marilyn's been in the hospital for a week because of a bad concussion. I nearly blacked out when I visited her last Friday, and I was admitted to the hospital. My room was on the floor below hers. Not very intimate.

My heart and kidney problems were discovered while I was visiting her. They had not been previously diagnosed, but probably were incipient and worsened by my not eating or sleeping properly while Marilyn was in the hospital, plus stress.

I have some new drugs to take with various good and not-so-good effects. Some drugs may be the wrong drugs.

  • I had a small scab on one arm from a dog scratch. Suddenly it erupted and blood started flowing. The leak is probably caused by my new blood thinner. 
  • I was given a new drug for high blood pressure -- and three days later I was diagnosed with low blood pressure.
Human bodies are very confusing. Androids don't have to deal with this crap.

Friday, May 1, 2015

When does "old" start?

I used to say that middle age lasts until dirt is thrown on you. I became 69 two weeks ago. Am I (GASP) already an alte kocker? (That's Yiddish for "old shitter.") I prefer something like "esteemed, learned kvetcher."  (To kvetch is to complain.) I do a lot of that.

I've kvetched for my whole life. My mother said that I once cried in my high chair until she realized that I was upset because a kitchen cabinet door was left open. I could not speak yet, but I could kvetch.

I've always had very high standards, that often do not apply to me. My wife often kvetches about my lapses. She thinks I should shower every day. That's ridiculous. I have aroma, not stench.

The Internet makes it easy to kvetch to a large audience. I have dozens of blogs, websites and Facebook pages and I tweet sometimes. My books are filled with kvetching, mostly funny kvetching.

When does alte-kockering begin? Maybe 75 or 80?

Is there a Yiddish term for "pre-alte kocker?"

Photo from Thanks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My tank of life is emptying

I have a birthday coming up soon. It's not a "milestone" birthday to be marked by celebration, it's just one of many innocuous numbers that mark a decrease in the years I have left until what's left of me gets put away to rot.

When we are young, we are excited, maybe even proud, of reaching ages 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21, 25, 35 -- because each of those numbers indicate added privileges and authority.

Later on, 65 means money from Social Security and Medicare, and senior discounts at unexciting restaurants.

After 65, each new number means that there is less left in the tank of life.

I've been assuming that I'll die at age 89. That number is now five years closer than when I picked 2035 as my last year, for my blog about dying.

Time is speeding up as it passes by. Sometimes years feel like they have only about five or six months in them. 

2035 is approaching quickly. It's a mere two decades away, now. But there are many unforeseen horrors that could move my exit date closer. I'm taking things off my bucket list as I realize they are unattainable fantasies. I am buying less and giving way more.

I watched both of my parents -- both previously super-smart and vigorous -- fade away to become useless, barely animated collections of atoms.

Damn. Shit. Hell. Fooey.

I'm not depressed, just pissed off.