Thursday, February 10, 2005

To be or not to be

My latest theory is that one should die at forty. After forty your body starts to betray you and you begin to discover bones and muscles you didn’t know you had. At forty, my knees first started forcing me to become aware of their existence. Before that, knees were used only to determine the length of a skirt. Under the knees was too old; above the knee was hip. Now I am constantly aware of that funny looking joint that connects my thigh and my leg. Shortly after the knee, the back started vying for attention. First, it was the upper back and then the lower back. At this point I had my first encounter with a physical therapist. It was a good, pleasant experience, but when his touch wouldn’t make me better fast, I opted for a chiropractor. Now, when the hands (carpal tunnel) and the back (years of poor posture) start yelling for attention, I call my Chiro for a re-alignment of the spine. I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect, or if it actually does the job, but suffice it to say, I no longer visit a physical therapist. That is, until recently when of all the weird things that can happen to you after forty, I developed facial paralysis. It really was a strange sensation. I felt like a doll whose eyes won’t close properly. The general practitioner recommended a physiatrist who prescribed physical therapy, or rather facial therapy. So now that I got over the fp, and my eyes are back to normal as well as my face—it has regained its normal symmetry, I will resume my visits to the Chiro for a readjustment. I wish I could get one of those trash cans Homer Simpson uses when he had his little bout as the local Chiropractor, but it really isn’t that easy. And I still haven't found the trash can that will do the job better than MR--those are his initials.

The above entry is not suitable for anyone over forty; it is definitely not appropriate for anyone over sixty, and people over eighty should not be exposed to this venomous material in any way or manner. This is not a call for mass suicide. This is intended only as a warning to the young. A gypsy curse says "May you live a hundred years." Now you know what it means.


Anonymous said...

As I read what you wrote I could only think well, that sounds like my mom. I recently saw “Mar Adentro” and it talks about a man who had paralysis (quadriplegic) and he wanted to die. When I got out of the movie theater I was thinking that if it was any of my family’s wishes, I would help them in any way I could. But now as I read what you wrote I realized that maybe I just couldn’t do that at all. I had a discussion with some friends about the topic and they said that they wouldn’t help someone die. My response was that it was selfish not to do so because people should have the liberty to decide whether they wanted to live or not. Now I’m not too sure that I could overcome my selfishness and allow someone that I love to die. (Go and watch the movie but, prepare to cry)

Marjorie Kirstein said...

On my next birthday (June) I will be fifty. I remember when my mom used to say, "I don't want to live past fifty." This comment was usually made in response to my pleadings that she stop smoking. As she got closer to 49, the wishes to die before fifty ceased to be mentioned.

I don't feel like dying at all! I did feel this way when I was turning forty, though. I was depressed, and I raced to make an appointment for a physical because I was sure that I had some hidden malignant condition. I had to have something wrong with me, wasn't I turning forty? It turned out my blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, were normal and nothing indicated impending death.

The next thing that happened was that my husband (now ex), knowing I was depressed, thought that giving me a diamond ring as a 40th birthday present would cure my depression. When he gave it to me, it was the ugliest ring I had ever seen. Needless to say, this did not cure my depression at turning forty. Now it was compounded by realizing, for the first time, that I had married a man who had no idea about my taste in jewelry! Middle age was not going to be pretty.

Not wanting to wound him, I stared at the ring for a minute, then said, "You shouldn't have spent so much money!" He had been watching the DePrisco diamond commercials and astutely recogized that my reaction was not what it should have been. Eventually we went to the jeweler's and got me a proper ring. He continued to defend his prior choice, though, which is one of the reasons we are now divorced.

The ten years hence have been wonderful and I am looking forward to the big five-oh. So thirty-nine or forty-something year olds, hang in there, don't despair, the forties are the best years of your life if you survive the entry into the decade.

Be strong!

Kenny said...

The important thing is to think young. Your body reflects the age you are in your mind. Avoiding negative thoughts about one's self help to preserve one's self. That and a good medical plan goes a long way.