On Being Old: A Rant

  1. Preventive medicine sucks. After a certain age, all we need is comfort. Comfort does not include tests that tell us yes, we are going to die and here’s what from. After a while there just aren’t any more shoes to be dropped so turn up the morphine and wave goodbye. You don’t even have to say It’s been good knowing you because it probably hasn’t. You don’t have to say See you soon because you won’t. Pull the plug and be done with it. Don’t forget to turn off the light. Shut the door.

    My God, it’s one colonoscopy after another! Mammograms, barium enemas, skin scans—who ever heard of that?! Osteopoenia? Who needs to know?! Pap smears? Please. And what about those moles? One more biopsy and I’m turning Christian Science.

    Diet and exercise. I have been on a diet for seventy years. When I was not on a diet, I was preparing to go on a diet by getting fat. I did this by eating food I loved: mayonnaise, butter, and mashed potatoes. No weight-loss diet allowed for any of those things so I learned, for brief periods, to tolerate green leafy vegetables and uncooked fruit, though only after Sister Kenny cured polio. Way back then I didn’t want to get put into an iron lung so I didn’t swim in public pools either. But I’m not young now and, while an iron lung still doesn’t sound like where I’d like to be, at least it’s lying down and you don’t have to exercise. Plus, I bet they wouldn’t deny you mashed potatoes.

    Exercise is good. You can’t get enough of it. Which i...

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