Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why Aren't You Dead Yet?

I come from a long line of people who just won’t die. Not that I want them to, they’re very nice but genetically we, as a family group, far outlive our usefulness. I’m in my fifties and sadly I have already lost several friends to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke and although for people in their fifties to die from those conditions is sad, it’s not all that unusual.
I bring this up is because virtually every television commercial these days has something to do with improving your health and increasing your longevity.
This is not always a good thing.
Here’s why.
My mother is 86, her older sister is 88 her younger sister is 84. All are in perfect health, meaning they not receiving treatment for any physical disease or body part malfunction. During her bi-yearly check up and physical, my mother’s doctor once again pronounced her to be ‘as fit as a fiddle’. (I have no idea how one checks a fiddle’s fitness but I’ll assume that prognosis means she’s fine and has many more years ahead of her.)
Although it’s true there is nothing life threateningly wrong with her, she is falling apart. I won’t go into details but what these commercials don’t tell you is that even if you are in ‘perfect health’ the older you get the more things hurt, malfunction or simply stop working.
The old girl never complains but it’s sad to see someone who, in her prime, was a virtual superwoman. She worked in Manhattan as an executive secretary to the CEO of one of New York’s top architectural firms for over 25 years. Was a successful artist in her own right and had many quick–witted, successful, talented woman friends.
The problem is they’re all dead.
Every one.
I saw a cartoon the other day. It featured two old women sitting on a porch. One says to the other. “I’ve lived so damn long I’m afraid my friends in heaven will think I didn’t make the cut.”     
My great grandfather lived to be 104. My grandmother lived to be 102. When she was alive and I told people that she was over 100 they’d say things like, ‘Oh isn’t that wonderful! And ‘Oh, good for her!”
What they didn’t realize was that behind every 100 year old woman is an 80 year old woman working as her care giver, which is what my mother did up until the day my grandmother died.
Another problem with old age is that all the things you enjoy slowly disappear. My mother grew up in the big band era. There are no big bands anymore. In her day movie stars were glamorous and larger than life. Now it seems to be a race to see who can get naked the fastest. Men tipped their hat to ladies, opened car doors for them, treated them like queens. Now they’re referred to as bitches and ho’s.
Early television featured well written wholesome content which could be viewed by kids and parents alike. Certainly not anymore. Now we have ‘Dancing with the Has-Beens,’ Singing contests and Reality shows featuring imbeciles who only claim to fame is having a big ass and a sex tape.
 I’m not one to bewail ‘days gone by’ but I’m ticked off that now that I have a giant flat screen hi-def super television I’m hard pressed to find anything on it worth watching.
But what’s scaring me is what happened to my mother is now happening to me. I grew up in the sixties. I loved the Beatles and the Stones. But neither McCartney nor the Stones have put out an album worth listening to in 20 years. In fact I can’t find one new song on the radio worth listening to and I’m pretty convinced that RAP is the music they play in Hell.
Back then, Mohammed Ali was the king of boxing and took on some of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. The ‘Thrilla in Manila’ was a battle between the gods. Nowadays there isn’t a boxer good enough to carry Ali’s jock strap.
This generation is fascinated with video games and virtually anything computer. Some of my younger friends don’t even own televisions. When I was younger not owning a television was one of the warning signs of mental illness so when someone announced that they ‘didn’t watch TV’ we’d smile, nod and slowly back away.
Perhaps the way it works is that each generation gets its own train filled with their interests. I hated everything from my parents generation, the big bands, Sinatra, John Wayne, movies about WW2, Bob Hope, Milton Berle etc. I don’t believe my life began until one day while in a malt shop as a very young kid someone put money in the juke box and out came “Wop Bop a lu bop a wop bam boom! Translated that meant, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines!’ Because right after that came the Beatles and the British Invasion and Monty Python and ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ and…and…
And then John Lennon was gunned down and the sound of that gunshot transformed into a train whistle that signaled that my generation’s train was packing up and pulling out to make way for the next generation’s train.
And with each passing day the joys from my generation grow smaller and smaller and move further away…
Wait for me!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!! This summer, the long awaited sequel to ‘Noon The Rise to Power’ will be released. The title is: ‘Noon 2, The Resurgence’ and it picks up right where the first one left off.
Now I’d like to make a deal with you.
Download a copy of ‘Noon The Rise to Power to your electronic device. It will cost you only $2.99 and if within 30 days you decide you don’t like it. E-mail me at  attach the confirmation of purchase from Amazon and I will refund your money. (Unfortunately I can only make this offer to my buddies here in the U.S. To send a check overseas would cost more to mail than the check itself.)
I’m sure you will like the book. It’s my best seller and the one people constantly ask me about during interviews. Especially the characters of Dandelion and the I-Man. Who are they? Click below to find out. I promise you won’t regret it!