I was thinking the other day that in the not-too-distant-future, geologically speaking, people will come think of me as old. Like really old.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, dude, what’s with all the wrinkles? Next time someone tells you to smile for the camera, don’t. Those goddam creases are so deep you could lose your keys in there.
However, I’m not yet ancient, despite my skin folds, and before you know it it’ll be 2164 and there I am at 200 years and still alive, in a manner of speaking. Part my own flesh and blood. Part reclaimed organs. Part robotics. Meanwhile, you’re dead. Ha! How la like me now?!
And the younger set – people barely past 100 – start tooling on me because I’m so ancient: “Look at that old wrinkly bastard!” Because by then my wrinkles will really be something to marvel at. The hurtful names would run the gamut:
- Wrinkles McVay
- Old Wrinkleface
- Mr. Wrinklepuss
- The wrinkly old bat who lives down the road
- Herr Wrinklehausen
- Sir Wrinklot
- That a-hole with all the wrinkles
- Senor Muchas Arrugas.
- McVay that wrinkled sonuvabitch!
- Old Fuzzy Wrinkleball
- Lieutenant McWrinkle
You can imagine that the list is practically endless. I will have learned to deal with it by the time I’m 200, attributing the ribbing from people literally half my age to sheer jealousy. Plus, I may not notice all the name-calling, since I’ll be sleeping a lot, I’m told. That’s what happens when you’re 200, which I will be in a little less than a century and a half.
Hard to imagine it’s going to happen so soon.
I’m not one to talk about the future, but that doesn’t mean people don’t look to me to make sense of it. It’s almost like I actually can look into the future, like a have a crystal ball.
Did you know that ducks will be able to speak English in the future?
Just joking. Ducks won’t be able to speak English any better than they can now. Come on, think about it! Just because I mention something in this highly-respected blog doesn’t mean it’s true. Use the crystal ball that’s your own brain and you’ll see that it’s impossible for ducks to be speaking English in the future. Or else, if your brain isn’t working well and you don’t have access to an actual crystal ball, you can try to use an old bowling ball, but you’ll really have to make sure it’s well-polished, preferably by a professional. I’ve looked into old, poorly polished bowling balls and I can tell you it’s very hard to discern anything about the future in them.
Meanwhile, I’ve come to see that geese will be able to speak several languages in the future. You’re thinking, come on, why would the gift of speech be given to geese but not ducks?
Please don’t put geese in the same category as ducks. Ducks seduce you at first with their odd sense of humor, but soon enough you come to see them as a bunch of bozos who couldn’t speak English if their lives depended on it.
On the other hand, several goose scientists I know have told me, over pints, that it won’t be entirely strange to see geese chatting about world events at little cafes with French human beings within the next few decades.
Look, I’m just telling you what I see in the tea leaves and what people I know – highly respected people – tell me about geese and ducks.
Let’s reconnect about this in the future.
Let’s say I’m going to die one day (though, let’s be honest, the jury is out on that), I bet that my family, through their grief, would see the silver lining of an opportunity in my demise. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have held onto some things that other people would erroneously regard as useless junk, and I can see my loved ones leaping at the opportunity to lose my precious keepsakes. Some stuff would inevitably require a dumpster: the wood from my parents 1970’s-era deck that seemed just too good to be tossed in the landfill; the boards I retained from the attic of my house in Roslindale when I renovated the space (“old growth pine is valuable wood!”)
There I’ll be, watching from my relaxed perch on a big, puffy cloud up in heaven, as they root through my belongings and decide what to include in my casket with me, like that swatch of fabric I cut from an old hide-a-bed in my parents’ basement so I could frame it like an old photo (“why? why?”). They’ll have me dressed up in a double-breasted suit from the mid-1990s, with smelly old bike shoes that I keep for rainy days (literally), the Mass General Hospital tie that I was given upon my departure from that job in 1989, my threadbare Sanibel Island hat, and torn bike gloves. Maybe even the glasses that I purchased online, which promptly broke, will be taped and glued back together and jammed onto my face.
Despite packing the casket with old drum sticks, international postage stamps of little to no value sprinkled around me like confetti, and an old 1940s-era clam rake that the undertaker manages to get my stiff hand to grip, my family will be forced to hire a one of those “picker” guys to come and haul away mounds of other (highly valuable) stuff. “Take the drums too! He never played them after he injured his leg in that gruesome hurricane in 1991.”
Given that I’m in heaven, I won’t be angry, but, wait, that old computer has a hard drive on it with interesting tidbits of my writing! And which of you is going around telling people that my college notebooks only serve to reveal me to be more of a doodler than good note-taker. “To hell with all of you!”
I’m quickly jabbed in the ribs by an angel, who reminds me that there is a 90-day probationary period in heaven and I ought to be on my best behavior if I want to retain my spot for the rest of eternity.
Of course, the 90-day heavenly probationary period is irrelevant if I stay alive forever.
Knowing the extent to which your life is governed by entries in the calendar, I’m going to be very interested in seeing how my death interferes with your plans. What vacation were you scheduled to take? Which child is graduating from 4th grade that week?
“He would have wanted us to continue guys’ weekend. Also, he’d want Bob to make his stuffed, rolled pork roast.” And then, during the tipsy guys’ weekend keynote address on the last night, Mook raises a toast to me and everything I’ve ever stood for. “And Syracuse Orange basketball! Hiccup.”
Overheard at various water bubblers across town:
“He really would have wanted us to participate in the golf scramble during the memorial service.”
“The last thing he’d want is for us not to bowl in the league championship just because he’s getting lowered into the earth.”
“Of course he wants me to go to this meaningless late spring mid-week Sox game instead of consoling his family.”
I’ll be watching from up there in the clouds with my bowl of heavenly popcorn, getting knuckles from Jesus every time you complain about how inconvenient it was for you that I had to go and croak that week. Guess what? There’s another year in Purgatory for you, buddy. How ya like me now!
“He would have wanted us to drink the rest of his homebrew before it goes stale.”
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