Tag Archives: expiring

IT IS 78 NOW

21 Jun

 

No. That is not the temperature, nor the number of new shoots that the damn rabbit has eaten from my flower garden.

Nor is 78 to be thought of as a reference to musical records spun at 78 revolutions per minute – – – compared to LPs spun at 33 1⁄3 – – -and 45s spun at, of course, 45 rpm (interesting – – – 33 + 45 = 78). Nor is it meant to signify a typical tarot deck which contains 78 cards (21 trump cards, the Fool and the 56 suit cards), nor the total number of gifts in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas (78 is the 12th triangular number), and it has nothing to do with The Rule of 78s (which is a method of yearly interest calculation), however – – – and most importantly – – – it is not Municipal Okrug 78, the municipal okrug of the Tsentralny District of St. Petersburg, Russia, and don’t even consider it as the No. 78  automobile of NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. who currently drives a Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series – – – nor the number of the laps of the Monaco Grand Prix since 1985 (with the exception of 1989  – – – just 77 laps).

78 is my age.

I am writing this because of the dichotomies I find occurring in my life. I used to love reading and I still do; however, it is getting more difficult. My eyes get tired and my mind competes with them to determine who gets rest first. I now realize that an hour of reading tends to put me to sleep. I close the book, turn out the light that is required – – – even in the daytime – – – and put my feet up. As soon as I close my eyes everything returns to normal. I am not sleepy and my eyes are immediately rested.

And so I think.

I think about why my eyes and mind get tired so quickly. Hell, I used to get up and read, modify, and transcribe passages of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam before breakfast. A devouring of the Rubaiyat along with a thick cup of coffee was more satisfying than a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. That usually occurred at five AM and now, after a bit of reading, I wish to close my eyes and fall asleep at nine AM. But I immediately realize I am not tired. Just my eyes are; not my mind.

And so I think.

I think about my body and what it can do and what it can no longer do. I can fish in a cold Adirondack stream and enjoy it. I can climb over a log to get to a promising eddy behind a large rock or a slow run beside an old fallen hemlock. However, I must test each rock beneath my foot to be sure it is not slippery and will not suddenly lurch beneath my weight. The noise of the rapids and waterfalls is music to my ears but tends to bring on a minor touch of vertigo. The sunlight glancing off the tannic waters is also pleasing but tends to confuse my balance.

And so I think.

I think about what has recently occurred on a cold Adirondack day during my last fishing trip. The Adirondacks have dichotomies of their own; hot one day, cold the next.  An icy rain has left my fingers numb after several hours. I have difficulty tying a hook or swivel to the line. I finally succeed and cast my bait into the pool. The fingers are not so cold as to be insensitive to the strumming of my line as a trout attempts to steal my bait; and he is caught, esteemed and immediately released. Another dichotomy has occurred; the fingers do not respond to attempted mechanical movements but remain alert to the miniscule sensations of a trout’s nibble.

And so I think.

I think about my early hours rising from bed. The knees are stiff and the back is bent. I sit for a moment to ensure my steadiness and allow my joints to catch up to my consciousness. A door jamb assists my stability. Then later in the day, after my usual two-mile walk, these same joints are as good as new and my steadiness has returned to normal. I still enjoy a long hike up the trail beside a ravine or a climb through a dense forest to reach a treasured fishing spot. The dichotomies seem to be increasing.

And so I think.

I think about what those unemotional actuarial tables are telling me. They say that I should plan on eighteen more months; on average. However, I refuse to be average. Damn it – – – I know I am not average. Would an average man think about the dichotomies he is encountering? Would an average man still be attempting to read simply as inspiration for thinking? Would an average man be attending university courses without a desire for anything other than to expose himself to contemporary ideas or the voices of the youth that surround him? Besides, the New York State Health Department says that those who can hang on until they are 78 have a good chance at enjoyment another 8.27 years. And even a chance of enjoyment is not such a bad idea when considering the alternative.

And so I think.

I used to think about my domicile; will the roof outlive me or should I plan on another big expense to replace it? I thought about my automobile; who will last longer – – – the 100,000 mile warranty or me? And how about all these octogenarians getting tattoos – – – should I get a tattoo? – – – depicting my expiration date as if I were sitting on a grocery shelf! Do old men and young men think alike but just live in their own present-day versions of society?

And so I think.

 

© Waldo Tomosky 6/21/17