It’s the end of 2015. In a world full of big problems, I sit and ponder what’s making the headlines: Who buys more lottery tickets here in Maine (they’re picking on the lowly scratch ticket? Hands approaching hair, preparing to pull.); and what’s going to rob us of being forever young – or old, for that matter – bacon.
I know I should be doing something loftier instead of typing, like working out in a gym, where I’d be exposed to all kinds of potentially fatal bugs. But, bacon?
Darn it. Now they’ve got me wondering if even the special uncured bacon I buy is safe to eat. As an experiment, I ate some just moments ago, and so far, I am feeling pretty good. Great, in fact. But it does get me thinking about how we take care of our boomer-age bodies. I realize I won’t live forever, but I sure as heck don’t want my obituary headline to read “Retired RN Dies of Bacon.”
Years ago, there were few concerns about food, habits or fun. Now, a typical day looks something like this:
Wake up and worry if I got enough sleep (seven hours). It didn’t start until 2 a.m. Does that matter? Get out of bed. Take blood pressure pills. Are they helping or hurting? Eh, take them anyway. Push away thoughts of side effects and also the image of the Ramen soup and pizza I ate last night. At midnight. I read somewhere that it’s not good to go to bed hungry. I might have made that up.
Next, have coffee, but half caf/half decaf because it’s not good to have too much of anything, although there are definitely some benefits to coffee and caffeine. My doctor said so, and he never lies to me – like when I asked him if it was OK to drink diet soda. He looked at me with the most serious face I’ve ever seen on a 12-year-old. He looked right into my eyeballs, which I recently had checked to make sure they’re aging healthfully.
“It’s terrible for you. Terrible. Do you drink diet soda?” he asked, his eyes boring into me. What is he, a doctor or a district attorney?
Now, when confronted in this way, I confess (which I seldom do anymore, even in church, because it’s so stressful and let’s face it, all the medical people are saying how dangerous stress is) that I looked right back at him and said, “A little.” His eyes got wider.
“It’s terrible for you,” he repeated. I can only imagine what he would have said or looked like if I had told him the truth, that I’ve had, at times, up to one diet soda per day, which apparently will get me faster into hell than missing confession on Saturday.
So, I decided to see what that big, beautiful health food store had to offer. The prices were so high, I wanted to punch somebody. You don’t need to tell me twice that behavior like that could lead to big legal problems and – you guessed it – stress. (See earlier reference to how stress causes every known disease to humans no matter what.) Later, I read that some items from that store were being recalled. Hey, it happens. I can only imagine how many extremely health-conscious people were stressed out over that one.
The thing is, I spend at least half my life pursuing good health. The other half is spent going to the movies and eating popcorn, chocolate, and high-sugar soda, just like Mama used to make.
“Have water,” I hear you saying. Oh. The kind that comes in the chemically loaded plastic bottles?
Bet you’re wondering what my point is, what conclusions I’m drawing in my efforts to stay forever young, or at least postpone the time when that guy with the outdated black coat comes after me with his sickle. I’ll wager a lottery ticket that you’re wondering just where I’m going with this. Well, I’ll tell you.
To the nearest Friendly’s restaurant, where for less than 7 bucks – as an official old person – I can get a BLT, the regular kind, and a free hot fudge sundae.
Now that’s what I call living.