Epidemic and Growing

As time goes by I find myself afflicted with a health issue beyond the cancer I deal with. It’s a very pervasive affliction that is currently affecting the lives of 13% of Americans. The problems it creates go far beyond physical damage, and threatens the younger generations even as medical advances appear. Billions of dollars are spent to curb the effects of this condition annually, spurring the sales of surgery, medications, supplements and appliances. The facts are that literally every single person will be swept up by this issue. The issue is, obviously, old age.

It’s almost stunning to think of it, but more money is spent on futile attempts to stop the clock than is spent to cure or at least curb diseases. Although it’s difficult to track exactly how much money gets spent on aging but suffice to say, it’s Mucho Dinero. Beaucoup D’argent. En Skitmycket. 

Joan Rivers had had so many face lifts that she makes fun of herself about it. But given the average cost for a facelift from a quality surgeon, her many nips and tucks literally could have deferred the medical costs of a Multiple Myeloma victim’s chemotherapy, radiation (if needed) and stem cell transplant. But ti seems that more MM victims are able to accept the circumstances of their condition than most of the vain celebrities. It’s especially sad that many simply don’t understand that there is beauty and sexiness in maturity.

In the recent film “The Expendables 2,” the cosmetic surgery and film doctoring done to Sylvester Stallone is almost laughable. In comparison to all of the other players, his face always looks blurred. I swear to god, it make you want to wipe the screen with a tissue at times. Holy cow! The whole point to the movie is that a group of over the hill mercenaries kicks butt. Why try to look twenty when you’re playing the character of a sixty year old?  Back in my youth I always felt uncomfortable watching some middle aged female star cast as a twenty-something. But this kind of stuff is even worse.

Of course, I’m no spring chicken, and I happen to find greater beauty in women my age than I do more youthful ladies. Besides, barring the stereotype of creepy old men seeking barely post pubescent mates –which some sad examples of masculinity do follow– I find it difficult to find college aged kids I can hold a conversation with. Their celebrities I don’t recognize, the sports that interest them exhaust me just thinking about them, and there is no way I could possibly keep up with their sexual appetites. When men cross that 65 year mark they’re lucky if they can perform more than two and a half minutes before desperately wanting to sleep. Quickies on the way to go snow boarding are out of the question –without prescriptions for viagra, amphetamines, and oxygen. (An English to Youth ttanslation dictionary would be helpful)

But aside from issues of vanity, aging is expensive. We old guys need vitamins, Metamucil, prostate reducers, nose and ear hair removers, and some denture adhesive and Geritol. We need new pants (with the chest height waistline) and new glasses. Especially new glasses because our vision devolves almost as quickly as we forget where we left our specs. Our car insurance rates begin to soar and so does our home insurance (mostly due to threatening neighbor children off our lawns). And, of course, we need consistent medical care because we get frightening or inconvenient pains and aches all the time that we’re sure are warnings of the grim reaper’s approach. I can only imagine how expensive it is for women, but I’m much too much the gentleman to dwell…

But insult to injury, now we’re targets of politicians who complain that we’re just too expensive to maintain –which strikes me oddly because those yelling the loudest are all older than I am. Still, they insist that we’re stealing our children’s retirement with our demands on Social Security because we have the disgusting temerity to outlive the actuarial tables used to calculate how much we were supposed to pay in Social Security taxes. They shouldn’t blame us for that, it’s those damn medical researchers who keep finding ways to extend our lives they should be blaming! But no, it’s the fogeys who take the rap.

Face it. Getting old really sucks. In fact, the only thing it has going for it is that it beats the next stage hands down.