It’s not popular to discuss mortality since few of us will escape eventually dying, and even fewer will reach the age of Methuselah who died unexpectedly at 969. But we all secretly wonder when our number might be called.
With no scientific means of determining how long I’ll live, I’ve come up with my own, theoretical projections, based on “the latest research proves ...” principle. It’s amusing how what was killing us yesterday is saving us today — eggs, coffee and pure butter to name just a couple. When spreading bread in his late 80s, my farm-raised dad used to say, “I like to see my teeth-marks in the butter.” So do I, Dad; so do I.
I drink gallons of coffee and eggs rate high on my favorite food chart. For years I threw countless yolks away, all the while thinking, “On my deathbed, will I be regretting all the money I could have made, or how many five-egg omelets I could have eaten?” Now Dr. Oz calls eggs the perfect food.
Do you stop short of finishing that quart of ice cream? Well, you just hide and watch the surgeon general soon report ice cream, and even straight lard, can actually increase life expectancy. Thus, my theory about my own mortality, prompted on the Fourth of July by my old best bud Dean Christie being in town from Seattle.
After the parade, we congregated on the Silver Dollar deck with other old friends for a couple reminiscent beers. I eventually lit up a cigarette (which I only do on occasion to a complement to the beer) and Dean asked rhetorically, “How is Blough still alive?”
I didn’t resent his wonderment, and am perfectly happy to answer his inquiry. Consider the hypothesis of a maladjusted, dysfunctional, germ-surrounded, shut-in hoarder, lifelong bachelor who seldom even gets a cold. And those germs — hopefully mold won’t metastasize — are a good place to start.
Several years ago, friends Mahlon and Jere Clemons were astounded I had found and completely devoured a go-order of corned beef and cabbage concealed on my counter four days after St. Paddy’s Day. I digested and uneventfully slept like a baby. Why so? I contend being surrounded by pet hairs and rampant bacteria builds an immunity — much like someone bitten repeatedly by snakes, or rabid skunks. The body adjusts and makes filth a life-enhancing ally.
And that cigarette I had? Well, until the jury returns, apparently tobacco swiftly hastens death. It’s reasonable to conjecture Methuselah only smoked when he was drinking. The special occasion, “reduced tar” smoke merely shows a penchant to relax and a lack of rigidity, a precursor to stress that can kill as surely as being struck by lightning after stepping in a bear trap (reputedly how Methusaleh’s pal Job died).
Combine that rare cigarette with a couple daily drinks — widely recognized as heart-friendly — and one is well on one’s way to a long life. But don’t ever underestimate the physical and mental benefits of quality sleep, which is where my best-kept secret lies.
Sleeping on the couch with the TV on, often with my legs resting on my warm, loving dog asleep on the other end, I doze off with a positive, peaceful psyche. Seemingly, a gigantic prostate forcing one to jaunt briskly to the bathroom (exercise, albeit brief) could be a detriment to deep, REM sleep. But hold on right there.
I learned in my weightlifting days that several small meals a day, as opposed to three large ones, is far healthier. Along that same vein, wouldn’t several small sleeps, along with frequent, daytime naps, enhance one’s longevity? I think so; in fact, I’m betting on it.
Calculating my remaining years, I must figure in the few strikes against me. Eating big meals after midnight, followed by sedentary lounging and ensuing acid reflux can’t be good for anyone! Yet, I don’t know where to start when calculating the added years remaining forever single affords.
With all those factors in mind, I would estimate I’ll live to be 105. But for several preceding years, I’m sure I’ll be screaming to a nursing home attendant, “Get that bedpan outta here and KILL me!”