I sat next to a man at the medical center who didn't have too long to live. He was being talked thru his seriously intense medication by a kindly doctor. The man in his early fifties was wearing crisply ironed pants and shirt and from the back looked like anyone else. His face however was out of focus. His eyes were foggy and his skin had given up all pretense of hanging correctly. He was a goner. He knew it and the doctor knew it.
We sat facing a series of posters of obese people, diseased gums, cancerous lungs and various other pictures designed to put patients into a positive frame of mind. 'Eat too much, smoke, don't jog or bike and death will come swiftly', advise the posters. 'It's all your freaking fault', they nag. 'You're reaping what you sowed. Don't you watch the Lifestyle channel, idiot? Don't you listen to Oprah or Dr Phil? You're the biggest loser, you big loser. You are losing your life. You deserve death and you should be feeling very guilty right now. Asshole.'
With posters like these who needs a Jewish mother.
Here's the scoop. Unless you are some weird kind of earthling/alien hybrid there's good chance that you'll die eventually. No amount of wheat drinks, white river rafting, trips to the gym or endless blood tests from the doctor will prevent the inevitable.You will die and the world will have to carry on without you. It's sad, it's tragic and it's terribly unfair but there it is.
If you want to jog or bike, by all means do but only do it if you enjoy it. Don't become one of those grim faced sweaty tragics who hurtle along the footpaths so plugged in to their ipods and heart monitors that they totally miss out on the beauty of the surrounding neighborhood.
Don't allow yourself to be bullied by bossy nanny posters. If you want to indulge in a few of the good things in life, knock yourself out. Indulge.
As so many have sung, 'Whatever gets you thru the night, is alright.' Or as the Specials recommended, 'Enjoy yourself, its later than you think.'
I don't know the name of the man i sat next to. I hope he has a painless death. I hope he gets a bit of fun in before the end.