Thursday, April 19, 2018

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Back in February I got a copy of Time magazine with these words on the cover in bold type:

"How To Live Longer Better."

I still have it. What does that tell you?

I gotta admit at the age of 64 I find myself reading stuff like this, which is so unlike me. I don't believe anything anybody says about the secrets of longevity, whether the philosophy involves exercise and healthy eating, or drinking a quart of whiskey a day.

In fact I don't believe anything anybody says unless it's: "Joe, you're the greatest human who ever lived". That seems plausible to me.

Health and longevity are individual things. Everybody's body reacts differently to stress, alcohol, exercise, diet. It is just one more thing that makes us individuals.

Personally I'm hoping that excessive whiskey consumption and cheeseburgers are the ticket; I just wish I knew. If I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was the answer for me, I would swill whiskey like water and chow beef like it was going out of style.

But I'm not sure, so every once in a while I tend to pull back a bit. 'Cause I don't want to die on a note of unfinished business. But who the hell knows - maybe vacillating between a semi-healthy regimen and an "I just don't give a shit" attitude will actually kill me sooner. Maybe you just gotta commit.

I have a strange relationship with death. It has always been on my mind. I am kind of obsessed with it. More so now than ever, obviously, since I can actually see The Grim Reaper beckoning me with his long, bony finger.

Very simplistic angle - I just can't imagine myself not being around. I am sitting here right now - I am Joe, husband to Carol, father of Keith and Craig. I've been around awhile, I have done things, lived a life (such as it is), made some kind of mark.

My brain cannot grasp the idea that one day I will just be gone. But I will and there ain't nothing I can do about it.

BUT until then there is NAD+, short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.  If you can pronounce them, drop those three words at your next cocktail party and feel your self-esteem grow as your friends gaze up at you admiringly.

According to Time, this is "a molecule found in all living cells and is critical for regulating cellular aging...".

Normal levels of this stuff in people and animals diminish significantly over time. Research shows that if you pump this stuff back into older mice, they look and act younger and live longer than expected.

That's good enough for me. Get me 100,000 pills of this stuff. Just back a dump truck into my driveway, I'll be out there with a shovel and a bucket.

Of course the plan is to take NAD+ research through the approval process of the FDA. This of course will take a thousand years.

BUT there is a company called Elysium that is already selling a supplement call Basis that contains compounds known to boost NAD+ levels. They get away with this by calling it a supplement rather than a drug, which allows them to circumvent the FDA approval process.

Ain't America great.

Turns out it is available on Amazon. In fact there a bunch of different people selling it. I can get a bottle of 60 pills for $39.85. One of these days, when Carol isn't looking, I'll buy up some of that good stuff.

Truthiness: For the most part, in case your knowledge of me isn't nuanced, I am being facetious about all this. I don't really believe in a magic pill. But there is a tiny portion of my brain that keeps saying "Might not hurt to try it out". That portion of my brain was not active when I was 25.

In the meantime, I think I will throw out that issue of Time, pour myself a short whiskey and lose myself in the pages of Playboy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Just Your Average Life

"Sometimes I don't know where this dirty road is taking me,
sometimes I can't even see the reason why,
but I guess I keep a-gamblin,
lots of booze and lots of ramblin'
well it's easier than just a-waitin' around to die"

"Waiting Round To Die",    Townes Van Zandt

Perfect Quote

"For me, a pessimist is an optimist with experience."

Bob Ryan,   "Scribe"

Carol always tries to paint me as a pessimist. She is wrong about that. I am a realist. I love Bob Ryan's quote. But when it comes to describing me, I don't like the word"pessimist". I don't like the negative connotation it carries with it.

Realist is much more accurate.

Even after 40 years of marriage there are some things Carol has wrong about me.

She thinks I drink too much whiskey.

I think I drink just enough.

A Blues Take on Lovin' Your Dog

Been hearing this song a lot lately on blues radio. Brand new song. I love it. Man, you gotta love music - ain't no restrictions, no guidelines - say what you want, what moves you, in any way you want.

Dig it.

"Wish I could read the minds of women,  wish I had gills for swimmin',
 wish I had movie star looks, I wish I knew every trick in the book.
I'd like to feel first love again, and be 20 years younger,
But the greatest wish I want to come true,
I want my dog to live longer.

Wish I was the king of rock 'n roll,  wish I was cool and in the know,
and I wish I'd wrote Blowin' in the Wind.
I'd like to see my late mother again.
I'd like to stop poverty, save this world from hunger,
But the greatest wish, oh I want to come true,
I want my dog to live longer.

I want my dog to live longer, 'cause when he goes I'll be blue.
And if I had the power, I'd have him live as long as me and you.
'cause God's got a reason for everything, and in the Lord I trust,
But this ain't right, God needs to see the light,
'cause dogs don't live long enough.

He cheers me up when I'm sad, he's the best friend I've ever had,
and I don't care where his nose has been, I let him lick my face again and again.
His love is unconditional, and that just makes me stronger,

So the greatest wish I want to come true,
I want my dog to live longer.

Oh, the greatest wish I want to come true,
I want my dog to live longer"

"I Want My Dog To Live Longer (The Greatest Wish),     Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager

A Variation on the Dog Theme (Still, another reason to love the blues............and dogs, sort of)

And a slightly different old tymey take.

"Now lend an ear folks while I sing this song,
Don't get mad, I don't mean no harm!
I want to play with your poodle,
I want to play with your poodle,
I want to play with your poodle,
I mean your little poodle dog!

Yes, that little poodle got a long shaggy tail,
Well I tried to buy him but he wasn't for sale!
Can I play with your poodle?
Can I play with your poodle?
Can I play with your poodle?
I mean your little poodle dog!

Oh, when I went down to town with my hat in my hand,
I was lookin' for a woman, didn't have no man!
I want to play with your poodle,
I want to play with your poodle,
I want to play with your poodle,
I mean your little poodle dog!

Yes, two old maids that were layin' in a bed,
Well, one turned over, this is what she said;
"Can I play with your poodle?
Can I play with your poodle?
Can I play with your poodle?
I mean your little poodle dog!".

Now Lily ol' woman, what you tryin' to do?
Tryin' to lower my brother and lower me too!
Wanna play with your poodle,
I wanna play with your poodle,
I wanna play with your poodle,
I mean your little poodle dog!
Play it loud!"

Lighnin' Hopkins,     "Let Me Play With Your Poodle"

It Hurts Me Too

Thinking about Carol all the time.

Every day breaks my heart. EVERY day.

The blues keep me operational. I hear "It Hurts Me Too" a lot. The song is about a man who loves a woman who loves another man. That is irrelevant to my point.

The chorus is:

"When things go wrong, go wrong with you, it hurts me too."

Couldn't say it any simpler. It crushes me every time.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

With Extreme Clarity

Unexpectedly, unpredictably, inexplicably, he was given a crystal clear glimpse into the future.

He saw it. He saw it in the people around him in the building. He felt it in his broken heart and dying soul. He heard it in words meant to soothe; words that sliced his heart open and mutilated his soul

It was horrifying.

Darkness. A complete and devastating lack of dignity. No money. The impossibility of pride. Soul-suffocating surrender to everything he despised about life.

He was crushed.

Back at home there was no choice but to pursue numbness. He did this with extreme prejudice.

He also formulated two trains of thought.

One, probably delusional, born of desperation - a commitment to fight back. To pursue dignity. Against all odds. Vegas handicappers prediction for success - a million to one.

But gambling is fun, something that has been sorely missing for decades. Why not go for it?

The other, more realistic - a realization that if things remain on the current track, at some point a quick exit will be required. It would become inevitable.

Inevitable and achievable.

Two trains of thought, same eventual outcome, one path comforting, one path devastating.

Options become severely limited over time; reality inevitably becomes crystal clear. Viciously so.