(This post prompted by--and for the purpose of proving her wrong--my kind friend O., who scolded me recently for ‘squandering’ my writing, and who also informed me that chickens can live up to 15 years or so. Which I truly had not known before-I’d thought the oldest they could get to be was around 5. And, I mean, it was quite the blow to learn that, if you know what I mean.)
The observation for today is that people get increasingly selfish as they age. I think that they sort of have to just to keep on surviving. I used to think the converse was true—that old people get more and more selfless and nurturing of others, until they finally give of themselves so much that they die from having nothing left to give.
Then some time ago I encountered an old lady selling plums in her front yard. I admired the independence of her venture, and wanted to help her eke out such a fine upstanding living, so I stepped inside the picket gate to buy a couple cartons. She steered me to a section of her wares, displayed on a foldout card table, and told me those were the sweetest, ripest plum cartons she had on offer, and they did look good, so consequently those plums were the very plums I bought. When I got them home I found out that only the topmost layer of plums in the cartons were at all good plums, every single one of the underneath plums was thoroughly rotten. It was outright and deliberate deception, tantamount to robbery. That old woman might as well have stepped outside her gate, attacked me with her cane and stolen my purse in honest thievery, in broadmost-est (for here) daylight, on a trammeled public roadside, while my sweet little daughter stood by in shock and awe.
It’s perfectly true that only the good die young. And I will venture that only the good die old as well. I’ll bet that old gal prob’ly had a couple dozen grandkids at the time and that was fifteen or more years ago, and still she clung on selfishly and exploitatively to life. She’s prob’ly got three or four times that many descendants as of this writing and she’s most likely clinging still, using up health care like it grows on trees. Her house is certainly still there, showing zero indication it has undergone a change of management. And really, once you’ve got some grandkids, you just owe it to them, and to the greater good, to go ahead and die yourself with some due promptness, in my view anyway. Shove on over, old fart, make some room. (And I want grandkids!)
Oh well, perhaps I can solve all that some other day. Right now I have to spend pretty much the rest of the day, emptying out an old and very sensibly-sized wallet-style purse of its contents, and organizing those into the new, unreasonably commodious, yet still quite a bit slimmer than a doctor’s bag, square-bottomed purple sling satchel I purchased for replacement. It’s a pretty girly way to kill my time, I know, and for that and other good reasons I disapprove quite heartily of me for doing it. But on the other hand much of the process will incorporate some fairly vigorous mourning elements re the demise and premature wasting of the old purse, which has really only split its seams out in one or two places so far, and incurred just the one replacement strap for so far--the metal hasp of which has only in recent months begun to not hold so completely and reliably fastlike; and the which therefore quite a bit of good could still be got out of, the whole dear thing. And so, since grieving and bemoanst-ing me each and everyone of my miniscule losses is pretty much the sum of my expertise in life, you can rest assured I will excel this afternoon, and proceed to revel in me championing me for doing something as ultimately and undeniably LIFE AFFIRMING as changing out one’s handbag is!