I don't think I have ever shared this uncropped original photograph before. Low resolution but still effective. I like how the tail curls around the girder.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


My friend Roy Cohen sent me his latest blog post this morning. Roy is a top notch fitness trainer and one of the best writers I know. He walks the walk, and may have actually given up his car for a bike. This is an interesting video clip from health authority Dan Buettner that he posts this morning, in which he talks about longevity and blue zones and matters of health.

I normally don't indulge too much in considering things like life expectancy. I had a deadly form of Non A, Non B chronic active hepatitis when I was 14,15,16 and was given three days to live. My pancreas emptied out, my feet were itching and I actually was in a severe necrotic state. Thanks to my mother's love, I pulled out. Then on to recurring bouts of cancer, heart attacks, Prinz Metals, mitral valve repair, etc.. I was given a 10% chance of making it 3 years in 1985. They actually never told me and it's a good thing because I might have actually gotten worried and started to take care of my self. I got a similar last rites posting when an infectious disease doctor at Scripps told Leslie and I that I had a rare infectious growth on my heart muscle that could not be cultured in time for my exit ticket not to be punched. I was cool, he said I had a maximum of twenty days left to wrap up my affairs and say goodbye. Fooled him.

One of the truths that I have come away with is the reality that we are all just renting on this spinning orb, some of us may just have a longer lease, but by god, we will all be face down in the dirt sooner than we think. In the grand calculation of things, the light flickers and is quenched in an instant. Drink deeply.

I guess my point is, having stared at the precipice, I have gotten a bit fatalistic about the end of this whole life affaire. I can't see myself clutching and grabbing at the door to the tunnel to the hereafter, pleading for one last swing of the bat. I loved a lot of good folks, ate a lot of good food, drank a few choice cabs and have had an excellent time doing things my own obstinate way.

I have questions about people that obsess about their earthly firmaments.  Yes, I know that I need to lose weight, and that I spend to much time sitting on my fat ass at the keyboard. My cholesterol is too high and I just entered XXL land. So why don't I give a shit?

Being an occasionally depressive, saturnine sort, I wonder at those who would starve, punish or otherwise torture themselves to eke out a few measly years. I read once that changing your diet and adopting an ascetic lifestyle would give an average human about two more years. Mr. Buettner says that it is about ten, at least for the adventists, but they are doing a lot of praying as well.  From my vantage, I think I would rather live without the stress and guilt of continual self deprivation. Or flagellation for that matter.

Perhaps I have more of a poet's sensibility - writers tend to take themselves out of the game prematurely. The old Plath thing. I have visions of a group of these health longevity folks staying at the same hotel as the Old Poets convention or the Hemlock Society and getting into a royal rumble. The screams of "Let me live" coupled with the pleas "Let me die" mingle and echo in the anterooms.

I guess I leave with the realization that you have to care, but maybe not care too much. Stay healthy and have a good time.

Don't worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live.
W. C. Fields


Emergefit said...

I have been ruminating on this heavily for ten years now. It consumes me, and probably creates so much internal stress that the self-discussion itself is subtracting weeks, if not months from my life.

Nobody knows. I'll say it again, nobody knows. The ascetics versus the aesthetics...

Some days I wake up, workout, mind all my Ps and most of my Qs and feel great for it.

Other days I wake up, call Domino's and tell the drive there's an extra $5 in it if he stops and picks me up some Ben & Jerry's on the way, and feel great for it.

I'll say it again, nobody knows.

I am not so glad that this is my time, and this is my place, but they are. I'll work through it until I die. Thanks Robert.

grumpy said...

right on, this longevity obsession is absolutely nuts, who wants to live to be 100 anyways?