With a growing sense of my mortality, I find myself nostalgic for the old days.
I mean, it seems only two weeks ago that my three kids were bouncing home from college one by one to visit and relax on their spring breaks. I remember they brought home laundry and influenza to share. I recovered in bed with a fever and a cough safe in knowing that I wasn’t on a cruise ship.
Now my kids are all home for good, this time bringing with them remote learning, more laundry, and perhaps other viral gifts from those far away lands where I can no longer travel. Places with exotic names like Michigan and Cleveland and New York City.
I am told that you can still catch a train to New York City. Amazing.
Yes, I remember vividly that time. Those halcyon days of my youth, when my 401k was worth significantly more than a bottle of Purell on Amazon, when I could stand in line at the post office, when I had to look for a place to park. When I had toilet paper.
But those are just faded memories. Now I must live with a new reality. Endless TV news.
In the old days, maybe November or December of ‘19, all of the news coming from the TV was suspect. Remember fake news? Now it is all real. Entire cities shut down. Hospitals over run. Empty shelves at the grocery store.
If you ask me, we need to put the fiction back in Science Fiction again.
I am trying to stay safe. I wash my hands over and over and over again. But I have sung Happy Birthday to myself so many times that I am now 157 years old and am at risk of dying just by living.
157 years old. Imagine that. Why I can remember the last pandemic. The Spanish Flu, right? I think in 1918. I was just a boy then. Or maybe I was 60. I have trouble remembering just how many times I sang Happy Birthday. Anyway, 50 million people died in that one. In a way it was better. There was no CNN to remind us how bad things were. And we had toilet paper.
But I remember some things the same from that outbreak. Like touching my face. It wasn’t good then and it is not good now. I could get sick and die touching my face. Ironically, I don’t like my face all that much. If you saw it, you would understand why. But sometimes I just have to touch it. Forgive me, but I am a little anxious right now and I just don’t think it is right to ask someone else to bite my nails for me.
And forget about flossing. Remember going to the dentist? When you could open your mouth and someone was there to open it wider for you and fill it with heavy appliances? Boy, those were the good old days.
Despite the apocalyptic new world order, I remain optimistic. Even at my age, statistics are still in my favor. I have a 97% chance of surviving. Heck, at 157 years of age the odds of me living naturally to my next birthday are significantly lower than dying of this Covid 19 thing.
And who named it Covid? Back in the day they had catchy names for deadly Corona diseases, like SARS and MERS. Why don’t they call it MAIRZY and instead of singing Happy Birthday we can all wash our hands and sing Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. . . We will have far less birthdays and increase our odds of survival dramatically. And as mindless tunes go, it is far more catchy.
Better yet, since it is a Coronavirus, why don’t we sing One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall? Just think how clean our hands would be.
What do I know. I am 157 and a relic. And my kids are likely to do me in anyway.
According to what I read, these young whippersnappers are out to kill crotchety old fossils like me with their irresponsible behavior. They callously call this outbreak the Boomer Remover. They party in the streets at negative social distances and treat this crazy Corona thing like it is some miracle Darwinian beauty cream that instantly removes age spots.
Pisshaw. My kids would never let anything happen to me.
Why just yesterday they self-quarantined themselves by locking me in my room so that they wouldn’t infect me. And when I needed to go to the bathroom they respectfully directed me out of the house where they assured me I would be much safer scavenging for toilet paper. "Be careful, dad," they said apprehensively. "And remember to fill the car up with gas."
I don’t worry. It is in their best interest to keep me safe.
Because I am still healthy enough to revise my will.
Happy Birthday everyone. See you on the other side.