Sunday, July 5, 2009

Incontinental Drift

Sometimes, as a parent, you just have to lie a little bit to your kids. Yep, all you newbies with babes in arms or still in utero, give a little sanctimonious gasp, I'll wait. Because ultimately, when some jackass five-year-old tells your Precious that there's no Santa one day in preschool, you'll be falling all over yourself trying to keep the magic alive for just one more year. (And I guarantee you have no concept of how insanely many questions a three-year-old can produce over the course of a single day - I dare you not to say 'Because I said so!' at least once.)

Hm, that's coming off a bit confrontational - it's not all bad. I have always tried to be honest with Medium Fry, but there have been times when it has seriously backfired on me and, conversely, times when a little (or large) white lie has saved the day.

There are loads of crazy things I remember my parents saying when I was a kid. Those black-and-white posts you sometimes see on the sides of roads? My dad told me they had bees in them. Who knows why he said it, but I was terrified of those posts. And I think I was about 15 before I understood how it was "the mailman" had brought me my red hair. But maybe the most frightening thing they told me wasn't a lie at all, it was actually intended as a riddle (or exceedingly lame joke, tough to tell with parents sometimes) - goes something like this:

Q. What is the one thing that everyone in the world is always doing?
A. Getting older.

And truthfully, I didn't find that terribly frightening until recently. We're all getting older. All of us. Always. Right there - I just got older. And there! I did it again.

And so did you.

Yuck, eh? Just one big downhill, with removable teeth and a package of biggie size diapers waiting for you at the end.

So when I hear people talking about humans living to 120 if they follow some miraculous calorie-restricted diet I can't help but wonder: why the hell would anyone aspire to be 120 years old? I canvassed some seniors to find out:

10) I never liked calories anyways. - Mitchell, age 80
9) 120 is the new 110. - Doris, age 94
8) I always wanted to be alone. - Alton, age 91
7) Rheumatoid arthritis: now eligible for medical marijuana. - Glenda, age 79
6) These dentures cost me five hundred dollars back in 1978. I want to get my money's worth. - Ben, age 102
5) Who would take care of my lawn flamingos if I weren't here? - numerous respondents
4) It's so convenient to be able to tuck my breasts into my waistband and head out for the day. - Matilda, age 85
3) Freedom 105! - Maurice, age 67
2) I just can't get enough of cat food on Ritz. - "Frankie", real name and age forgotten
1) To punish my children. - Beatrice, age 88

So am I sold on the idea of extreme old age? The medical marijuana thing is a solid selling point, but like so many of the big questions in life, it just Depends.

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