Snuggling into our favorite, well-worn chair, dinner over, dishes done, a long day ending, you flip on the TV. The evening news with Brian Williams appears on your screen. Good old Brian, our calm friend, no matter the chaos and destruction in our world, somehow he makes it soothing.
But wait, in spite of Brian’s dulcet tones, danger is lurking: Do you have a three-pack-a-day habit and suffer from COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder]? Well, that’s unfortunate, very serious actually. But not to worry! There’s help for that, and soon you’ll be snuffing candles and tilting at windmills with the grandkids.
Ah, so we can relax — for a few moments. Until the screen fills with dancing couples, all as graceful as Fred Astaire because they’re wearing Depends. Good old trusty extra-absorbent underwear. Not to worry about embarrassing accidents, which you hadn’t — up to now. In fact you hadn’t thought about your dry eyes, your encumbered joints, your melting bones, or your cholesterol silently clogging your arteries while climbing into the 300s, since yesterday.
And it was bliss. Except for those painful hemorrhoids. Damn hard to ignore. But have no fear. Preparation H to the rescue. Aah! Blessed relief at last. But wait. All may seem blissful. But are you getting enough fiber? So take that flagon of Phillips from the nice lady, stupid, for a gentle, courteous correction. And with that end serviced don’t forget the other. Be sure to saturate yourself with Prevacid before doing battle with the tacos and ribs. Then follow up with Crestor to fight off that whopping lump of cholesterol.
As the evening news progresses from one of your ailments to the next — and some you never imagined — even a 3-year-old can figure it out. Old people watch the evening news, a habit of theirs ever since tuning in after dinner to Walter Cronkite scolding them about the Vietnam War. And old people are failing apart: brittle bones, thinning hair, frozen joints and severe sagging in crucial areas of the more delicate apparati vital to the good life. Wrinkled skin, white hair, bent shoulders, feet and other functions, faltering. But hark! Salvation has arrived: a wonder drug creating a deep woods complete with pup tents and waterfall in the backyard, with matching bath tubs.
Gavison, Nexium, Celebrex, Aleve, Ben-Gay and that old standby for flaming feet whose name eludes me. For severe depletion, we have Androgel, the use of which is not exactly clear. Or a hair gel. In any case, you now need to use less of it because it’s stronger.
Misery and decay
Life is a minefield. The national news is hardly ever cheerful to begin with, what with death and disorder raging in a least in one place in the world and usually more. Pile on the tornados, the hurricanes and wildfires; finish the list with particularly spectacular abductions, murders and indictments for pedophilia. Between these brief segments of human suffering and untold misery, never forget your own decay: the slow destruction of your one and only, never to be young again, frail and earthly body.
But there is a consolation. Rid-X. It rescues septic tanks, and you are nothing more then a stewing mixture of failing flesh. So try some; it might work. Take a big swig and say “be gone” in a very loud voice. And crank up that old Victrola.
Barbara DeMille lives in Rensselaerville. The Gazette encourages readers to submit material on local issues for the Sunday Opinion section.