Things to Add to the Bucket List, 30 Years Ago Today, and Simplicity is Complicated

On with the February funk, including the whole death theme, because it just plain fits.

I’ll put it this way.  At the end of this month I will be 42.  I have no illusions.  At least half of my life is most likely over, because I honestly don’t anticipate being able to make it to 84, barring extreme advances in medical science and some pretty serious Acts of God.  I know that if God wants to keep some poor sucker lingering about far beyond what we perceive to be his/her useful life He can and does, but I hope and pray I don’t outlive my purpose.  This being said, I still have no clue why I’m taking up valuable oxygen, other than (maybe?) to keep a few people entertained.  It’s not my place to know and I understand that.  I also understand that there have been at least three instances in my life where I narrowly escaped the Reaper:

1. I spent the first week of my life in the hospital with pneumonia and my entire childhood battling various respiratory ailments (as well as getting regular beatings from my sisters, their friends, and kids at school.)

2. I had rheumatic fever when I was 10 years old.  Save for a  two week long series of painful penicillin shots in the butt, and a year-long course of penicillin pills, I’d been worm chow over 30 years ago.

3. I understand first hand why at the turn of the 20th century 1 in 4 women died in childbirth.  In spite of an eleventh-hour c-section, (the whole Murphy’s Law as it applies to childbirth thing, believe that) I was almost one of them.  That was the closest I’ve ever gotten to the Dirt Nap, and at that time I was ready to go ahead and take it.  Some days I’m still very open to the possibility, though I believe the length of my time here is God’s decision not mine.

Again, somehow, I am still remaining vertical almost 20 years later, so there must be some reason why I continue to display vital signs- though said reason continues to elude me.

Before I go take the Final Trip, there are a few things I’d like to do.  Of course the Cougar Cruise is one of them, but I’d be happy just to go on a regular cruise with all the other geezers and so forth.

I’d like to do some international travel.  Granted, I’ve been to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls which was pretty cool, and I was in Windsor, Ontario for an afternoon as a little kid. Windsor is more or less Detroit’s French speaking quarter, and not much to write home about.  I did learn that Dad does not speak French.  I would caution that one does not go to Canada for the cuisine.  Everything we ate in Niagara Falls tasted like greasy Clorox.  It might simply have been the establishments we had the bad luck to choose, but from what I experienced it seems Canadians use grease like Cajuns use spice- and apparently Clorox is the spice.  Acck.  Then again, I believe the national entree of Canada consists of French fries smothered in gravy.  I don’t think I’ll be going for the gravy covered fries any time soon.   I still remember those nasty bland Cloroxy, greasy, slimy, luke-warm chicken wings we had for dinner one night, but even in the States, Hooters’ is not renowned for their culinary acumen.  There wasn’t even any hot sauce on the side to give them a hint of flavor.  It was as if they had never heard of Tabasco or habanero sauce.  Leave it to Jerry.  We had to eat there because Hooters’ was just across the street from the hotel, and they had American beer.  I hope it tasted like Clorox too, but even that would have been an improvement over Natty Lite.

I’d like to go to Europe, even though Grandpa said he didn’t lose anything there and there was no way in hell he would want to go back there.  When he went there, it was during the war.  It makes sense not wanting to go back to that. 

Australia sounds interesting too.  Aussies speak English so that’s a plus already.  The only thing that might not be so fun about Australia is all the venomous critters that seem to live there.  Perhaps I watch Animal Planet and Discovery Channel too much, but I might have to take a pass on the deadly spiders and the box jellyfish.

In a way I’d like to go to the Holy Land, but with all the foreigners fighting over there, I think I’ll have to settle for the shows on History Channel and so forth.  I’m not afraid to die, but I am afraid of torture and rape.

30 years ago, one could get a coveted ticket to see Journey on the Escape tour, which would be the one and only reason why I would like to see time travel made a reality.  I never got to see Steve Perry with Journey, live and in the painted-on jeans.  I’ve seen video with Steve Perry, which is sweet, but it’s not quite the same as being there live.   I’ve gotten to see Journey-which was awesome- once with Steve Augeri, and once with Arnel Pineda, but I never got to see them with Steve Perry, and barring a miracle, I probably never will.  I can’t blame him.  If I were 62 years old and had the life he did, I’d be happy to be retired with my memories and cats.

Today we get a lame-ass half-time show by the Black Eyed Peas, who never really impressed me to begin with.  New music absolutely sucks and no it’s not just because I’m old.  They’re trying to substitute sleaze and special effects for no-talent losers.  Give me a band who can actually play, and singers who can actually sing, and screw the costumes, the sleazy dancing and the light shows.

I’d love to get my life down to being more simple, but that would mean in some ways it would have to be more complicated, which doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface. 

All I can say at this point is that if I have 40 years or four seconds left, I can only pray for the strength to get through it- and to make something worthwhile of the time. 

So Now What, Creative Ideas for Avoiding Confronting My Past, and Other Inevitabilities

I had one of these. An 83 GTI just like the one pictured, with the cool wheels and the funky red trim. Too bad my dumb ass sold it because the A/C didn’t work and I damn near gave myself a concussion every time I tried to get Steve-o in and out of his car seat.  People with kids prefer four door cars for a reason.  It’s been awhile, but trying to manage those damned car seats is hard enough without having to do calesthenics just to get in the back seat to screw with them.  Now that the powers that be are requiring kids to be in car seats until they are old enough to vote, I say screw that.  Give me four doors because it makes it easier to get the dogs in and out, and if I had to deal with carting rug rats around these days the rear seat DVD player sounds like a plan too.

Being a motorhead I have had many cars in my lifetime.  Some magic, some tragic, some forgettable.  A few of them, I wish I could have kept.  The 1972 Super Beetle was one of them.  The GTI of course, the 1994 Toyota truck, the 2000 Celica would have all remained in my possession if not for one thing: poverty.

Then again you can’t take it with you, and what’s the point of becoming a hoarder?  Need what you use and use what you need and move forward from there.

Of course getting rid of emotional baggage is a lot harder than getting rid of stuff.  I know sometimes Mom means well but I don’t need Grandma’s entire wardrobe or her entire collection of cooking utensils to remember her by.  A few keepsakes are fine but I really have no use for 50 year old stockings or all that cheap crap she bought from various mail order joints.  Some things I just threw away.  I shouldn’t guilt trip over that.  Part of living and moving on means getting rid of the things that hold us back.

Perhaps at my age I should be thinking more along the lines of the bucket list.  One of those things (and I need to stop putting it off) is to get back in contact with old friends, sooner rather than later if for no other reason than I am honor-bound and will regret my neglect if I continue to put it off.  I’m rather tired of being bereft of virtually all human contact.  I need to hold an intelligent conversation with someone for a change.  Dirty jokes and politics can only go so far.

I did get moderately good news at the Dr.’s Monday.  I don’t have hepatitis or any other Really Serious Illness- just a bit of bizarre liver chemistry that is caused by diabetes.  As long as I can keep my sugar down this condition should (in theory) right itself.  Famous last words.  Nothing about my health is routine, simple or uncomplicated.  I try to starve and eat healthy when I do eat, get the 30 minutes a day of mind numbingly boring exercise in and all that and still my health sucks and I’m still working on losing that 30 or so lbs.  Then you get people like Jerry who maintain just fine, all lean and mean, no diabetes, no sucking down blood pressure meds, on the Bacon-n-Natties diet, which puts me in mind of Gustavson’s Dad in Grumpier Old Men.  Jerry will be like those Russian dudes who live to be 115 on vodka and cigars.  I’ll probably drop dead before I’m 50 of something.  While I’m at it  with the bucket list I need to check into the urban legend that OSU will give one $250 if you donate your cadaver to them when you die.  Sounds like a sorry bargain to me, but hey, a lot of medical students have gotten some lessons in unusual anatomy off of my living carcass.  I bet my autopsy would be a real education in Murphy’s Law and what can go wrong with the human body.  Too bad I won’t be able to observe my autopsy, should one be done, or even to request that Dr. G gets to do it.  I’d love to hear her commentary on my abnormalities.  But if someone will give me $250 so med students can have a Mutter Museum type learning aid, where do I sign up?

I just answered my own question really quickly.  OSU does accept donated bodies but they don’t pay anything for them.  I should do the donation thing since I was planning on getting cremated anyway.  Might as well let someone learn something or at least see stuff they don’t see everyday.

I don’t know why I’ve been in such a morbid state of mind lately.  So now what?  Just keep on getting ready to take that “dirt nap?”

Creative artwork.  I need some whiteout and a red marker to make the fangs look more real.  I can’t die yet- right now this country needs as many conservative Republican voters as it can get!