A TIME TO LIVE, AND A TIME TO DIE are two appointments all living things must keep; and is the thesis for a poem by Audrey Heller. Further, she charged us not to let precious time go by. I consider this very good advice, which I’ve attempted to follow during my allotted time. I say, burn a candle at both ends (and maybe in the middle) rather than throw it in a closet to waste away. |
The “living” part is (by far) my favorite, mainly because the other is a mystery. Hospice workers report that as individuals near death, they’re not afraid and even see family members waiting on the other side of a veil that separates life from whatever is next. My own father, grinned at his moment of death, and asked some invisible being in the room to hug him. Real or a trick of the brain shutting down? I don’t comprehend it, and that’s the unknown. Therefore, I am not anxious to board the mystery train anytime soon.
However, this year I get a kick in the groin by reality; that is, I am scheduled to enter the decade that no Myers has survived, which suggests (mellow-dramatic radio announcer voice), “Time is running out.” In order to prolong the inevitable, I tried not sleeping, but ended up passing out anyway. What kind of a deal do we have here anyhow? I mean, why must we be unconscious for roughly a third of our lives?
Just returned from Indian Wells, CA where I planned to attend the BNP Paribas tennis tournament, which is billed as the fifth major. The event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) panic. Still we rented a large house with a salt water pool, nearby tennis courts, and plenty of food and booze. Oh, and family and friends were there as well. I harvested nearby grapefruit trees for a main ingredient in Greyhounds and Salty Dogs. Damn near ran out of vodka, but the liquor stores remained open. The weather was nice, so we played tennis, ping pong, corn hole, bocce by day, and billiards and table games by night. I tried to get a chicken fight tournament going in the pool, but my wife refused to be my “horse”. In other words, we made good use of the time.
China stepped to the plate again, this time exporting the aforementioned COVID-19 beast to the world, which has the media gleefully exploiting and panicking the citizenry. Question: Since surveys show only 20-percent trust the media; what the hell? They also suggest any reference to China is racist. By that logic I guess using the term German measles is too. Hey dummies, it’s about the origin of the virus, not the ethnicity.
The media has also declared the US will parallel Italy, which has the same death rate as China. I’m throwing the BS flag. On Day 13, the death rates were as follows: Italy 4.0%; USA 1.8%. Furthermore, Italy has the oldest population on the planet next to Japan, and they are unchecked chain smokers already with lung problems. The average age of those who’ve died is 81. Italy is on the Silk Road connected to Wuhan. Italy has almost non-existent primary care. Italy has refused the drug combination that has been effective in South Korea. Ah, but the media won’t report that—screws up their panic-based sensationalism.
China’s first and most infamous pandemic distribution was the Bubonic Plague (or Black Death) in the 1300s, which killed off 30 to 60-percent of Europeans; and reduced world population by about 26-percent. It took 200 years to recover. BTW, the Mongols used cadavers infected with the Plague to conquer stubborn walled cities by catapulting the corpses over the top. Now that’s creativity; repurposing an available resource.
Maybe a pandemic is the stressed-out Earth’s attempt to self-correct human explosion. When I was 10-years-old, the world population was 2.5 billion, and reached 3.0 billion by 1960. Today, it’s about 8.0 billion. Most of the growth is Asia; that is, China at 18-percent, and India at 17.5-percent comprise the lion’s share. The USA is third with 4.2-percent, which has doubled during my lifetime.
A perfect storm…
Three things have collided to cause our present situation, as follows: 1) life expectancy has increased; that is, from 67 to 79 years for the USA since 1950—for Asia it’s up to 84 years; 2) unchecked birth rates in Asia—the rest of the world is fairly flat; 3) ease of travel to any place on the globe—a pandemic can be distributed widely and quickly.
With respect increasing life span, that does not mean people are healthier. On the contrary, in the US the number of young and old morbidly obese is alarming and on the rise. Big Pharma digs this—more meds to sell. The longer one can be kept dependent and alive, the higher the profits. When I go for my annual physical, the medical staff is amazed (and disappointed?) that I do not take nor need drugs. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with robust health. Others of my age drag in a small suitcase full of pills, some to counteract the effects of others. A pandemic such as COVID-19 finds a convenient host among the very young, elderly, and unhealthy. The last group is legion in our country.
As healthy as I am (and have been), I acknowledge (for me and all living creatures) the condition is temporary. Sooner or later the dominoes begin to fall leading to one’s appointment with the hooded dude carrying a scythe. It sneaks up on you like dusk. For instance, over the last decade certain things have popped up randomly—sometimes overnight, or so it seems. So far, none of those conditions is painful or restrictive. I’m still active in running, biking, swimming, tennis, and weight training. Here’s the list: tinnitus, sore left hip (problem solved by consuming bone broth), minor arthritis in second knuckle of flipping-off fingers, minor arthritis that appeared just several days ago in the “pointer” and pinky on the first knuckles of my right hand; and finally, the so-called funny bone in my right arm triggers randomly during the last week (too much tennis?).
With respect to COVID-19, at this writing a tick less than four-percent of the over 80,000 cases in China have resulted in death. Me? I’ll be careful, but it’ll require nothing special other than what I’ve been doing all my life. Eventually, something will get me, but it won’t be Coronavirus.
Out, out brief candle. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Meanwhile, I intend to live.
By Gene Myers self-taught medicine man.
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Hospice, BNP Paribas tennis tournament, Coronavirus (COVID-19), China, Italy, Bubonic Plague, pandemic, world population, Big Pharma, ,