Old man grumbles about being old

If I'm wildly mistaken and there is a god, I will kick the almighty in his omnipotent gonads come Judgment Day. Fuck you, God, for a million reasons, but here's the one that's most personal:

My wife Stephanie ate and lived healthy all her life. She walked a billion miles for exercise and mental health, and ate smart, never smoked, barely drank, said no to all the drugs harsher than marijuana. Never made an unhealthy choice in her life, and for that, your fictional god gave her kidney failure, dialysis, and death at 46.

Me, the only time I've ever had a healthy diet was when Steph was cooking for me. Before and after she was in my life, I've eaten whatever the heck I fancied, too much of it, and never exercised intentionally. Yet I've had no health concerns, because in addition to no god, there's also no justice in the world.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

And then I got old. During my recent several-month stint of unemployment, I did what I've always wanted to do — stayed in my recliner, overeating, rarely even walking to a bus ride. But at sixty-something, there's no more getting away with the lazy lifestyle.

When I started looking for work, going to interviews and such, and especially when I was hired for a job that takes ten or twenty minutes of walking to get to, holy crap I was miserable, weak, and very nearly disabled.

By the third block of any walk — or the second block, if it was even slightly uphill — I was winded, exhausted. Climbing or even descending the stairs at the building where I work, I needed to grip the rail, and do all the going-up work on my slightly-stronger right leg. Some mornings I walked the wheelchair ramp instead.

Working this job has been an early spring training, re-teaching myself how to walk, how to be slightly less sedentary, how to be alive instead of recliner-bound 24/7. Part of the recovery process was walking twice around the block during lunch break every day, instead of eating lunch, and walking laps around the interior of the office during breaks, instead of taking breaks. At my desk in the call center, I sometimes stand to take calls, just to keep my limbs limber.

Now, the walks to and from work are still huff'n'puff difficult, but no longer feel like a heart attack threatening with every footstep. Everything only hurts instead of aches when I come home at the end of the day. 

And in a moment of triumph on Thursday, leaving the building after work, I was able to walk down the half-dozen front steps like normal people do, no pain and not precarious, without even holding the handrail. Cue the theme from Rocky, man — I am back, alive and mostly well.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Another difficulty about going back to work is getting enough sleep. How do people do this? How did I ever do this? 

The first few hours of sleep come easy, but then I need to pee, and getting back to sleep is a struggle. When I get up for a second pee, after 4-5 hours sleep, falling asleep again is near impossible without a pill.

So every night I get enough shut-eye to be sorta coherent during the day, but the first day of the weekend is spent in a fog, trying to catch up on sleep. 

And fuck the government, for so tightly regulating the few sleeping pills that work. I promise not to kill myself, OK? Just let me take a Zolpidem when I need it, without tightly rationing the pills in the orange prescription vial.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Here's one more complaint about getting old: When I was young and even middle-aged, I could accurately sense the size and shape of my turds as they dropped out of my ass. As an old man, though, I've lost most of the feeling down there. Many's the time I'd swear I've passed a mere mini-frank, but when I take a look before flushing it's a jumbo kielbasa. 



  1. You're a fine storyteller, but you know that. What you're describing with you and your sister and brother-in-law is *family*, more than mine, I think. Something to cherish, certainly.

    So's good health, and I'm glad you're maintaining yourself best you can. Guess I gotta keep working at it now that I'm decrepit like you. When this cold spell is over, I'll go back to walks at lunch...

  2. Oh yeah, and I forgot my pulp audio. I have several classic pulp novels on audio files, Big Sleep, Thin Man, Long Goodbye, etc, all of which are great literature, and yet when they're read to me past bedtime I'm asleep in ten or fifteen minutes.

  3. Also on my system, so no link sorry, I have two long BART rides, and a CalTrain ride from SF to Palo Alto, for sleeptime purposes.

  4. Oh, so you've been doing something similar all along, that's good. The horror tales are very soothing, albeit fascinating. I put my complete attention into them, and I soon fall asleep, much to my surprise. And delight. But you're right, ANY genre of storytelling is a balm for one's insomniac tendencies. A very delightful narrator is "hellfreezer," and he tells true tales submitted to him, about foibles in the work place and other scenarios. He's an absolute delight, great to doze off to, as well!


    - Zeke Krahlin

    1. Zeke, I tried a few of Hellfreezer's readings last night, and they worked pretty well. Interesting enough to be interesting, but soothing enough to knock me out and under. Thanks!

      I've bookmarked his site (well, a non-YouTube mirror, to avoid the ads and tracking) and added it to my 9PM arsenal.


The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.