I’m going to fight the ageing process even if it kills me

I’m going to fight the ageing process even if it kills me

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Maybe I’m a wuss, but I’m distressed by all the violence, blood, destruction and indiscriminate sex on TV. And when I change channels away from Animal Planet it gets even worse. Nothing piles on the anxiety quite as much as watching a lion chomp any creature that is old or vulnerable. So, understandably, my mind starts trying to figure out a way to postpone my own inevitable trip through a predator’s alimentary canal.

I check in the mirror for signs of deterioration and they’re there. I’ve lost so much hair that my hairline line runs horizontally, just above my ears and looks like a dirty ring around the bath. There are wrinkles, but they don’t count, because thanks to ESKOM, my wife sees me mostly by romantic candlelight anyway. I still feel okay, but I’m realising that the years between pimple cream and blood pressure pills are just too damn short. Suddenly I have to control my cholesterol, which is a pharmaceutical term for, “We have a whole new bunch of expensive dross to sell you.”

The problem is I just don’t have a clear-cut strategy for achieving eternal youth. Or maybe I do, but thanks to creeping Alzheimer’s, I’ve forgotten where I put it. So I’ve bought myself a memory improvement kit. And it works! I keep it on my bookshelf and every time I see it, I remember how gullible I am.

I could start running. But I first experienced it as jogging, back in the days when wearing obscene, synthetic shorts changed the stride and probably the fertility of a generation of men, and I know deep down that I’m never going to put myself through this as long as I have money for bus fare. I’ve considered plastic surgery, but while I can think of plenty I would chop and change, I can’t decide which bits are worth keeping. How do you botox a self-esteem issue? My wife suggests I try a healthier diet, but she drinks stuff like fennel tea, which rhymes with “penalty”, because it’s foul.

It could be argued that in South Africa even the Zimmer frame of old age is a luxury. The lion munches the elderly Springbok, but the moment this magnificent beast takes a pause from killing things, it gets shot in the head by a greasy hunter who’s too lazy to get out of a Land Rover. Nobody lives forever, so maybe I should make the most of every second, do something crazy, feel alive by skating on the edge of death. Buy a luxury convertible. And drive it through Hillbrow.

I’m hoping that age really is a matter of attitude. The pessimist sees the glass half empty; the optimist sees it half full. And folks like me who can’t see the glass properly anymore had better see an optometrist.

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