Sunday, June 11, 2017

So much to know; so little time

I am in my fifties, and I am just beginning to realize that I may not be able to know everything before I kick off. If I see a new book on genetics I think, "That would be a fascinating field," before I remember I am on a rather short actuarial leash. 

The Centers for Disease Control say I only have another decade, while the government says expect 25 more years, probably just so they can keep collecting my taxes. Uncle Sam deals in hope, but he deals from the bottom of the deck.

I guess it is true what they say. Actually, my memory is starting to go, so I can't remember what they say, but you probably can. It's pithy. I remember that it's pithy. 

When I was 18, I was proudest when I won a track race. Now I am proudest in that moment when a person I know is approaching me but their name has evaporated from my brain pan, and I only have two seconds, and I'm toast, and then it pops into my head and I deliver. Small victories. 

My cuticles are fantastic too.

I thought memory problems were supposed to come later in life, but I forget where I heard that. 

I know people my age who sometimes refer to themselves as in the "second half" of their lives, and I would love to source that math. We are down to the final third, kiddos, and that's if we're lucky; that's if the Grim Reaper treats his gig like government work.

There is so much I still want to know about red pandas and kinkajous and the Byzantine Empire. Manatees. The films of Julie Christie. String Theory, fennec foxes, all 10 plays in Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle. All of Dostoevsky and Twain. FabergĂ© eggs, dark matter, the composition of the Earth's core, why nature made naked mole rats nudists, the Fermi Paradox, why a whiff of my first girlfriend's shampoo on a total stranger can still put my heart in my throat. 

I know 25 years sounds like a lot, but not when you want to know everything. I may even have just enough time to come around to jazz, but I am cutting it awfully close. 

I mostly want to know why, since there is so little time, I spend so much of it checking whether anybody "liked" my post about that puppy chasing fireflies. Shouldn't I BE that puppy, aloft, reaching, gobsmacked with wonder?

. . .