Monday, March 23, 2009

I fucking hate getting old. It's supposed to be a rich and plentiful time - life begins at 40 (or nowadays 50) and all that utter bollocks. I'm hurtling towards 50 (in a little over 3 years and that scares the bejesus out of me) and yet in my head I still feel as though I'm in my 30s (maybe even 20s, but definitely not in my teens). That's probably a lot to do with not having any kids of my own; I think parents are a bizarre blend of child and stick-in-the-mud grumpy old sod. Have you ever noticed how so many parents really don't like the idea of their kids following in their footsteps, especially when they're teenagers. When I was that age it was all casual sex, cider and parents who didn't appear to give a shit. Nowadays, it's very much the same and while some parents still don't give a shit, many of those who aspired to maybe a better level of living now really do. But that's already a digression and I've not finished the first paragraph.

Don't get me wrong, some unbelievably brilliant things have happened to me since I turned 40 and whenever they continue to happen I'm just grateful that I'm experiencing them before I either can't or I'm incapable. I'm sounding like a 90 year old... Having arthritis at my age is a pisser. You try to manage, to grit your teeth and get on with it, but it's not always possible. Sometimes it just takes you out. It also has a sense of irony too, obviously it isn't conscious of this, it's just the way things work out. Last year it was my back and my right leg; it gave me a lot of grief and a lot of gritting my teeth and getting on with it. By the end of the year I'd just about accepted that I probably wasn't going to play golf again, or ever bungee jump (not that I would, but...) or anything physical that might seriously fuck me up. I started 2009 about as positive as I could and while my back and leg were still giving me some gyp, I was living with it. So, my body obviously decided that wasn't enough...

The arthritis got into my shoulders late last year and I had physio pretty much as soon as it started, but by the beginning of this month my leg arm was basically extra baggage. But this is where the irony comes in... At the start of this year I started to have problems with my thumb - the right one. It swells up like a balloon and means that for two or three days I'm incapable of doing nothing unless I can do it with my left hand. I have this perfectly good left arm attached to a shoulder that doesn't want to get involved in human physiology any longer and working right shoulder with a hand that is neither good to man nor beast for days on end. Heck, on some days I'd gladly swap the two shit arms for one decent one.

But I'm not hear to whinge about my ailments or give you sage advice about how to avoid becoming a cripple by the time you're 50; you're all going to need to do a lot more than just avoid getting old in the years to come because I believe we are seeing our very own 'Last Days of the Roman Empire' - this planet could be a very different place in 10 years and the generation best placed to deal with it will be fast approaching pension age - if, indeed, there still is a pension.

Here's a great idea for a reality TV show. Take 6 people from council estates in deprived areas and 6 people from middle class families, dump them in the middle of nowhere and tell them to survive. Film them all remotely so that you don't even have to be there. Give them survival rations and some equipment for trapping and killing their own food and leave them. Just leave them. Never go back, just continue filming them until they die or kill each other or just fuck and procreate a generation of children that will only know Nike, Sony and White Lightning as myths. This is a very pertinent televisual social comment because in 50 years that's what those left will be doing.

I'll continue this when I feel less like slitting my own throat with a wooden spoon...

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