Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Going Out With a Bang

Photo Credit:  Girard Hottleman

When I’m a really old lady I’m going to hand out dental floss and sunscreen to kids and say, “This is what happens if you don’t use this stuff.”  I am making a list of things to do when I’m old. I have my bucket list, now I need my going out with a bang list. Before I started to write full-time and gave up TV, I used to watch a show on PBS called “Waiting for God”. It took place in a nursing home. I absolutely loved it, and I only hope that someday when I’m in a nursing home, I have the opportunity to steal a helicopter. Shoot, I’d like to do it now, only I don’t want to write in jail. Or ICU. 

Thing is you can get away with more when you’re 98. Once when I lived in Texas an old lady got chased by the police. When she finally pulled over, she sat in her car in the middle of the front seat with her arms outstretched and a finger on each door lock. I don’t know how they finally got her out. What could they do? Face it, after gravity has had its way with you, what can the cops possibly do?
One quite elderly gentleman stood in the doctor’s office and looked over his bill, shaking his head. “That doctor only spent two minutes with me. I’m not paying this!  I’ll give you ten dollars.”  He plunked the money on the counter and walked out. I fell in love with him. And I heard that he refused to pay full price for a Christmas tree once, and did the same thing, hauling a tree away for $10. You know dang well we all want to do that stuff sometimes. 

My good buddy Comrade has lived a much longer timeline than I have, but we get on like ham and cheese. Comrade never goes to the doctor. Once she stepped on a piece of plate glass and cut her heel off. I mean OFF. She pushed it back on and tied a bandana around it and it grew back on. I needed a prescription for smelling salts for just hearing the story. There have been times we’re heading out the door to an event and Comrade will dash into the loo to be sick, seconds later she’s trotting out the door. She simply refuses to cooperate with illness. 

Since I’m a runner-writer, I spend inordinate amounts of time sitting and moving only my fingers, followed by sprints of wild girly running. The complications are probably obvious. So I’m a fan of massage and physical therapy. Comrade considers practitioners of both these arts as a cross between voodoo and science fiction.
Once we had a conversation where she said, “I’m probably just going to drop dead one day, because I never go to the doctor for anything.”  I considered that briefly and piped up, “Well, the first part is inevitable.”  She explained, “You go to the doctor, so you’ll probably know it’s coming. Mine will be a surprise.”  I thought about that and wondered, “Which way do you suppose is better?”  “My point is that you will live longer, because the doctors will make you.”  We debated this for awhile and I pointed out, “You know what Comrade? Even if that is true for the average person, what if you subtract the time spent waiting in the doctor’s office? And the time spent working to pay for the doctor’s bill and the prescriptions? Do you think that might even it out?”  She considered that and thought maybe it did.

When I asked Comrade what she’d put on her going out with a bang list she considered it and said, “If I could have anything, I’d like to relive a day from my childhood.”  This caught my interest. “What day?” I asked. She shrugged, “Any day, it doesn’t matter. They were all good.”  Oh my gosh, how amazing is that? See why she’s my Comrade? Then she piped up, “And I would like to go to Greece. I always wanted to kiss a Greek guy.”  Of course I then wanted to take Comrade to Greece, but she’s all worried about going to prison in a foreign country. Obviously it is too soon to start on her going out with a bang list.
So what would you put on your going out with a bang list? This isn’t the bucket list. This is after you’ve finished up that bucket list and you’re still here and you can do whatever the heck you want. This is when earthly consequences have lost their power over you. This is when you get to make the rules, cause what are they gonna do? Sick gravity on you? What would you really enjoy doing? 

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