Monday, March 22, 2010

Death by a thousand paper cuts

Don't worry! I'm not really dying by anything. What is true, and has been true is what I have written before; I am really fine, I feel good, but, hell, I should, I am only 90!

I have just finished an amazing book, by  Diana Athill, a great English editor, Somewhere Towards the End.  She is startlingly honest about her life, to much of which I could not relate. She had been a highly sexual woman who never had, nor wanted, children, and she was an atheist. But as she confesses to the small humilities and indignities that we old folk face,  she gives me the freedom to complain just a little bit.

I have never been thin-skinned; I don't take offense easily or often. And my actual skin, my epidermis, that which covers my bones, has been as tough, or tougher than most. For years, my pleasure was to burn myself to a crisp in summer or in Florida, and not be sun-burned, but just a nice, dark brown. The few little skin cancers that I had have been easily removed, and if the price I paid was a few more face wrinkles, I pay that gladly.

Now, however, I have so thin a skin that, at the slightest touch, I bruise or bleed. It hurts. And trying to heal small wounds is so hard to do. At one time, I owned a little Johnson and Johnson stock, but I sold it the minute I heard that a Chicago pharmacy had sold some bottles of tylenol in which cyanide or something like it had been placed by, obviously, a deranged person. I should have held on to the stock; I have contributed mightily to their bottom line, buying all their wound-care products for the last three years.

There is no easy fix; there is no fix at all. So, I shall continue to bump and bruise and bleed, knowing that it doesn't matter all that much.

As Diana Athill says, "One doesn't necessarily have to end a book (blog) about being old with a whimper, but it is impossible to end it with a bang."

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