Saturday, June 25, 2011

Outliving My Straws

Smart Ass Cripple is now 55. So if all goes according to my plan, I’ve now lived one tenth of my life. Actually, my Plan A is still to be the only living organism in the history of living organisms to never die. I don’t really have a Plan B. But if I must compromise I’ll settle for living to be 550. When I get to be 548 I’ll probably adjust that deadline ahead a century or two, but for now 550 will do.

And I’m talking 550 in human years, not cripple years. Hell, I’m already almost 550 in cripple years. Being a cripple is rough. It takes a toll. So to calculate someone’s cripple age as opposed to their human age, take every year they’ve lived as a cripple and multiply it by eight. So my cripple age is 440, according to my computer calculator.

But I want to live to 550 regular human years. Don’t bet against me. None of the voodoo neurologists that poked and prodded me in the crippled children’s’ clinics thought I’d make it this far. They didn’t even think I’d live as long as Jesus. But Jesus ain’t even in my rearview mirror anymore. The docs back then used the scientific technique I call pin the tail on the diagnosis. Their lovely assistants blindfolded them and spun them around three times. There was a long chart of medical conditions posted on the wall. The doc stuck a donkey tail into the chart and whichever condition he pinned was what you were. And if you lived two or three more years, they crossed off that diagnosis and repeated the process. And if you lived to be 18, they threw up their hands and gave up. You were free to live your life as whatever amorphous thing you were.

A couple birthdays ago, my sister presented me with her gift of a large, unwrapped cardboard box. It contained 3,000 plastic red drinking straws. “A lifetime supply,” she said. So then I had a concrete goal in life—to outlive my pile of straws. By the time the last straw is gone, maybe I’ll be ready to die. It’s a tall pile. It ought to be around for a good long time. If I reuse the straws enough, they should last for at least 100 or so regular human years.

These straws are my hourglass. I’ve still got a sizeable stack, but the mound is dwindling. It looks like it may be gone in about 97 years. I’m getting nervous. Time is running out. So I think I’m going to adjust my deadline ahead a century or two. When I’m down to my last straw I’ll bury it in the ground. I’ll dig it up every month to see if it’s still there in its present form. I’ll check it every month until it has biodegraded to the point where it has completely transformed into dust.

That ought to take another two or three centuries. Maybe by then I’ll be ready to die.