For the last seven (it will soon be eight) years now, I have been working in an aged-care facility, and during that time, have had the opportunity to see what has now probably been a few hundred people pass through the place as residents. A lot of the things I have seen there have only helped confirm a belief that I (and probably something very close to 100% of the rest of the human race) have long had: namely, AGING SUCKS! Not only that, but a lot of the platitudes I hear uttered about it on a depressingly regular basis suck even more. Here are my main beefs with aging and a lot of the stupid things I have heard said about it.
First of all, I hate the way aging really fucks with a person’s appearance (I remember a “National Geographic” article on human beauty describing aging as “beauty’s archenemy”, and thinking how true that was). In my line of work, I have seen a lot of people who aging really has not been kind to in the looks department (one current resident, for example, seems to resemble nothing so much as a sexless sheep), and I find it particularly depressing when I see a picture of one of them when she (which is usually the case, as most of the residents are female) was younger, and discover that she was a real stunner in her youth. One of the platitudes uttered about this particular aspect of aging that always makes me want to puke (ideally over the face of the one spouting it) is that one of the “good” things about aging is that, as we get older, we all start to look the same. Well, if you’re someone fucking ugly, I’m sure that that’s a source of great consolation, but as someone who’s very comely himself, I think that that’s a philosophy for LOSERS!
Coming a close second in my list of hates about aging is ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE! (OK, so I ranked the loss of physical attractiveness as worse than that. I’m totally superficial; sue me.) Hell, if nothing else, any disease that makes cancer look like a more attractive way to leave this life has to suck, BIG FUCKING TIME! I’ve seen first-hand what this disease (the most revolting one ever to be inflicted upon the human race IMHO) does to people, and it’s absolutely vile. To give you just one example, there was a guy who came into the facility just over two years ago. When he did, we became quite friendly, and, during the many conversations we had at that time, he told me that the reason he’d moved into the home was that he had the beginnings of dementia. At the time, I thought, “No fucking way!” - he seemed in possession of all his faculties - but now, his affliction is only too obvious. He shits himself all the time, eats most of his meals with his fingers (no matter what gets served to him; yep, it’s messy), spends most of his time wandering aimlessly, and usually proves himself incapable of giving a coherent answer to even the simplest of questions. Another resident whose degradation at the hands of this loathsome disease (or something very much like it) I had the “pleasure” of witnessing over the course of several years was a woman who, as in the case of the aforementioned gentleman, seemed totally “with it” when I first met her. Now, however, she’s just a shrivelled-up old thing who can no longer speak or move, and who doesn’t bear much resemblance to a human being. (The mere fact that she’s still alive is, I think, just more proof that God/Life/the Universe/Whatever is a complete CUNT.) The cliches I’ve heard trotted out about this disease are that at least the person with it doesn’t suffer because they don’t know what’s going on (yeah, but does anybody want to be remembered as spending their final years in similar fashion to the people I’ve mentioned above?), and that euthanasia for these sorts of people is wrong because it’s an affront to human dignity. HOW THE FUCK CAN SHITTING YOURSELF, TALKING CONSTANT GIBBERISH (OR, IN ADVANCED CASES OF THE DISEASE, SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND LIKE HUMAN SPEECH), AND BEING COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF PERFORMING THE SIMPLEST TASK BE CONSIDERED DIGNIFYING?! People like that have obviously defined the term “human dignity” so broadly as to render it essentially meaningless (they’re probably the same sorts of people who consider it more dignified for a poor woman to starve to death than support herself through something like prostitution or smuggling condoms full of heroin through Customs for Nigerian drug cartels). Fuck I hate Alzheimer’s (if that wasn’t already obvious)! I hate the way it would make me choose cancer if I had to choose between one of those two diseases! I hate the way it seems to be becoming something like cancer ie a much-feared disease that occurs predominantly in old age, and which virtually everything, particularly everything fun, is going to give you! I hate the way that, thanks to fucking Alzheimer’s, I can’t even enjoy the simple pleasure of being absent-minded without worrying that that’s a sign that I’m coming down with the disease. (I’m thirty right now which means that I’m probably entering that stage of my life when dementia, while still extremely unlikely, is not completely beyond possibility.)
Well, I’ve gone on about that particular subject a lot more than I originally intended to, so I’ll try and be brief with those gripes I have still to mention. These last gripes relate to a couple more pieces of drivel I’ve heard about aging that really make me want to punch the stupid head off anyone who tries to insult my intelligence by uttering them. First of all, I detest the oft-made claim that old people shouldn’t complain about how much being old sucks; they should just be grateful that they’ve managed to live long enough to experience old age. I can just imagine the people who believe that sort of crap being real wellsprings of sympathy to any elderly person with a serious age-related problem. I can imagine a typical conversation they might have ie:
Old person: My terminal cancer/crippling arthritis/debilitating osteoporosis/paralyzing stroke is really making my shitty life hell!
Aforementioned wanker: Shut up, ungrateful old person! Just be grateful you’ve managed to live this long!
And besides, does living to old age really require spectacularly good luck these days?
Finally, I really hate that oft-uttered crap that famous women (and maybe men) spout about how they’re not going to get plastic surgery because they see their wrinkles as a record of their lives. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP! DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT?! What they’re probably really saying is that they can’t afford plastic surgery, or that they’re so far gone in the looks department that it probably wouldn’t do them any good anyway. Fuck, if you want a record of your life on your skin, get tattoos! Fuck, I can’t get over how ridiculous the above claim is; it makes me think of two old ladies comparing wrinkles over a cup of tea, and saying what part of their respective lives each line on their faces reminds them of! For example:
One lady: Now this one here, Mavis [nice stereotypical old woman’s name], this one reminds me of the time I let my first boyfriend give it to me up the arse. It hurt like a bitch, and I couldn’t sit down for a week afterwards, but I did it because I loved him! [Romantic sigh accompanied by dreamy look of TRUE LOVE] And this one here reminds me of the time I had my first hit of heroin. Of course, it was cut to buggery with baby powder - we didn’t have the quality control that we enjoy nowadays when it comes to hard drugs - but I still got a buzz from it! Ah, those were the days! And this one here (yes, that’s the one: that ugly motherfucker running right across my forehead that makes me look fifty fucking years older than I really am), this one reminds me of the time my husband (may his worthless soul be being torn apart and devoured endlessly by the greater demons of Hell even as we speak!) and I went hiking through the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, and got ourselves kidnapped by Islamic militants. Held hostage for six whole months we were, and forced to eat nothing but cockroaches, rats and worthless pieces of diseased pigs’ offal!
Of course, the above experiences would be sure to give you a wrinkle or two, I reckon!