Aging of the human body: if you are lucky, you will age

You don’t pay much attention to it when you’re young, you pretty much take it for granted. But when you reach middle age — and especially when you reach late middle age — it becomes as interesting as a prestige miniseries, with as many twists and turns as “Game of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad.” .

At just under 60, I wake up every morning thinking, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?

Also: “I wonder who I can talk to?”

When I was younger, I hated to hear old people complaining about their various aches and pains. Arthritis? Boohoo. Ulcers? Wow wow. Gray hair and wrinkles? Boring.

But now I revel in the thousand natural shocks from which the flesh is heir. I want to hear details of how others are breaking down and sharing my decay with them. I mean, my hands alone are worthy of a TED Talk. How did the skin on those appendages go from unlined and dewy to something like a dry lake bed, the surface furrowed with tiny creases, my knuckles as loose as a Shar Pei?

How did you my hands become of my father hands?

I know there is a scientific process at work, something involving the punitive effects of ultraviolet light and the breakdown of collagen. But I like to think of my hands — my face, my feet, my guts — as props in a long-running comedy-drama.

Somewhere in my body is a writer’s room full of AMF thinking about the next season. Ideas are brainstormed and inked on a whiteboard with a dry erase marker.

“Okay, folks,” the showrunner says, “we’ve got the basic story arc: John grows old and eventually dies – as we all must. The good news is that the network has commissioned another season. So what are we going to do for the next 12 episodes?

“Something with moles?” offers a writer. “Like, ‘Is that a mole or is that a freckle?’ ”

“Turns out it’s neither,” the writer says. “It’s non-cancerous seborrheic keratosis, but our guy has to wait six weeks for a doctor’s appointment and spends that time moping around, wishing he’d stopped to smell the roses more often.”

“I like him. What else?”

“Something with his toe?” says another writer.

“As?” says the showrunner.

“Is that it? ‘Does it hurt’?”

“Yeah, one day he wakes up and it hurts. His big toe, where it joins the foot.

“Did he do something to his toe?” Did you buy new shoes? Tripping on the treadmill? Has there ever been a dropped lid on a Le Creuset Dutch oven? »

“No. It just hurts: dull throbbing. It hurts for a few episodes, then the pain goes away.

“Yeah, out of the blue. No explanation.”

“Hmmm,” the showrunner says. “It could work. He tells everyone that his toe hurts, first to his wife, then to his friends. He describes it in detail but he never seems to be able to get anyone to understand just how mysterious and symbolic it all is. The throbbing toe is just a reminder of its mortality – everyone’s mortality. He mentions the mole that wasn’t a mole too, and the skin on his hands – like a dry lake bed, he says.

The showrunner is on a roll now.

“He recounts how the other day he was shaving when he noticed bushy gray hairs growing at the bottom of his throat, right next to his Adam’s apple. He had never noticed them before and he wonders: Are these neck hair migration South Where chest hair migration North?”

The room erupts in applause.

That’s what I imagine anyway.

And I know the show’s theme song. This is John Mayer singing “Your body is a wonderland”. Of course, we will have to change the lyrics. I think “Your body is a doomed amusement park” might work.

About Marie A. Gingrich

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