Back during pre-modern days when my grandfather celebrated his 50th birthday, it was difficult for him to blow the candles out. Often, my grandmother helped him blow, and I wondered why a grandmother seemed to have more air in her lungs than he did. Was it because he’d been battered through life more than she had? Her responsibility was to conceive and raise children. His was to provide food and a place for them to sleep. When he arrived home in deep, dark night, he had already been burdened enough and was so weary he did not even want to count his children to see if they were all there.

One of my great-grandfathers produced 15 children and another one nearby, had 14. What were they thinking, other than letting nature take its course? It took almost 100 years for parents to understand that families could be planned, and that abstention from pleasure was not sinful.

In her recent book, “Elderhood,” Louise Aronson points out that in 1900, the average life expectancy of Americans was 49. Now, it’s 79, which raises the question, what does all these old people do? In 2020, they run for president. It seems that as one ages, accompanied by arthritis, dementia, heart failure and other ailments, a politician doesn’t realize that age makes a difference. Dr. Aronson also writes that elderhoods don’t suffer that much from dandruff. For dandruff to thrive, nature requires a full head of hair.

If Donald Trump wins in 2020, he will be 78, and the oldest president in U.S. history. If Joe Biden wins, he will be 77 and Bernie Sanders 78. More power to him. One little heart attack is not a big deal.

Ironically, when we’re going through the childhood phase, we’re too anxious to become an elderhood. And when we do, we usually revert to childish ways. There is the ever-present danger that unless a lithe woman becomes president, the swamp in Washington will never be purified.

According to Dr. Aronson, if we make it to 80, we have a good chance of making it to 90 and beyond. That’s the good news. The bad news is, “that the aged are too often degraded as irrelevant, useless, burdensome, ugly if not grotesque — or a pain in the butt.”

In another recent book, “Immortality, Inc,” Chip Walter, a futurist, explains that with the advancements in modern technology and science, aging can be reversed or slowed to a crawl. He cites work in nanotechnology and in sequencing the human genome. To do this, you’ll also need to insert an ample dose of artificial intelligence into your brain to form substitute elements in your biology. This would permit you to order “programmable blood” from Amazon to live a little bit longer.

All another gadget would do is clutter my life. I already keep a blood-pressure thing close to my arm. It’s not the pressure I’m worried about; it’s the warmth of my blood. He died when his blood resembled frost mixed with sleet. Is it asking too much to combine a little green heating gadget attached to my pressure machine?

And now my four children are applying pressure to my inner core. Although they have passed into their youthful 60s, they don’t know how to deal with ancient Dad, who’s nearing an over-ripened 86. It’s not that complicated. Feed me and keep me warm.

When they conduct meetings to review the extent of my slippage, such as do I know where my billfold is? You better believe it, it’s attached to my body, as are my car keys and eyes and ears are to see and hear what I think is worth seeing and hearing. Whatever you do, don’t ever impeach me from my family, or my nation, currently undergoing psychoanalysis. Know-it-all young people at 60, need stability, as we observe our souls methodically become digitized.

When life is not worth living any longer, let nature take its course. But if you’re not ready to go yet, the approach we take is what matters. There are more interesting things I want to learn and do. It’s the continuing appetite for other exciting adventures. When that goes, what an exhilarating adventure death will be.

Now that people are living longer, will you have more time to be a pain in your posterior? Or, what’s inside your interior? Isn’t there an all-powerful spiritual dimension there? Aging is a time for maintenance and nourishment of one’s spirit.

Although it’s superficial, think I’ll watch the Super Bowl. Anything to keep my blood boiling.

Contact Terry Cummins at

Recommended for you