In the spring, a young man's fancy but never mind about that; a young woman's fancier than he is, and anyway it's been years since I could pass myself off as young.

What I really hate, of course, is that at this age, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to (and I'd be surprised if there were that few, to be honest about it) seem intent upon giving me an itemized list each and every day. I used to think "My hair hurts" was a manifestation of the DTs. No more.

Getting out of bed these days, in addition to the usual routine of staring in groggy disbelief at the smirking green digits on the clock, requires a number of carefully-synchronized motions, lest I subject myself to the cramping of muscles or the stubbing of toes or some other annoyance. Once I'm up, all my nerve endings seem to go on yellow alert, and they never seem to miss an opportunity to ratchet up the activity level until half an hour past bedtime.

Last month, you may remember, I spent a night in a hospital bed, after a fusillade of chest pains that unaccountably wouldn't retreat. And hospital beds, I am starting to believe, are manufactured with the express purpose of eliciting pain responses that otherwise might be overlooked by the endless parade of peripatetic medical personnel. Admittedly, I lack the sort of narrowness that the hospital bed would seem to demand, but locations where width was not an issue were no less uncomfortable.

When we are young, we fancy ourselves indestructible. Eventually, we learn otherwise. I can't help but wonder if what causes those vaunted mid-life crises is nothing more than the realization that the warranty's up and it's awfully damned hard to get parts.

The Vent

15 February 2000

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 Copyright © 2000 by Charles G. Hill