I don’t need a reminder I’m getting older, but it seems like every day that’s exactly what I get. The hair which used to adorn the top of my head has mysteriously disappeared only to reemerge in my ears and nostrils. I have even considered becoming an observant Jew which would allow me to wear a kipa all day to cover my growing bald spot.
All of a sudden people address me as “sir,” not an honorary title bestowed by the Queen with a touch of her sword on the shoulders, but rather a pathetic salutation reserved for the near dead. And on the rare occasion people tell me I look good, it is invariably followed with the qualification, “for your age,” as if to say I don’t look bad compared to a corpse.
The final insult came the other day when I got a letter in the mail with “free cremation” boldly emblazoned on the envelope. This is not the kind of letter I received when I was in my 20’s, I can tell you that. Being curious and quite enamored with the concept of free anything, I opened the envelope. The offer inside was far beyond anything I could have anticipated.
All I had to do was fill out a form, send it back, and if I won the lottery, I would be entitled to a free cremation. No, I didn’t say a free vacation, I said a free cremation. In other words, the winner gets burned to a crisp. I wonder what the loser gets.
If this solicitation isn’t a reminder of getting older, what is? Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against cremation. If it’s good enough for over a billion Indians, it’s good enough for me. Frankly, I like the concept of ashes to ashes, although I don’t recall ever being an ash. But if I am to be cremated, all I ask is for somebody to get a second opinion to make sure I have really kicked the bucket before they light the match.