Sunday, November 06, 2005

Life Divided by Four

If you ask my dad how he's doing, he'll tell "not too bad - for someone who's pushin 80!" The fact is, he's been "pushin 80" since the day he turned 70. He's 78 right now. Another thing he'll tell you is that he's "headin for the bone orchard." If fact, given the chance he'll say a lot of things, for a long time, and he won't likely stop.

Dad seems to be somewhat fascinated by the fact that he's 78 and still doing OK. I say OK with italics because although he's perfectly mobile and sharp as he ever was, he does have at least 3 stents in his chest and visits the ER about once a year now due to periodic scary "episodes" of pain or tightness.

One of the reasons I think he dwells on his age is because when he was in his early 60's,
he had himself convinced that he was going to fall over dead at the age of 65 - based soley on the fact that his dad died from a heart attack at that age. What he refused to accept though, was the fact that the only reason his dad had a heart attack was because (legend says) while he raising a house for his house-moving company, one of the timbers underneath the house shifted. Instead of letting the house fall, he grabbed the corner of the house and held it up while his partner reset the timber. This might sound implausible, but my grandfather was a massive man of 6'6", 300 lbs and all muscle from years of tossing around house-moving timbers. Anyway, because my dad didn't die at 65, he now considers every minute beyond that as cake - an added daily bonus.

Recently, during one of dad's reflections on the mystery of why he was still alive, he made this proclamation:
"As I look back over my life I am amazed at how quickly it has gone by. And in addition to going quickly, it seems to have happened in 20-year chunks. I remember being 20, and then all of a sudden I was 40. Then I was 60 and now I'm 80. Next I will be dead. Yes, that's the way it seems to have gone - 20, 40, 60, 80, you're dead!"

Now don't get me wrong, dad is not one of those depressed, morbid dooms-dayer kind of people. Dad is really a very lighthearted funny guy and this statement is typical of one of his, what I call, "Bill-isms". These are family-famous quotes and sayings that he has either invented himself, or passed on down the line from his dad - and may, in fact, continue to travel on down through the generations to follow.

But "20, 40, 60, 80, you're dead!"?

Thank you dad for that neat little summary of life. I'll make sure to grasp on to that the next time I'm feeling a little mid-life crisis-y.

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