My daughter, Shannon, called very excited. “Dad, Jamie had a vision the other night that you are going to live to be ninety-three.”
Jamie is Shannon’s best friend and a full-blooded Cheyenne who grew up on a reservation. She and her husband own The Bavarian, a fine German restaurant on the ski slopes in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico. She is also a medicine woman of sorts.
“That will never do,” I said.
“I run out of money when I’m eighty-three.”
It’s just like a kid, thinking they’re helping out, but making things worse. My plan has always been to arrive at my grave at age 83 on time, well dressed, clean shaven, good haircut, all my teeth , tan and trim, low cholesterol and a blood pressure of 130/70. Now, I may have to hobble in on a cane with spit drizzling down my chin. My genes are working against me. My triple great grandfather, Daniel Barksdale lived to be age 99. When I was born in 1941, life expectancy was 65. Now, it’s 76. Exercise, good nutrition, great medical care and nonsmoking has extended my life expectancy and is driving me toward bankruptcy. It use to be that a man died when he reached age 65, just when social security kicked in. That’s the way the government planned it and the money coffers were full back then. Now people are living longer and look what happened – Social Security is bankrupt. However, there is a ray of hope. When the government takes over our healthcare and folks die while waiting to see a doctor, life expectancy may slide back to the 1941 level. And that will be good. Social Security will be back on sound financial footing. Aside from being broke at age 83, there are other reasons for dying. I don’t want to pick up my date at a nursing home. And if politicians continue levying taxes, folks won’t have enough money left to purchase necessities like beer and pizza, much less pay for clothes, shelter and transportation. Who wants to live without beer and pizza?
My investment portfolio, as always, is going my way – backward. The inflation rate as of December, 2013 was 1.5%. I draw 0.3% on my dab of savings. Each month 1.47% of my savings disappear from my account without me touching it. If I live to age 93 and never spend a nickel of my savings, the account will be worthless at the present rates. If I live past age 83, it’s my own fault. I began smoking roll-your-owns when I was in the third grade at East Limestone School and worked my way up to two packs of Marlboros a day when I was in law school. I quit cold turkey in 1967. Then in 1976 I joined the health craze and began jogging and working out. I cut back on fat and cholesterol-laden foods and began living pretty much like a rabbit in a monastery.
I asked Shannon to request Jamie to have another vision and see if my life expectancy can be lowered to age 83. If that doesn’t work out, I have developed a six point back up plan:
1. Start back chasing women. This plan is very dangerous and offers two methods of dying early. First, be shot by a jealous boyfriend and die outright. Secondly, die a slow and painful death from exposure to the elements while waiting for the girlfriend to find car keys in her purse.
2. Disclose to my good friend (and sometimes red-head) Pat, that I started chasing women. This will guarantee my hospitalization, followed by her standing on my oxygen tube in the hospital.
3. Purchase a Harley, get a tattoo, plow through 5 strands of barb wire fence and slam into a sleeping brahma bull.
4. Buy a horse. This will guarantee that sooner or later I will be kicked, thrown, bit or pawed to death.
5. Start back snow skiing and run into a ponderosa pine at 50 mph.
6. Eat a triple decker cheeseburger with bacon at Hardees every day. Death will come slower, but with more pleasurable.
If Jamie isn’t successful in revising my life expectancy, I may get a second opinion. I wonder if the government will cover the cost of a vision?
By: Jerry Barksdale