Out In The Afternoon Rain: Thoughts On Life From A Late Blooming FatherSerge Bielanko
I’m on the down slope toward death, I reckon.
I’ll be 41 in like ten weeks or so and it doesn’t really bother me all that much to think that the chances of an 82-year-old me cutting a huge fart in the cold quiet early morning kitchen, as I simultaneously make a slice of toast and forget where the hell I am, are pretty unlikely.
Really, I haven’t been that good to myself.
Whenever I see 100-year-old whippersnappers blowing out the candles on a sheet cake in the common room of an old folk’s home on the local evening news, I don’t get all excited thinking, “Hell, that’ll be me in like six decades!”
Mostly I guess that’s because the reporter always ends up asking them the secret to their longevity and the answers are always sort of moving in the opposite direction from me.
“Tell us how you did it, Esmerelda! How did you live so long?”
“Well,” she smiles her sweet patient smile,” I never smoked even one cigarette and I never touched a drop of alcohol, for one thing.”
“Great,” I mumble as I take a slug and throw my bottle of pilsner the most evil eye I’ve got.
“And of course, hee-hee-hee,” the kindly old lady giggles,”I never ate a single bite of fast food and I always drink a pint glass of apple cider vinegar every morning first thing…”
I start to get a little annoyed, I gotta be honest.
“…and, probably most importantly, hee-hee-heee…,”
Here we go, I think.
“…I always made love under the crab-apple tree everyday for 82 years! Tee-hee-hee-hee!”
I stare at the screen, the cancerous laser beams from my remote control colliding mid-air above me with the ones from my wireless internet router, and sprinkling down onto my scalp like confetti from Hell.
A lame sigh slips out of me as I flip over to something less depressing. Guy Fieri or someone; another heart attack waiting to happen.
I’m doomed, I tell myself.
Look at me.
I’m a living breathing 200 pound Quarter Pounder with cheese.
I’m an undersexed mound of Pennsylvania clay.
I’ve spent billions on vices down the years, but I have laughed in the face of every jar of vinegar I have ever waltzed by in the supermarket aisle, hot-footin’ it towards the 9 dollar bricks of SwitchBlade Razor Sharp Cheddar.
I mean, how long are we supposed to live anyways?
There was a time when the tallest dudes in the village were 4’11”. They spent 8 days a week planting turnips that taste like ass in the rocky dirt of the heath, and they sired six or seven kids so they could plant turnips too, and for fun they walked uphill, both ways, with a baby lamb across their shoulders like a Dandy’s cardigan, to sit by the fireside in a pub made out of horsehair and loogies and drink nuclear strong ale and smoke crackling autumn leaves in their ox bone pipe until they passed out on the peasant next to ’em.
Then they died when they were 38, the oldest son-of-a-bitch for fifty square miles.
I get confused.
My two kids crawling around on the carpet, poking each other in the head with Tinker Toy sticks while the smell of warm fish sticks fills the house, it makes me wanna live forever and ever, when nothing else really does.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m weird. Maybe I’m wrong and weird.
People seem to want to hang around a lot longer than they used to. I don’t know if it’s because they’re afraid of the lights going out or what. People want to stay beautiful and sexy, they want to stay young even when they’re old. Lots of seemingly normal people will pay big bucks to have their ass fat sucked out and shot back into their lips so that when they smile it looks like the back end of a pregnant cat.
“Look at me,” they say. “I’m still young. I’m still gorgeous, you stupid bastards.”
We want to be alive so bad that sometimes we make ourselves look worse than the dead just trying to get the job done.
There are machines that will breath for you.
There are baboons growing hearts for you.
Even after you croak, you can freeze your head if you want to, if you can come up with the scratch.
If there is a God, he must laugh a lot, huh?
I am trying.
I have been jogging on the treadmill at the gym. I can do like 40 minutes at a pretty good clip. I stop sometimes though, when the sweat pouring off of me seems to be scaring folks. I’ll walk a few minutes then. I see that as trying to live.
I imagine my daughter getting married someday. Jesus, I’d like to be there for that. Or my son. Either one of them. I don’t have a favorite; I love them both the same.
I’d like to be here when they cross certain lines in the sand. I’d like to help them if I can, through heartbreak or shitty bosses or with a car payment now and then.
But, as much as I’d like to think that I have a big hand in that, as much as I understand that there are things that I can do, and even am doing, to maybe make that happen, there are no real guarantees and I know that.
Hell, I even like knowing that.
It makes me better in the moment. And I often suck in the moment. But, I’m trying there too.
Because we all spend so much time betting on tomorrow, you know?
We all spend so much time gambling on forever, or at least a bigger chunk of it than we really deserve or will ever taste, when all around us, there is so much life going down.
Let the chips fall where they may, that’s what I say.
Until then, I want to hold them both in my arms, out in the afternoon rain, the smell of hot piss rising up out of their diapers; the twinkle in their eyes slamming a heavy axe into the skull of anything around us that even so much as hints at an ending.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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