In Memory of My Friend David

By | February 20, 2020
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In Memory of My Friend David

I first met David when he was 14. He passed away last November at the age of 69. Our friendship lasted over 50 years. We grew up together, we had our good times and bad times, and we grew old together in a special kind of way. He lived over 800 miles from me, yet for many weekends, using our cellphones with Bluetooths stuck in our ears, we took long walks together talking like only old friends do.

I wrote the following essay nearly seven-years-ago. When looking back at some of the many essays I’ve written, I came upon this one. I thought it would make a fitting tribute to the memory of my friend, David. I hope through this essay you know what kind of friends we were.

Rest in peace, my friend. I miss you. I hope wherever you are, this brings a smile to your face…


Food for Thought

Yesterday I took a walk. My friend David walked around his domicile in Georgia and me through the Ohio countryside. Although we’re old, we are technologically hip. We talked on our cell phones for a little while as we walked. I walked eight miles, David walked five. Or so he says.

If you’re younger than 50 this will be unbearably boring; it won’t have a bit meaning to you. So go away. If you’re a man over 50 you’ll get it. You might not like it, but you’ll get it.

Face it, if you’re over 50, you are spending your time on the Web looking at scantily-clad women, reading about colon, bladder, and prostate issues, trying to control your soaring cholesterol, clear your clogged arteries – and maybe even considering eating a more healthy diet and starting an exercise regimen. In that case, you might want to keep on reading. I might save you from the agony of celery sticks and riding around for miles on a bicycle with a seat designed for a twenty-year-old bottom. It occurred to me that you could be wasting your time. (Well, maybe not the scantily-clad women part.)

Now, now, ladies, don’t get upset. I’m only stating the facts. Don’t be so Victorian. This is the age of endless Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis TV commercials. You know the ones with the fawning middle-aged jezebels pawing their rotund objects of affection. Come on! Keep reading! You might actually enjoy this look into the bizarre minds of old guys fighting in vain to forestall the ravages of time. You might even take away a tiny morsel (no pun intended) of knowledge and insight into the hardening brains of pathetic old guys like me. If you are offended by scantily-clad women don’t worry. There are absolutely none of those here. This is just boring old geezer stuff. Geezers like me are harmless. We spend most of our time safely ensconced in recliners, snoring away our final years.

Now guys, if you’re here to learn about colon, prostate or other health problems which target guys over 50, there’s a really good chance you’re wasting your time. Should you eat, drink, and be merry or eat right, exercise and walk around sore and starving for the rest of your life? You want the truth? If you eat healthy, exercise and do all the good things rich doctors tell you to do – all you’re doing is prolonging the inevitable. It is pathetic, but it is true. You might think that remaining very healthy until the very day of your death is very desirable. Don’t get your hopes up. Your chances of that are very slim – no matter how many celery sticks you eat, sit-ups you do, or miles your jog. When you’re over 50, there are a plethora of evil things out to get you. I’m sorry to tell you that scantily-clad women are not among them.

A healthy diet and exercise not only just prolongs the inevitable, but might not be in your best interest either. Got your attention? Sometimes, I’m so proud of myself when I think of stuff like this – who wouldn’t be?

It all started when David told me that he attended a business luncheon last Friday. He ate two fried alligator tails but then realized he had to pay for his overindulgence by walking an extra mile or two the next day. We discussed his gluttony critically – even analytically. Yes, we are that type. You know the kind that grates on your nerves. Anyway, we have these kinds of profound discussions quite often. We’re perky, smart, older guys! Truth be told, we have nothing better to do.

He observed that the obese members of his work team ate with reckless abandon. In layman’s terms that means they were cramming down all manner of goodies as fast they could shove them in their greasy, little mouths. That got the wheels turning in our rusty, old heads. We began tossing around the idea that perhaps we (meaning all us older guys) would be better off not exercising; letting ourselves go and eating whatever we wanted – whenever we wanted and as much as we wanted. Then, like David’s morbidly obese co-workers, we could have that Devil-may-care attitude and run amok at lunch and dinner buffets – and keep Dominos delivery drivers busy. Or, maybe we should continue with our ludicrous daily exercise routines and miserably healthy diets, and prolong the inevitable for as long as we can.

As ironic as it may seem, there’s something to be said for dropping dead suddenly. A stroke or heart attack, brought on by years of over-eating and lack of exercise, might be an express ticket to eternity. If you’re fat and don’t care, good for you. You don’t have a clue when the big one is coming. And, you will have had the pleasure of indulging your gluttonous self and never worried one bit about walking any farther than from the couch to the fridge. Heck, if you’re lucky, you might even drop dead, heading to the refrigerator for another slice of cold pizza and another beer. What a way to go! No lying around while smiling hospice nurses patronize you. No wasting away for months writhing in pain from old age or some awful terminal disease. Nope. Dropping dead on your way to the fridge for more food and drink does have a certain appeal. If you’re a deep-thinker you have to agree – don’t you?

Those of us, like David and I, who monitor our diets carefully and exercise regularly, might well end up ridiculously old, shriveled-up, drooling, mush-eating, curmudgeons; just mindless old, wrinkled prunes, spending our final days in some run-down, dimly-lit, understaffed, bottom-of-the-barrel nursing home, sucking up the resources of our offspring because we’ve managed to outlive our own. And the reason we have been stuffed away in that awful place? Because we spent years on healthy diets and 10-mile walks. We suffer now and we’ll suffer later. Dropping dead on the way to the refrigerator doesn’t sound like too bad of an alternative.

We are still able to walk now, but it’s not a stretch of the imagination to picture ourselves hobbling around behind walkers waiting for death to take us, our well-exercised and starvation-thin bodies ravaged by age.

Is it better to fade slowly and perhaps, agonizingly into death after 80+ years of healthy diet and exercise? Or, is it better to speed up the inevitable and enjoy yourself all the way to the quick-exit ramp off the freeway of life? There’s something to be said about the pleasures of 40+ years of gluttony and napping your life away on the couch. It looks like it’s a toss-up to some, there are plenty of 50+ fat guys, snoozing in recliners, waking up to watch the 3rd quarter of a football game and have another bowl of chips, a couple more slices of pizza and a few more ice-cold beers. They’re all tempting fate: “What me worry?” Then there are some 50+ guys out jogging and coming home to a meal of cold tofu and carrot sticks trying to prolong the inevitable for a few more years. They look miserable and hungry.


5 thoughts on “In Memory of My Friend David

  1. Barb

    I can’t envisage you as being old, decrepit. or idle. and what you write is well worthy of serious consideration. I know about old friends, I have known mine for 80 years, we both started school the same day when we were 5 and we’re both still alive, more or less. Thank you for the thought-provoking realities you have pointed out, so true, and there’s no avoiding the inevitable no matter what you do. If we don’t like it, too bad, it will catch up to us any time soon.Enjoy the rest of your life.

  2. David Barber

    What a beautiful, thought provoking piece of writing on getting old. I have never read its equal. Being 78 yrs I have read it twice and cannot get it out of my mind. Your essay is full of common-sense and I applaud you. As we get older we rarely get invited to weddings, but funerals are aplenty. We no longer believe politicians because we’ve heard it all before and, we finally realise that the saddest thing about common-sense is that it’s not all that common. I always enjoy your essays – this piece was masterly.

  3. Robert Early

    Excellent piece. For a few moments I thought you had crawled inside my head and echo’d my observations on what life is left. I to have an old friend (-1 year to me) that we met in Class in 1956, and have had a sporadic on-off relationship, but able to support one another through some tough times, even when family were unable to help. Thank you.

  4. Robert Young

    I finally got around to reading your excellent article. I just passed 74, & celebrated a close friend’s 74th birthday yesterday. The last time I celebrated his birthday was 61 years ago today, when he turned 13. My longest termed friend! So I read with interest your ideas. I had open heart surgery 2 years ago, 6-way bypass, and without that, I would be dead! I’m really glad for today’s medical expertise that has extended my life. I’ve been married now 51 years, and we are looking forward to our future years together, as long as our health remains. No, we are not surviving on celery and carrots, but we are eating a lot of them. We changed our diet so cholesterol has been lowered. I do exercise, but I am not starving nor straining beyond reason. I want my body to function as well as it can as long as it can. I savor life, and I am having a great time, driving charter bus part time, restoring an old backhoe, building a shop, building a solar system for my shop, and enjoying reading and writing, and loving life with my wife. Yes, I am fortunate, and I know it. So thanks for your ideas. Well worth taking note of, and applying where it fits. Blessing on you.


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