Diminished with age

A Mike Shiells cartoon, passed on on Facebook by Karen Chung, for its entertainment value as a burst of puns:

But what caught my eye in this cartoon of a pencil funeral was the fact that the deceased had been so diminished with age, worn down to a nub by use. I’m being worn down myself. For decades, I was 5′10″, but in recent years I’ve lost over 3 inches in height, a tangible decline: I can no longer reach things on top shelves, in stores and in my own home. I was prepared for some of the physical ravages of age, but nobody told me about this one.

I knew about the gray hair, and the wrinkled, saggy skin. Even about the hair in my ears, which I’d have to shave regularly. I was prepared for losses in hearing and vision, but I’ve been largely spared those so far (though I have had cataract surgery in both eyes). I missed the bulletins about declining acuity of smell and taste, however.

I knew there would be medical problems, but I wasn’t prepared for their immensity. How I would become not so much a person as an accumulation of dozens of conditions, variously painful, disabling, and life-limiting. How so much of my remaining time would be taken up with medical investigations and treatments, so that it often seems that the only point of my life is to keep on living.

Worn to a nub, but still scribbling.

2 Responses to “Diminished with age”

  1. kenru Says:

    Whoa! You’re only a year older than I; but I’ve somehow managed to escape some of these infirmities of the elderly so far. No secret, maybe just good genes. Anyway, in the meantime, keep your pencil sharp, Arnold!

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