I have a new titanium knee and you probably don’t, nyah nyah! Three weeks ago an Italian guy from New Jersey came at me with a knife and a saw, and ecco! no more arthritis. Dr. Tacconelli is my hero, along with a freezer pack applied twice daily.
This set me to thinking about all the replaced and repaired body parts there are out there, walking among us. We’re becoming zombies! We are the living dead, walking the land with our fake knees, hips, eyes, ears, heart valves, colostomies, hair . . . I don’t know what all. And I’m thrilled to make that statement. The quality of my life is being maintained in an eerie way, and fears of dying remain in the distant future, which is where I want them.
It’s fun to contemplate this very recent turn of events. It wasn’t long ago that I would have been permanently crippled by arthritis, if not dead from “heart palpitations,” which is what Grandma would have called my atrial fibrillation. Without the proper meds (one of which, warfarin, was invented to poison rats), I would have ended my crippled life with a stroke because I lacked the remedies that I now take. I’ll take pills “every day for the rest of my life.” That comment depressed me at first, but, since it’s working, what’s the problem. More life is on the way.
In my fear of dying and being crippled I remind myself of one Lemuel Gulliver, hero of Jonathan Swift’s 18-Century classic, “Gulliver’s Travels.” In his third voyage, Lemuel encountered the Struldbruggs, miserable, senile people who were doomed to live forever. As I recall, they carried mechanical versions of their vital organs on their backs, in boxes. Doomed to never dying, granted their wish to live forever, they slowly roamed the land of Luggnag — out of it, unhappy, but still alive. Do we want to live forever? Is that the fate that WE are headed for?
Hmmm. . .
I don’t know where this line of thinking is leading me, but I am looking forward to playing tennis again pretty soon, thanks to my titanium and plastic body part. You were a wonderful satirist, Jonathan, but there were some things you didn’t know, a lot of good living you didn’t have.
Well, gotta go. I’m losing one of my upper right bicuspids, and I’ll talk with my dentist about getting a bridge containing another fake body part — a tooth.