Friday, June 28, 2024

"I Hope I Die Before I Get Old" - Part One

Image by Bianca Van Dijk from Pixabay

This weekly column consists of letters written to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now and haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"An actuary is someone who can put a number on something that's not certain." -Karthick Balaji 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

I think I've previously mentioned that I'm now old, but being old, I can't remember in what column. 

I can do a search and find out exactly where and when, but if a bunch of hits are returned (which is, I confess, what just happened) I don't have the patience to pursue the matter further. A lot of old men are like that. 

Besides, being old, I've no idea how much time I've got left and I don't want to drop dead while looking for an old column just so I can link to it. Links are fine for connecting to something a given writer thinks may actually be helpful to a given reader. 

However, a lot of links are provided under the oft-mistaken notion that readers are champing at the bit to read more of a particular writer's output. If they actually are, it's easy enough to find without bothering people who aren't.

{Wait-wait-wait. Is it champing or chomping at the bit?}

Here's a helpful link. Apparently either will do, but as best I can tell gramandos seem to favor champing.  

I was 39 for 38 years and although it could've been better, that was long enough for me to repeatedly learn that it could've been worse, much worse. Intuitively speaking, I've known for several years that at some point after I turned 70 I would officially be old. 


Officially in my universe, not necessarily by any official definition as promulgated by The Fedrl Gummit or even the Society of Actuaries. 

I was right, I'll be 71 in a few months, and I'm now old. 

{Wait a second, there's a club for actuaries?} 

Absabalutely, in fact, there's more than one but the SOA is "...the largest professional society for actuaries in the world." I discovered this in passing while researching how much longer I can reasonably hope to keep on dancing while avoiding doing the mortal coil shuffle.  

 {So, how much time do you have left?}

According to the Northwestern Mutual Lifespan Calculator, I'll wake up dead when I'm 82. As it turns out, there are multiple lifespan calculators you can access via the Worldwide Web of Conflicting Knowledge.

I went with Northwestern Mutual's conclusion because their very name sounds like they know what they're doing, not to mention the neat little box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen with a projected age estimate that goes up (and down) as you answer a series of questions. 

Also, I'd much prefer to not live past the age of about 80, so 82 sounds about right. 

While investigating how much time I have left I discovered there's an algorithm loose in the world called life2vec developed by Danish researchers that's allegedly 11% more accurate at predicting when you'll buy the farm than more traditional methods. 

It's still in development but you'll be excited to know that the people involved claim it."...was able to make predictions about certain aspects of people’s lives, including how they might think, feel and behave..." 

Cool, right? I can't wait. 

{You know not everyone finds sarcasm to be an attractive personality trait. Hey...given that you hope to die before you get old, have concluded that you are old, but expect (hope?) to see 80, what are...?}

Well, Dana, there's good old, and then there's bad old. 

{Oh, okay, now I get it.} 

Recently coming across that famous line (that I've turned into a title) from that famous song was what motivated me to go a-googlin' to find out how much time I might have left in the first place, and to discover what Pete Townshend was thinking when he wrote the song, My Generation. 

For those of you too young, or too old...

Bad old, as I suspected and confirmed, is what the song is about

According to Wikipedia Mr. Townshend said in an interview in 1989 that when he wrote the song, old, to him, meant very rich. Personally, I wouldn't mind being obscenely rich, but I think I know where he was coming from. 

I don't ever want to be so old that maintaining my personal financial and ideological status quo is the primary reason I keep getting out of bed in the morning — the pursuit of purpose and meaning, and fun, be damned. 

I know/have known/know of a lot of people who are younger than me but who are actually much older than I am. I, and Pete Townshend, would rather be dead than be that sort of old. 

{So what's good old?}

A concept that requires its own column, which is why there will be a part two. Stay tuned. 

{I don't think they say stay tuned anymore, Pops.}

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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