Crossing the Finish Line In Life’s Amazing Race

I knew the new season of The Amazing Race was going to start, but I didn’t know what time or channel, so I asked “Cortana” to search for it.  (Cortana is Microsoft’s sophomoric  attempt to personalize the computer.)  Cortana didn’t even get as far as the Internet.  She came up with this document still on my own computer that I wrote years ago but forgot to post.  Its name caught her attention. And it is pretty good.  Too good to throw away, so here it is, three years old, but more appropriate than ever: (The Ronald Reagan joke is hilarious.)


“Have You Lost Your Mind?” by Michael Kinsley.  The New Yorker, 4/28/2014.

Sometime in the past few years, I read an article that pointed out we always see life as a race, and if we live just one day longer than someone else, even if they are older, we feel we won.  Perhaps they were smarter than us, more talented, had greater successes, and, we have to admit, were nicer, more likeable people, yet when we learn they died, we feel we won the great race of life.  Even if it were only one day, we are alive to experience today while they are not, and this more than makes up for their superiority in character, ambition, or any other quality in life.

Now, this current New Yorker article describes the approaching tsunami of dementia as people live longer.  Die at age 60 and dementia is not likely to be a problem, but once you get past 85, there is almost a 50-50 chance you will end up walking down an unfamiliar institutional hallway in a drooping diaper, in a hospital gown open in the back, led by a someone speaking a strange language.  Women are more susceptible to dementia simply because they live longer.  In other words, you can expect a short life with your intellect intact, or live a long life with dementia. Take your pick.

Author Kinsley quotes a joke:

Ronald Reagan’s doctor tells him he has both bad news and even worse news.  “I can handle it, Doc.” says Reagan.  “Let’s have it.”

“The bad news is you have cancer.  The worse news is you have Alzheimer’s.”

“That’s not so bad,” says Reagan.  “At least I don’t have cancer.”

In this joke, the grain of truth that is always in jokes is that you probably won’t realize you have dementia.  My father sunk into dementia as he aged into his 90s.  He briefly realized something was wrong and complained that his brain wasn’t working right, but that soon passed as he got worse.  He died relatively happy, not realizing his predicament.  However, a common effect of dementia is losing the ability to swallow.  Near the end, everything he ate had to have  the consistency of pudding.  Solid food was pureed, and  liquids, even his morning orange juice and coffee, were thickened.  The only other option was a feeding tube.

Leaving you with that happy thought . . .


 I have a fairly large backlog of finished drafts stored on WordPress waiting to be published.  They are listed alphabetically  for further editing or posting.  I thought I was seeing them all, but I discovered at the top of the screen that I was only looking at page 1 of 3, so there are lots more.

I normally select  a draft individually to post, but I can also specify an automatic future posting date for each.  This means you may still be reading this blog long after I am gone.  (Probably as close to eternal life I will ever get.)

Just warning you.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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