Decrepit and Decaying

Evidence of advancing age and inadequate exercise showed their ugly faces yesterday as I tried to prep for today’s planned paint festival. The urgency of overcoming my procrastination in getting the work done became apparent as I looked at the calendar, realizing new furniture is to be delivered only four days hence, on Tuesday. So, I went into a frenzy of applying blue painter’s tape to protect trim, built-in shelving, and other such stuff that I want to avoid painting. The suggestion of my mortality was clearest when I began taping baseboards. My knees screamed in agony when I knelt on the bare wood floors. Even after providing a soft rubber cushion to support them, they shrieked in pain, protesting the torture to which I subjected them. But it wasn’t until I attempted to stand after kneeling for a while that the real, stark evidence became apparent. Had I not been fortunate that a chair was nearby to serve as a means of pulling myself upright, I would have remained on the floor last night, unable to stand.

Clearly, a whole body transplant is in order. If only I could download from my brain the knowledge and memories and emotions and personality characteristics I wish to retain and save them to a temporary storage device. If only I could then upload those attributes into a new brain that’s part of a well-conditioned twenty-five-year-old body with all the right qualities: strong arms and legs, narrow waist, six-pack abs, well-defined pectoral muscles, a set of sparkling white teeth lacking discernible diastemata, and all the other features necessary for physical and performance perfection.

Alas, we’re probably at least thirty years—maybe thirty thousand—from the eventual capacity to undergo body and brain rebooting. So, for now, I’ll have to settle for what I have and make do. Thus, I’ll have to paint with the same arthritic hands that protest when I make a fist. I’ll climb the ladder with feet that tend to get cramps when I confine them to athletic shoes for too many hours.

The act of preparing for, and then engaging in, painting is a young man’s game. If I were more flush and less frugal, I would hire it out. But I am neither. So, today, I paint.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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