We All Want Extended Warranties

The long list of medications my doctors advise me to take remind me of the replacement brake pads I will have installed on my car this morning. The drugs are intended to extend my useful life, just as replacement automobile parts are meant to extend the useful life of my car. No one claims that new brake pads will guarantee my car will last forever. And no one claims medications will assure me of everlasting life.  Yet both provide insurance of sorts that is worth the trouble and expense.

This morning’s dense fog advisory cautions me to drive with extra care when I drive to Little Rock for replacement of those rear brake pads. After the brake job has been completed, I will head home, but will stop at El Mercado Latino to pick up two dozen pork and jalapeño tamales. My tradition of enjoying tamales and chile con queso and beer on Christmas Eve has evolved over time, blending with a newer tradition of attending a  Christmas Eve church service, followed by a soup supper. I no longer consume, without fail, tamales and chile con queso on Christmas Eve; but we will partake of those traditional foods a day or two either side of that evening.

This year, I will forego the beer, thanks to doctors’ admonitions to avoid alcohol. That advice, which coincided with a short stay in the hospital for acute pancreatitis, reinforced the reality of my aging and decay. When departures from one’s sense of invincibility occur—due to health matters that dictate significant lifestyle changes—one begins to better understand  and appreciate one’s own mortality. Though abstaining from consuming alcohol (four months so far) is neither difficult nor especially noteworthy, that change in lifestyle is yet another experience that emphasizes the fact that my body is out of warranty. And the unsolicited texts, emails, and phone calls that urge me to consider variations on Medicare are akin to the flood of marketing materials that attempt to convince me to purchase an extended warranty for my seven-year-old car. Odd, I think, that we tend to treat ourselves the same way we treat our automobiles. Eventually, we either discard autos or trade them for a newer model. We wish we could trade our bodies for younger, stronger versions; instead, at some point, we discard what is left of them.


The scales of reckoning with mortality are never evenly weighted, alas, and thus it is on the shoulders of the living that the burden of justice must continue to rest.

~ Wole Soyinka ~


Mi novia‘s bad cold is making her miserable. NyQuil and DayQuil are attempting, without much success, to lessen the symptoms. I have avoided catching her cold thus far, though I have felt on one or two occasions that it might be attempting to invade my body. So far, though, those instances have been brief and have disappeared soon after. I’m knocking on wood that I will remain healthy; at least with regard to a cold.


It’s nearing 7 in the morning, time for me to launch into the day. If there were a bakery on my way to the Subaru dealership, I would stop and buy a sweet treat. Alas, to my knowledge, there is no such place of business along my route. I will suffer through that deprivation; maybe I’ll go in search of some such place upon my return.

About John Swinburn

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