Mostly, we talk about our fears, that we’ll be forced to be
the kind of men that we would never wish to be. For me:
it’s the guy scooting about that motored thing at Safeway,
because my knees and gimpy hip can’t bear the weight of my
bad habits. Thank God, I’m still limping along, leaning over
my cart, pushing past the Werther’s caramels, the Ensure,
and Depends. Who knows how much time I have before I give
up and become that creepy coot, basket brimmed with lottery
tickets, cheap beer, cheese, and condoms! The last merely for show,
we suppose. Even now, before that dreadful day, we know
that women, including wives, have begun to indicate
disinterest in any dis-ease we could communicate.
Then there is work. Because pay checks have shrunk (like the other
parts), one of us worries his lucrative career will come
full circle, forcing him to take, again, the measly job
he jettisoned so proudly when the gravity of youth
gave way and he entered the orbit of adult success.
What will become of us, we fret, now that our contact lists,
like our backs, have begun to weaken? Which will give out first,
our pensions or our pride? But we laugh. Our fears, unruly
pets, are locked away in kennels of possible
futures. We take them out for walks and water breaks. Perhaps
a dump. Our conversations are plastic bags we pick up
worries with. So we keep talking. Hey, we’ve survived this long.