"Why are you so moody lately?"
"I'm not moody, I am reflective," replied the old man.
Reflective is what the moon is; it has no light of its own. Perfect. That is much how he feels about himself, not unhappy, dour, or unfit company. No, just reflecting on the process of putting years behind himself.
We've all heard the "--- is the first to go." There is no universal that fills the blank, for with all the senses, synapses, and skeletal bits and pieces, one man's weakness might be another's strength. For example, the old man reflected, the knees, or at least one knee, started to go in the thirties as the result of a motorcycle ride on a trail in Oregon. Of such adventures deterioration may set in. Vision? Going, and repaired numerous times by various surgeries, duly grateful for that.
The pharmaceuticals proclaim the benefits of their products, proposing the application of one pill or another for almost any weakness to which the flesh is heir. As one insurance company says in its commercials, "Poppycock." There is a natural progression from infancy to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, an adulthood in which the strengths of the body and mind are developed and put to the uses to which they are intended, or else not depending upon the inclination and discipline of the individual.
The process of dying, it is said, begins with conception. This is no argument either for or against the proposition. At some point one becomes aware of the process within his own being. Various systems have closed down, or are closing down. Creativity and the ability to process information and organize it into a pattern leading to a logical, or at least believable, conclusion, have waned. Some mornings one is blessed to remember his name. The string seems to get shorter and shorter and may soon be no more than bits of lint.
This is less funny, or sad for that matter, than simply a state of the human condition. One must admire those old relics who are in their late nineties and still seem alert and interested in life. But no embellishment, hairdo, fine clothing, perky makeup, or even surgical procedure, can conceal the fact that they, too, are subject to the vagaries of disconnect from this earthly life. We will all be gone soon enough.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.