Better Than Sex

When I was young I loved sex. It consumed me. In fact I was mentally obsessed with it. About 90% of my waking thoughts involved plotting and planning on how to get laid. The other 10% involved how to make a living so that I could live long enough to actually get laid.

Sex was very frustrating. With all my plotting and planning, my rate of success finding a partner was similar to Wile E. Coyote’s success at catching the roadrunner. Except for one very willing partner whose name was Rosy Palm.

Just the same, I believed sex was the best thing in the world. I couldn’t imagine anything more thrilling or satisfying than a roll in bed with honey.

But then I got married and sex became a regular, routine activity.

And after 25 years of wedded bliss, I have reached the point of what I call, “sexual maturity”. As a mature, older man, I have come to realize that there really is something better than sex.

It’s called sleep.

A deep slumber sends the mind floating down a serene river of nerveless relaxation that is impossible to experience from sex. Sleep refreshes and renews one’s spirit, whereas sex consumes the spirit. The pleasure of sleep lasts much longer than the quick thrill of sex. And sleep has many other advantages over sex.

Men always fantasize about having multiple partners. But having multiple partners can be dangerous. It can ruin your marriage, spread horrendous diseases, and lead to paternity suits.

But under the aegis of sleep, a man can dream about having sex with many different partners, with no negative consequences whatsoever.

I’ll admit that after a good night’s sleep, my body feels kind of stiff and can have a kinked up neck or shoulders. But good sex wears my body out even worse. And the kinkier it gets, the more kinked up my body feels afterward.

Sex can require weeks, months, or even years for a man to seduce a willing partner. But if I stay awake past 9:00 pm, no seduction at all is required to lure sleep into bed.

Women can enjoy multiple orgasms, many times per day. But older guys like me can enjoy multiple naps many times per day.

The lure of sex for many is the thrilling, orgasmic climax. But I enjoy the anticlimax better. There’s nothing like that soft suasion of deep drowsiness drawing me to dreamland just minutes after the Big Bang.

So go for it, young men with raging hormones! Keep pursuing, persuading, and cajoling, trying to fulfill your sleazy fantasies. Hunt for the cunt on that long, frustrating trail to the tail. You can have it.

Meanwhile, I’ll prop my feet up on an easy chair, turn on the Golf Channel, and settle in for a long, afternoon snooze. At long last, I’ve found something much better than sex.

Marathon Heart

My father-in-law, Jake, has worked and played hard all his life. He was a machinist, and his job involved heavy lifting, hard sweating, and complex mental absorption. Back in his day, he was a man of brawn and brain.

He married his sister-in-law when he was 24, enduring all the internecine slings and arrows this relationship with his brother-in-law’s ex-wife generated. He accepted his two nieces as his own daughters, and had several more children with his sister-in-law.

Then his wife’s parents died, leaving three children of nonage. He happily took these three underage orphans into his already crowded home, and raised them into adulthood.

In those early days of the Cold War, the aerospace industry was booming, keeping machinists like Jake very busy. His average work week was about 80 hours. And the overtime pay allowed him to support and raise his large extended family, which he did cheerfully and without complaint.

Then he went into business for himself and prospered even more. His machine shop earned a nationwide reputation amongst those who needed the kind of specialty work his shop performed.

He kept very busy within those metal walls of his shop, toiling away long hours, doing the heavy lifts, sweating, straining, and responding daily to all the challenges before him.

And then abruptly at the age of 60, he retired. This man with a busy mind and active body suddenly found himself with nothing to do. But he didn’t twiddle his thumbs for very long.

Jake turned to athletics. He began competing in marathons and triathlons. He put all his mettle into this sport for the fleet of foot, and set world records for his age group.

Not only did he win many trophies and accolades, but his cardiovascular health benefited from this new hobby of his. He was in tip-top aerobic shape.

He was also an avid hiker in his retirement years. He took me with him on several hikes, and I always struggled to keep up with his fast, enduring pace. Sometimes I even had to persuade him to stop and take a break, lest I collapse.

But in his early 70’s Jake had to slow down, and then finally stop. All the heavy lifting from his machinist career, and all that post-retirement marathon running was catching up to him. His joints grew spurs and the discs in his back compressed.

He began using a cane. And now, at age 89, he’s traded the cane for a walker. Yet even with a walker, he is barely able to stay upright. He’s fallen several times and hurt himself, and has had to be helped back up to his feet. He dreads the future. He fears that soon he may be confined to a wheelchair.

Yet his heart, his heart! Oh that marathon heart of Jake’s is as strong as ever! He takes no heart medication, yet his systolic blood pressure reading is often in the 90’s, and his diastolic ranges between 45 and 70.

Poor Jake. He wants to die. He hates living like a cripple. But his heart won’t allow him to die. He’s in chronic kidney failure, and his body is bloated with water. But that marathon heart pumps strong as ever.

The doctor says that cancer may have invaded his body. He coughs a lot, and lives in constant pain. He’s incontinent also, due to stenosis in his spine. And even when he can make it to the toilet, he requires help with his hygiene. It’s very embarrassing for this man who prides himself on being independent. This man with the marathon heart.

And he can’t sleep well. But that strong heart of his won’t allow him to die in his sleep.

Jake is a hero to me. But a hero of the Greco-tragic ilk. Be careful, you marathon runners, or you may end up just like Jake. Your strong heart will force you to endure the humility and helplessness of a crippled body. It will keep you alive through the torture of all kinds of chronic illnesses. And the mercy of the grim reaper will be held at bay, while you cry out in pain and plead for the end, every day and every night.

Relax on the couch and watch TV. Eat potato chips. Allow your cholesterol level and blood pressure to rise through the roof. And persuade that coronary to overtake you now, before it’s too late.

You don’t want to end up like Jake.

Jake, Lisa, and the IRS

“I learned a long time ago, never to mess with the IRS,” Jake repeated firmly whenever this topic of discussion came up. Which has lately left me feeling puzzled.

I snuck into Jake’s records. I had to be sneaky; Jake didn’t want me nosing around in there. But Jake is dying. Soon my wife will inherit his business. She and I need to know how he’s running it. And he’s secretive.

Before my mother-in-law died, I offered to do Jake’s bookkeeping for free. After all, he was getting pretty old and I knew how much he hated paperwork. I thought he’d jump at the offer. He didn’t, but my mother-in-law did. She shouted, “Yes! Please! And don’t ask him! Just do it!”

But Jake just laughed and said he could handle it himself. No problem. He politely disobliged my offer. My mother-in-law’s gimlet eyes murdered her husband where he stood. But how could I go over his head? A consensus was required in this situation.

But now my mother-in-law is dead. And Jake is dying.

My mother-in-law passed away a few months ago, and my wife and I have moved in with Jake, so we can help him as his own health fails. Now that I live in his house, I’ve been able to discover where he hides his receipt book. I’ve been sneaking it out from time-to-time, and organizing a set of books for him. Or actually, for my wife, so that she can file his final tax return after he dies.

Jake owns a number of rentals in our town. He notes in his receipt book how much each tenant pays, whenever they pay the rent. But something in these records is not adding up. It appears that sometimes his tenants are getting away with not paying the rent. And there is one renter who appears to have never paid rent.

Is this guy who always claims he doesn’t cheat the IRS, lying to us? Is he really taking rent money under the table?

My wife delicately broached the subject with her dying dad. He assertively denied that he would ever allow any renter get away with not paying the rent, and he definitely affirmed that he claims all of his income.

It’s taken us a while, but we are starting to put two-and-two together. Here’s what we suspect is going on:

About five years ago, my wife confronted Lisa at the bingo hall. She shouted at her,over the heads of a startled crowd, calling her a bitch, whore and slut. Lisa was shocked. She thought they had been friends. Almost family.

But my wife was responding to something one of her bingo friends told her. She had reported to my wife that Lisa was bragging to people at the bingo hall that one day she was going to inherit a lot of property from Jake, and be rich.

Lisa has rented from Jake for over twenty years. We’ve always suspected Jake was having an affair with her. And Lisa is the one who appears to not have ever paid rent.

I snuck into his tax records. Based on these records, it appears that Lisa really has been paying rent. But based on the receipt book, Lisa really hasn’t. So what is Jake up to?

The best we can figure out is that Jack is underreporting income from some of his rentals, and applying that underreported rental income to the rental that Lisa lives in. So Jake is not really cheating the IRS. He’s claiming all of his income, and dutifully paying all of his taxes. But he’s also weaving a complex web of duplicity, to hide his affair with Lisa. And he’s has apparently done this for many years, hoping to fool his wife.

I doubt she was fooled. Now I understand why she was so eager to have me take over the bookkeeping. She knew I’d start asking some uncomfortable questions.

Jake is not a tax cheat. Jake is a wife cheat.

Hospice Tales

Tale #1

My grandmother was 93 years old and in failing health. Her doctor told her to choose between moving into a rest home or moving in with family members. She could no longer live alone.

She chose to move in with my wife and me. We nursed her back to health, and she did okay for a few years. But then the unrelenting dissipating effects of aging regained control, and her life course headed downhill again.

One day my wife rushed her to the emergency room over some sort of ache or pain that Grandma grew panicky about. The doctor at the emergency room scolded her. “You’re old!” he declared. “We can’t help you here, and you’re taking up space we need to use for those we CAN help.”

He gave her a choice. Either a rest home or hospice. She chose hospice.

For the next two months hospice workers visited our house every day like cheerful little gray ghosts. They took away her life-sustaining medication and replaced it with various kinds of pain alleviators.

My grandmother became tabescent and weak. First she could no longer walk to the living room and watch TV. Then she could no longer make the journey to the bathroom. Finally she could no longer stand, and was completely confined to her bed.

Two months after entering hospice she died at the age of 96. Her official cause of death was congestive heart failure. And to be fair, her death cart had been coasting downhill for quite a few years, due to this disease.

But it seems hospice got behind that cart and gave it quite a hard shove, accelerating it over the inevitable precipice, plunging her into the next world.

Tale #2

About ten years ago my mother-in-law felt out of breath. She was diagnosed with emphysema. Or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), as they call it these days. She immediately quit smoking, but it was too late. There’s no cure for COPD.

She spent the rest of her life tethered to a thin, translucent tube attached to an oxygen concentrator.

Death from COPD is death by suffocation. It’s as if something is wrapped around your chest and every day it very gradually, imperceptibly tightens. It’s kind of like being attacked by an anaconda that’s in no hurry to finish off its prey.

About six weeks ago the suffocation effect became unbearable for my suffering mother-in-law. It made her too tired to sit up for very long. But laying down made the effect worse.

Finally she asked for hospice.

In the fading light of a December evening, my mother-in-law sat at the dining room table with her family and a hospice worker. We helped her understand and answer the questions the hospice worker asked, as she conducted the initial interview. My mother-in-law’s spirit was up. She was very happy to go through with this process. She eagerly signed the paperwork. And this 87-year-old woman who was so loved by her family, and who had lived such a long, good life, cheerfully told the hospice worker, “I’m looking forward to my picnic in heaven.”

The hospice worker handed my wife an amber bottle of pills. She said, “When she feels anxious, give her two of these every six hours.”

The hospice worker departed at 5:45 that evening.

At 2:30 the next morning my mother-in-law writhed in bed, wracked by the suffocation effect of COPD. She felt very anxious. She was given two of the anxiolytics from the amber bottle. Then she was left to fall asleep.

At 7:00 in the morning she was found dead in her bed.

It appears that hospice completed its work very swiftly, in my mother-in-law’s case. And we all hope she is now enjoying her picnic in heaven.

A Breezy Day. 1887. Charles Courtney Curran.
A Breezy Day. 1887. Charles Courtney Curran.

Tail End?

My father-in-law is now without the partner he has known and lived with for 65 years. He doesn’t like living alone, so my wife and I are moving in with him. We are putting our house up for sale. We plan to give my father-in-law the company he craves until his turn comes to join his wife at the picnic in heaven.

But his house requires a few renovations. For one thing, we’re pulling up the carpet that pets have been shitting on for the past 40 years, and replacing it with floor tile. We want to live in sanitary conditions.

Also, our house needs to be fixed up a little before we can put it on the market.

It’s all a bit much for this old curmudgeon. I’ve been missing quite a few naps. And I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up with my idle-time pursuits. Something has to give.

I’ve decided that one of the things I’ll be sacrificing is social media. I just don’t have much time for it any more. So this will be my last post for a long time. Maybe forever.

I have enjoyed WordPress, and will miss my blogging buddies. I can’t name all of you, but will say that I’ll sure miss Gibber, Elyse, Smilecalm, Joan, Joan, Joanne, Nancy, GP Cox, Victo, X, Bitter Ben, and, and, well hell, all of you. I may occasionally have a few minutes to stop by and comment on your posts, but don’t count on it.

I’ll keep this blog open for perusal (for those who have no life). And I might return. Or I might not. Unicorns run in many different directions, so who knows where the chase will lead me. But I’m not yet completely prepared to say that this is the end of my blog.

That day may come, but for now I guess it’s not yet time to hand this thing over to hospice.

Unicorn mosaic on a 1213 church floor in Ravenna, Italy.
Unicorn mosaic on a 1213 church floor in Ravenna, Italy.