Why does Ed Denson get to eat hamburgers, french fries, and a milk shake and I don't? Why does Ed get to live for now, eat anything he wants, and I have to worry about the future? Unlike the rest of us nobodies Ed is a Somebody. When people were posting birthday greetings on his page recently I wanted to say, “Happy birthday Ed! Most likely local to get a New York Times obituary!” Ed probably would have chuckled but as he had a pretty bad cold at the time I restrained myself. (Last local to get a New York Times obit was Ed's neighbor Frank Cieciorka, the artist famous for his rebel fist. What is it about Alderpoint?)
Ed, pushing eighty, seems to be a junk food junkie as well as appreciator of all things culinary, from highbrow to low. Why do we like to put negative food value items, and downright unhealthy things, into our mouths, chew them up, and swallow? Let us examine the humble muffin: I eat the muffin and there is pleasure in that act. All the verboten ingredients like sugar, salt, fat, and even the maligned wheat coalesce in the mouth, the brain says hooray, and whoopie that was good! However ten minutes later can you even remember the experience, the taste, and the delightful swallowing?
No, it's gone. So if you can't live for the delectable treats the earth, and bakery, provides then where can you find your gustatory pleasure? I find it in my quarterly blood tests, the competitive quest to lower my fat and sugar numbers. That's where I get my fun now. For the last six months I've been on a diet of almost exclusively healthy foods including copious amounts of vegetables. Eating my medicinal salads, sauteed veggies, green drinks with beans and acceptable meats like chicken and turkey is very boring and I feel like a horse munching through those huge platters of vegetables. I was rewarded with my latest test results and often gaze at them proudly. (I have to say, or she will be pissed, that I couldn't have done it without my chef, who comes in once a week to cook mountains of horse food as a work/trade for rent.)
I'm scared. I just want to grow old with the least amounts of ailments as possible, and see how long I can go without taking drugs.
Like most of us I admire and respect Ed Denson. Ed became a lawyer at fucking sixty after many other colorful careers including manager of Country Joe and the Fish. He has been and is a tireless advocate for all of us out here in the outlaw regions. He lives life to the fullest and many depend on him as he tools thousands of miles to courthouses in his old Volvos over mountains and vales. He's always there for us with a phone call or a moment on the street.
A few years ago I stopped him on the sidewalk outside the credit union with a question. “Ed, if I'm over the limit and I hear the cops coming should I stay or should I go?”
“Well, you should get under the limit,” he said.
“No Ed, that's not going to happen,” I said.
“Then skedaddle,” he said. Sage advice. Skedaddle! I handed him twenty bucks. Another time I called him from the border after I thought Customs had found my cash stash and confiscated it. He gave me some long-distance advice and a few months later when I saw his Volvo out front of his law office I popped in and handed him a fifty. “Thanks Ed.”
Today I sign up for Medicare. (Yup, “the kid” is old.) Tomorrow Ed may finally be cut off from BLTs, Mexican Cokes, hamburgers, french fries, milk shakes, and double chocolate cake.
We will survive, until we don't.