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The Fine Print on Forty

Nobody asks about 39. Nobody.

Nobody says a thing.

Because 1) nobody cares if you’re thirty-seven, eight or nine.  And 2) thirty-nine is still the picture of health. Albeit the last picture. Which is why it makes sense to hang on to thirty-nine as long as you can. Another few years or so.

Because when you’re forty, your parts are suddenly guaranteed to expire. And people suddenly care about these expiring parts, even if you don’t.

During my routine eye appointment on Friday for the sake of a new batch of contacts, it was obvious I should have brought with me my will to revise and a witness to verify my signing it.

“Now that you’re forty,” the eye doc repeated, “things are a little different.”

I winced.  At which point he monologued about cataracts and glaucoma and colonoscopies, such that I was certain I would wake up with both on Saturday.  Or Sunday, at the latest. Not including the colonoscopy.

I had not planned to spend more than the advertised amount for my eye exam, but being forty and understandably weak, I succumbed to the “optional” eye scan, which would rule out any eye disease and, in the hearing of such news, bring my pulse back to something that wouldn’t keep sounding like the ocean in my ears.


With the confirmation that my parts are still ticking, I managed to walk out of the office with just the help of my two, forty-year-old legs. And my newly poked and shined-in forty-year-old eyes.

But just barely.


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