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Feature Story December 25, 2007
 
The eXile Guide to Aging
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
 

Look down at your hand. Flex the tendons, watch them ripple under the skin. What a nice design! So silent and quick. That's what they never get in these cyborg movies: the fact that a really good design doesn't whirr and clank. It's silent and quick, like bodies are. Like yours. Yours, these sinews; and that long, stretchable leg, genital toy, brave shoulders, stubborn toes, a zoo of perfect forms and all yours for the price of admission.

There's only one little flaw: you are trapped in the body of a dying animal. In fact, you can see how far gone you are just by testing the skin of that hand of yours. Try pinching the skin on the back of your hand. Now let it go. Count the seconds it takes to smooth itself out. The longer it takes, the older your skin is.

"Let

"Let's face it honey. It wasn't anywhere near worth it."

And here's a really cheering bit of news: your skin, the largest organ in your body, is also the organ which ages most slowly. So however depressing it may be to look at the skin of your hand wearily resuming its proper shape, you can make yourself feel even worse by remembering that things are much, much worse on the inside. Your liver, your lungs, your heart, your joints -- all the things you can't see are decaying much faster than your skin.

When you first see your skin dying, you assume there's a quick fix: what's that stuff, rototonin or something? You rub it on and your skin youngs up. But it's expensive, embarrassing, and only works for a while. You forget to put it on, and the wadis of your skin deepen. Meanwhile, the last fringe of hair has vanished from the Sahel of your forehead, your eyebrows begin to look Brezhnevian, your back is hairier than a tarantula's, and your breasts are bigger than your wife's.

There's been a mistake. Someone screwed up the design, with malicious intent. Can you sue Darwin? Can you negotiate an exit from this dying animal? Apparently not. What are we, mere medieval peasants, serfs? Absolutely.

It gets worse. Aging is drying; the cells get scaly, reptilian, sagging like Iguana-hide. It's not so droll anymore. It invades your dreams: quick cuts of teeth crumbling and hair shedding like an old dog's ass, in close-ups that scare you awake.

That cough takes more and more effort to ignore; the phlegm is thicker by the day, and you get used to hacking more and more violently, just to dislodge the layer of Elmer's Glue which has somehow ringed your esophagus. Your trusted body has decided to shift production, radically cutting back on sex hormones while increasing supplies of frogspawn mucus.

For a year or so, it hurts to see women flinch when you hack onto the sidewalk. But like all the little shames of age, it's too constant to pamper. And as decay accelerates, the habit of spitting in oncoming pedestrians' path becomes a small, vindictive pleasure. The hack and spit become a political statement. Heck, they have to: like all the pitiful consolation prizes of aging, you take them because you can't turn them down.

Aging is shrinking: cells wink out and you're literally a smaller person than you were. You're a walking brownout. Dead muscle, never to be replaced, is squeezed through your increasingly inefficient anus. In a typical Darwinian joke, the dead cells are processed into hard, unfriendly turds which sandpaper the anus until you grow a little grape-cluster of hemorrhoids. Nature is efficient, and never smacks you once when it can whack you twice.

"And then Harry Potter used his strength to...aw hell, I can

"And then Harry Potter used his strength to...aw hell, I can't go


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Browse author
dolan@exile.ru
 
 
FROM THE VAULT
McCainiac
Charting McCain's Presidency :

Party Players :

Northern Ill. University Massacre: A Story of Bleakness & Madness :

COMBED OVER!!! :
 

 
 
 
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