May 22, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on May 21, 2018

I went to Facebook again for the first time in quite a while. One of the first posts I saw was by A.W., posted just four hours earlier: a photo of a baby, and an announcement of the birth of his and H.’s newborn son, B., who had arrived on Wednesday May 16. Also on my “front page,” a post from R.R. about his father. It struck a historical note, so I clicked through on R.’s profile – and indeed his father had died on Tuesday May 15, something R. announced on Facebook the next day. I commented on neither post, sticking to my guns to remain “invisible,” as it were. But there it was, in the feed: life and death.

R.’s father was merely 74, and I have to say that put a chill in my heart. W. will be xx-years old this summer. Seventy-four is within easy viewing distance, even without glasses. At some point, there’s not enough myopia in the world to keep death in anything but sharp focus. I guess that’s why we become “far-sighted” later in life, so the stuff that’s close-up gets blurry (and ignorable). A. and H. (the new parents) – they can’t see the far-off future of their new baby. They’re focused, I would guess, on the close-up fact of his having popped into their lives. We older people see the future – at least in terms of simple mortality and what that entails – but we develop presbyopia. The closer that event moves into our present, the more out of focus it becomes.

Today, Monday morning, it’s cold and rainy. The heat wave of last week is a memory, like it maybe, or maybe not, happened. I will know from my energy bill that it happened, I suppose.

W. has a 9a.m. appointment with the dentist today. On Thursday evening, at dinner (which was take-out as it was way too hot to cook), he bit down on something hard. At first he thought it was in the food, but when I looked at it, I said, “It looks like a tooth – or a part of one.” Which is exactly what it was. The only dental work he’s ever needed was a small crown for a tooth that had developed a minuscule crack, and now the crown has come off. The dentist’s office was closed on Friday, hence this morning’s appointment. So the tooth and now the appointment are further proof that last week’s heatwave happened (fine, I shouldn’t blame the take-out food, but I’m linking it to the crown popping off anyway).

And it’s furthermore an indication of mortality, or at least wear-and-tear, the kind that comes with aging. It’s not the kind of baby tooth loss that newborn B. will experience when he loses his baby teeth. In the latter case, the loss of a tooth – also a crown, in a sense, since it’s capping a fresh bud underneath, one which has to erupt and emerge – is a milestone toward maturation. If a piece of tooth (or an artificial crown) pops off an already matured person’s tooth, it is manifestly not a sign of further maturation. Except maturation unto death, which is kind of how W. took it. Put him in a right cross mood, it did.

So, yesterday: still nice weather, but me basically stir crazy all day. Around 5:00p.m., I finally said, “I’m going for a drive.” Up Rt.127, we stopped at Manchester-by-the-Book. On the way home, we picked up a pizza. After dinner, reading, reading, reading: lots of articles online. Waste of time in some ways, although I did learn about Canadian psychologist and prof., Jordan Peterson. That was interesting. Things will fracture. Also read about monopoly consolidation in the hospital “industry” (insurance, pharma, etc.) and how that’s screwing us over.

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