Boomers: part 1
By Harvey Blume.
He lay there watching names scroll by in his head. Credits on screen, white on black background.
Names. He thinks of names of dogs he had known, also cats, goats, ex-lovers. Most things ex by now, most everything ex. Ex-bladder control. Ex-cardiac tissue. Ex-brain cells.
Do living neurons hold silent services for fallen colleagues? Do they rush to rescue each particle of memory now hurtling toward oblivion? Brain cells feel no pain—except for that of other cells. Fatalities down below excite them. They are like hired wailers at a funeral.
Who the hell would wail at his? Soon he’d be wholly ex-himself. But not yet. Do not go gently. Go noisily. Go fiercely. Why should not old men be mad? They should be altogether furious. Exeunt angrily. Maximize gnashing of remaining teeth.
He thought back on the ’60s. Affinity groups. Red bandannas. Who was around now from those days? Nobody. Everybody ex or scattered. Don’t trust anyone under 80. Don’t trust anyone under 90. Kill your grandchildren. Exterminate your great-grandchildren.
Last Picture Show
So who could he recruit?
Would he scour nursing homes for cadre?
Behind the advancing dementia of every nonagenarian, there lurked a threat. In the mind of every Alzheimer’s patient, alongside the fading sense of what a toilet bowl was for, there festered only one unforgiving thought, one marvelously energizing unrelenting grudge.
But what exactly was it? Where did it go? This could get to be a problem for your senior terrorist. Where the hell were they supposed to trigger that thing, strapped to their middle like an outer colon? You couldn’t have nonagenarians just doddering around until they detonated, anytime, anywhere, just because they forgot not to.
Or maybe you could. Maybe that’s exactly what you wanted.
Respect your elders.
Give them free kidney transplants, livers, organs and hearts. Not to mention pacemakers and defibrillators.
Give them catheters and teeth. Change their sheets, scrub them, and by no means stint when it comes to painkillers. Get the meds quick! Schnell! Stat! Rasch! Now! Even the ones with no health insurance.
Especially the ones with no health insurance!
They are the one you really want to worry about, the ones you really want to mollify.
Never honk at them as they cross in slow motion when the light turns green. Don’t dare rush them when they count out at pennies at the checkout counter. For them buying a tomato is as complicated as a mortgage, a home equity loan, a preferred stock. Never scold them for sampling produce at the supermarket. They’re sucking on grapes? Offer them fruit salad. They’re gnawing on a bun? Present lox.
Stroke. The more they drool, the more they stutter, the more macular degeneration, the more aphasia, the more arthritis, the more dangerous they are. Because, remember, what is freedom just another word for?
Renal failure, emphysema, thrombosis, brain damage, angina, osteoporosis, and suppurating skin ulcers on your butt.
Suicide bombing was yet another precious gift wasted on the young. Kids were innovators, sure. That’s their job, why we have them. But the withered, hobbled, and penniless are the natural practitioners. That’s where the idea goes viral, global, world-historical.
Dynamite costs less than chemotherapy.
Clinical trials show less confusing results.
He, knew, as he lay there, he wasn’t much ahead of the curve. If the thought was curling through what was left of his neural endowment, it was edging through the plaque and debris in the stroked-out minds of others.
Old people unite. You have nothing to lose but . . . what? Your tumor? Your right-sided paresis with radiating pain and a lousy prognosis? Do you want to hold onto your suffering, your loneliness, your deterioration? Rise from your wheelchairs. Cast off those crutches. Do society a favor: Save it from teens. Seize the time. Better senescence than adolescence.
Simply put: Blow.
Raw material wasn’t a big problem. In a pinch there was always the gasoline/barbiturate cocktail. You burst into flame right as you nod out. You’re a fireball in a stupor.
But first, he’d have to get the wrist restraints off.
Then sneak past the attendant who came once maybe twice a year to see if he’d pissed himself, before tossing him around like a medicine ball, while changing the sheets.
Then he’d slink by the nurses. Shouldn’t be hard. They were usually too involved in their linguistic experiments to take notice. The Russian blondes and the West Indian blacks were forging a Russo-Caribbean lingo that was totally unintelligible to patients. It was all Navaho to him, anyway.
. . .