Friday, May 23, 2014

The Senior as Daredevil Extraordinaire

At an earlier age milestone, I posed to my lifelong childhood friend Mary the idea that when we were presented with the ultimate bad news by some doctor, end news as it were, we could then take up all the dangerous thrill pursuits we had always avoided. This was my vision of the ultimate loop hole. She understood immediately why I'd come up with this idea. We'd both gone to the same Catholic schools right through high school and there would be no Dr. Kevorkian clone for either of us as suicide is taboo to Catholics (even though I have been lapsed since age 19).

Mary just emailed me about her bum hip. My sister is about to have her throat slit in neck surgery. I am running behind on medical appointments not from lack of diligence but simply because I have so many conditions that I can't keep up with all of them plus the screenings and tests for catching something else early.

So I thought it was time to revisit the idea. If one of these medical hotshots tells me I have Alzheimer's or the cancer reoccurs in say a stage IV, what hobby could I take up which might kill me with a lot more panache? Timing, as they say, is everything. Instead of a pathetic exit, I could have a positively pyrotechnical one!

Thus, it was back to trusty Google to do searches on the ultimate hobby for such a situation. One big help is that the life insurance companies have listed all sports and hobbies which will void your life insurance because they are considered too risky. I immediately found a totally insane sport, Heli-skiing, which qualifies. I didn't even know it existed!

This sport seems to have it all. I am a lousy skier. I can do it but I am terrible and that was before I had bad knees. The minute I set off down the mountain, I would undoubtedly set the avalanche off. I see one potential problem though. If that helicopter can't set down and instead I am expected to be dropped from the plane to the mountain, my fear of heights will make it impossible for me to do so. Short of someone's throwing me out of the helicopter, I will be paralyzed with vertigo.

Big Wave surfing is the next possibility. There are actually people who travel around the world searching for these big waves so as to surf them. On the plus side, I am a good swimmer so I might be able to get out to the wave. Unfortunately, I do not know how to surf and with my bad knees I am a terrible candidate for learning how to surf. I doubt I would even be able to stand up on the board in the water. But talk about panache, this looks great!

Bull Running

In this potentially fatal sport, my knees would actually be working for me as I would not be able to outrun the bulls. However, I imagine a bull goring is extremely painful.  If it did not kill you, the surgery, pain and recovery would be an unbelievable hell.

I then looked at the list as a whole:

Cheerleading? We don't have football or hockey on the list but instead cheerleading?! What in the hell...... I return to Google searching and learn this:

Need I state the obvious? No one is going to recruit me to a cheerleading squad.

This is really beginning to seem hopeless. I give Google one more chance to show me the way. What I uncover gives me pause, for it seems the most likely way for me to die in an accident is in a car crash and increasingly death by cell phone user. Oh, the irony of it!

I read further that Transportation Engineers estimate that 120 die daily in America from vehicle related crashes. This is the equivalent of having four major airline disasters a week.

I guess I better table this idea. Everything I unearth is actually worse than being given the bad medical news in the first place. But it sure would have been great being a daredevil for once, when it no longer mattered. But now I have a far worse prospect ahead of me than dreaded medical pronouncements: my eulogy could actually have as its most salient point that I was killed by my most sworn deadly enemy: a cell phone abuser.

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