Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Burden on Society

I never thought I’d be looked at as a burden on society at the age of sixty six but it seems the day has dawned. After putting hundreds of dollars a month into my social security (that’s right, mine) fund since 1965, the year I worked a summer camp and discovered I was not actually making what I thought I was making because somebody said I needed to “put something aside”, I now find that my “benefactor”, Uncle Sam and my future caregivers, the ones that can manage to get through nursing school, are slowly coming around to the idea that I just might be a burden.

Scary thought because I don’t see myself as that, having contributed to my fund for so many years and now reaping the benefits thereof. But I hear bits and pieces coming from youthful sources that seem to be saying, “If it weren’t for these old folks, we’d have all we need!” Well, yes and no. See, we old folks are currently providing untold millions of dollars to the economy through health care in the form of Depends, cholesterol meds, chronic joint juices, hearing aids, plastic surgery, (did I mention insurance premiums?) and dental implants (thank you Dr. Argo you are fantastic!).

And that is just the tip of the surgical knife. There’s also the multitude of drug peddlers pushing products that don’t work. They’re raking in the cash off those of us too ignorant to know the difference between incontinence and large continents, not to mention the Cialis/Levitra/Viagra crowd intent on using memory enhancing pills designed to improve performance when most have forgotten what it was they were to perform. And speaking of working or not, young folks need to do that to keep me in my social security. There is nothing better than a good hard day spent in toil to make one’s self-esteem rise and since we are all about self-esteem with the youngsters, let em work! Plus it’s good for the soul and seldom has a negative effect.

The sad thing to me is, as I consider my peers, I see many of them suffering from what are known as hypokinetic diseases. I call them the “couch potato diseases” because we seem to have a tendency to acquire them when we sit around too much. Heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain and other ailments drive a health care industry from which the young folks are deriving benefits. If we stopped sitting on the coach after work, they just might lose money in the form of fewer jobs. Sitting on the couch after work decreases the body’s demand for energy and it responds by providing less of the thing we need. I’m tired after work so I don’t give away energy and I don’t give away energy because I’m tired after work. Sadly, this is a “catch twenty two”.

Whew! Makes me tired just writing this stuff. Movement requires energy and energy is like love, the more we give it away, the more it returns. So, for instance, when you are bedridden in a hospital your energy level drops considerably but after a few days of recuperation at home it returns. This would be considered a low level of energy for sure but never the less the same is true of higher levels. Our bodies crave movement, we digest food better when we move, we create endorphins when we move and all manner of other good stuff that makes us feel good.

 I have to be honest here and confess I’ve not contributed much to the over-all wealth and self-esteem of our young people. Through continuous exercise, walking, and the blessed recumbent cycle, I have managed to stay healthy and away from pharmaceuticals for lo these many years. Walking, by the way, is the one word you will not hear on an infomercial espousing exercise machines. It’s free, requires only a pair of shoes, unless at the beach, and the will to do it. It’s probably the best way we have as old folks of keeping money out of the hands of the young.