During the three or four hours I spent last night at the emergency room (Don’t ask: You know I am forbidden by the Rules of Not Acting Old to talk about my health), I read a really great passage in a novel called In The Woods by Tana French that goes like this:
“We think about death so little, these days, except to flail hysterically at it with trendy forms of exercise and high-fiber cereals and nicotine patches……Now death is uncool, old-fashioned.”
Death is uncool: I love it! It’s absolutely true. Death is so not done these days that, unless your brain stem has been removed and you’re older than, say, 105, you can never ever admit that dying might lie somewhere in your future.
Death is more uncool than flabby jowls, more uncool than cellulite, more uncool even than wearing your pants belted just under your manboobs. Death is more uncool than driving a Lincoln, more uncool than talking about your gallbladder operation, more uncool than smoking cigars around the baby.
What’s more, dying is a deliberately uncool act, like walking into J.C. Penney and buying yourself a pair of gray plastic oxfords and wearing them with knee-high hose and a pair of culottes. I mean, how dare you be so clueless? Haven’t you heard of pilates? Super low calorie diets and red wine? Energy field healing? Seat belts? Dying: There’s no damn excuse!
If you want not to act old, you’ve got to behave as the young do — as if you’re going to live forever. But unlike the young, who can skip dinner and slam back six martinis and dance till five and then go to work at eight, you’ve got to drink nothing stronger than vitamin water and get at least seven hours sleep to feel as if you’re not going to drop dead right on the spot. But even a life that’s no longer worth living is better than death, the ultimate uncool.