The Cocktail For The Ages.

“I want a busy life, a just mind, and a timely death.”
Zora Neale Hurston

I am going to employ a standard rhetorical device called paralipsis by saying it is unnecessary to state the obvious (but do it anyway). The Boomer Generation is retiring, is getting out of the way, is moving on. Approximately 13% of the American population today is 65 or older and when the last of the boomers retire in 2030, 18% of our population will be older than 65. 10,000 Boomers are retiring every day and will for the next 19 years.

Steven M. Gillon, author of “Boomer Nation” described it this way, “The pig has moved through the python, and is moving to the final stage.”

Ah, the final stage. Various estimates suggest that nearly 30% of Medicare payments cover the cost of care for people in the last year of life. Whew! That’s a big number. Need more? 12% of Medicare spending is allocated for people who are in the last two months of their life. We will mortgage our future, borrow billions from China for medical care for the last 60 days of an individual’s life? Is that money well spent? Whatta waste! Gosh, we could be spending that on bombing Iran, or tanks or on something that goes “Atten-hut!” I jest. But I don’t when it comes to boomer end times.

In 1729 Jonathan Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal” in which he satirically recommended that impoverished Irish sell their children as food to rich gentleman and ladies. A tasty morsel of an idea, yes? Modest I suppose because he simply didn’t suggest “they” be ground-up and used as a natural fertilizer – to increase crop production to lessen the Irish famine. Nothing like a little 18th century Juvenalian satire to get the blood racing.

I have a modest recommendation for boomers but, unlike Swift, I am unequivocally sincere in my proposal. Ms. Hurston suggested of living that we experience “a timely death.” I recommend for my fellow boomers that we exit with dignity. Die with grace. On your own terms. Die at a moment of your choosing. Do it for yourself. Do so for your children and America.

One of the ironies of Alzheimers Disease is that when you have finally lost your marbles, you don’t give a damn about your dignity. Let alone for those who are now responsible for your welfare. You are reduced to walking vegetable matter and society is left caring for decaying fruit. That is a harsh but accurate assessment. You may select to experience that end, I will not.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to die as I have lived. With purpose, intent and in control. That may be an illusion (philosophical or otherwise) but it has been my modus operandi since it occurred to me that I was master of my own thoughts (age five or so).
I’ve considered the question of whether it is more tragic to die five minutes too soon or five minutes too late. Too late and you are a burden to children and country. Consider the “timely death.” It is an ethical choice.

I predict more and more boomers will choose a “timely death.” Do so with intent and prior to those last horrendous, humiliating and “costly” two months. Phenobarbital and whiskey. The cocktail for the Ages. Or, rather, for the aged. Skaal.