Death and Taxes? I can’t do much about either. After having authored five books on cemeteries, I’ll take on death.
I’m living on borrowed time. Let me explain.
I was born smack-dab in the middle of the last century (yes, I’m one of those ding-dang baby boomers you’re all sick of hearing about). According to the people who calculate such things, the worldwide life expectancy for someone born around 1950 runs about 53 years. I’m over 53. Quite a bit, actually, so I’m sort of beating the odds. I’m living on borrowed time. I’m not sure whose time I’m borrowing, but statistically it is probably some hapless soul in a third-world country who expired in their 30’s or 40’s.
I have a number of friends in the insurance business. Their primary mission is to compensate me should fate deal me a low blow. To provide this service they extract scheduled fees from me. I’m fine with that. It makes my gait a bit lighter knowing I’ll be taken care of should I make a misstep or be the recipient of someone’s misstep. They’ll even protect me from Acts of God. Thunderbolts. Floods. That sort of thing.
But what I find a bit worrisome is these folks also sell something called term (as in terminal) life insurance. They are gambling with MY LIFE! Literally they are betting when I’m going to die. As a matter of fact, the profitability of their business depends on how accurately they predict when the grim reaper will arrive at my doorstep.
I confronted my friend Joni Ginno with this information. She is one of many here in Chico who are willing to bet on my life. Joni is an elegant woman with kind eyes an easy smile. She certainly doesn’t look like the gambling sort, but that’s precisely what she does. Joni sharpened her penciled and asked me a series of personal questions including my family’s longevity (good), my consumption of broccoli (bad) and my exercise habits (spotty). She then informed me that I will drop dead on St. Valentine’s day 2038, at PRECISELY 89.66 years of age. I can bet on that and she will too. Considering the current United States male life expectancy of around 75 years, that’s pretty good news. But there is something even better.
Joni Ginno wants me to live!
Joni’s company takes a substantial hit every time someone perishes before their projected expiration date. Her company relies on people like me to take up the slack. They have a substantial investment in keeping me alive and paying premiums. Joni is actually concerned about my welfare. She’d like me to avoid skydiving, bull fighting, NASCAR racing and excursions to Libya. When I see her at the Chico Noon Rotary meeting, where we are both members, she steers me towards the salad bar. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that a few months back, with one eyebrow raised and notepad and sharpened pencil in hand, she asked me if I was planning any “adventures”. Hmmmm?
Although I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, as I move into my dotage I have noticed a penchant to dabble in the resolution process a little more vigorously. I’ve also noticed that my resolutions tend to be more longevity centric. In deference to Joni’s lugubrious predictions, I’ll resolve to do things like exercise more, eat healthier (except for broccoli) and worry less.
It’s now some months past New Years and I have to admit I’ve not been particularly diligent about adhering to my resolutions. However there is one New Years resolution where I’m batting 1000: I’ve resolved to live forever. So far, so good.