LAST EVENING, in a perfectly good mood and with nothing in particular troubling me, I happened upon an article originally published in The Atlantic that had found its way to my web browser as something I would enjoy. (God knows how such a determination had been made; no doubt some robot had a hand, or rather a gear, in it.) The title alone—”Why I Hope to Die at 75″ —should have steered me away, but I was vaguely intrigued.
The 57-year-old author, a long-winded writer named Ezekiel Emanuel, laid out his reasons in far too many words. I won’t bore you here as he did me, but instead will sum up his point as succinctly as possible. According to Zeke, life after age 75 sucks and is not worth living. This is because the body ages and withers and sickens, vitality diminishes, libido suffers, and it’s all downhill from then on, blah blah, blah.
Zeke carefully explains that he is not planning to commit suicide when he turns 75, but will simply stop taking care of his body from then on. This means no more doctor visits, no treatments of any kind for any conditions or diseases he may get, no more exercising to stay fit, no more colonoscopies or dental visits. I guess he’ll start eating total garbage to speed along a heart attack.
Well guess what Zeke: many people would disagree with your take on living and dying. I’m one of them. As a painter my work keeps on improving, and I have no doubt that my best work lies ahead of me. At age 95, famed Belarusian painter Marc Chagall was the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. At age 76, Nelson Mandela, a black man, was elected president of South Africa. (Four years later he married his third wife.) Grandma Moses (real name Anna Mary Robertson) didn’t begin to paint until 76, and when she died hundreds of paintings later at 101, President Kennedy praised her work for “inspiring the entire nation.”
Okay, you get my point.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.