Living Out Loud: : Trying to Figure it all Out

Life's unanswered questions

I'm 50 years old and a diabetic. I smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and eat food I shouldn't. For whatever reason, all this upsets my doctor. She says I'm killing myself.

My argument is yes, I have diabetes and I have to live with it — but the illness has to live with me, too. I've made some modifications. I take my insulin, and I'm mostly a good guy about it. But hell, I'm gonna live my life and have some fun. My doctor just shakes her head.

Having said that, I woke up a few mornings ago and started thinking about my mortality.

Surely everything I'm doing to myself will not enable me to live to be 100 and maybe I should start thinking about making plans for "the end."

Perhaps most people would start thinking about a will or start to get financial affairs in order. I'm not like most people. On that morning, I became obsessed with what my tombstone will be like.

I don't want it to say my name ­ BORN "whenever", DIED "whatever." If I'm in the ground, you already know I'm dead. That's boring. I want my tombstone to be thought provoking and I want people looking at it to answer some questions for me that I haven't been able to figure out in my lifetime. You never know; maybe I'll be able to listen.

Yes, it will be a series of questions ­ something like:

· Why did I buy bananas at the grocery store every week, just to watch them rot in the fruit bowl?

· Why was I the only person in the world who didn't love Lucy?

· Being a self proclaimed non-racist, why did I have so few black friends?

· I know I was pretty much a screw-up in my adult life, but look at my beautiful daughter and great son. Golly, did I do something right?

· Is it better to be dead in the ground than be forced to eat a cheese coney from Skyline?

· How come Mullane's closed?

· For a person who kept saying he would never marry again, why did I keep hoping to find someone I could really care for and be with?

· Why the hell is that godawful Cin Weekly still in publication?

· Why does sex fuck up friendships?

· How come Republicans never learn from their mistakes?

· Why couldn't I go to downtown Cincinnati and see a movie?

· Why was popcorn so popular but we never bothered to pop other vegetables? Is it possible to pop a pea? A butter bean?

· Why did the one person I love more than anybody in the world, my grandfather, have to die on my 12th birthday?

· Would life have been less funny without Woody Allen?

· Why did so many people in my life think I was gruff and why did I pretend to give a rat's ass?

· Why in this world of all things good and sacred would Bonnie Franklin, a so-called actress, be given her own television sitcom? And don't get me started on Dick Van Patten or Dick Clark.

· How come my parents never told me that they loved me and why did it take me so long to tell my own kids?

· Why the hell are you in the middle of a graveyard reading this stuff? Go live your life before it's too late. Jesus, look at me ­ I'm dead!

Either my tombstone will be small with real tiny print, or it will be 12 feet high. I haven't decided yet.

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