Monday, April 8, 2019

Full Speed in Reverse
By Jack Bogut

            This idea isn’t original with me. The late George Carlin put the premise together, but the concept is intriguing. Consider this:
            Have you ever considered what it would be like if life itself was reversed?

            What if we were born as old as we would ever get? What if, from the time we came into this world, we just got younger and younger? Barring an accident or catastrophe, we would know exactly how long we had on earth and the time we would have to do the things we wanted to do. And if someone was blessed with a really old baby, it would be a thing of even greater joy. Can’t you hear it now?
            “Didja hear? The Masons had a 78 year old boy!”
            “78! Wow, our kids were only 64 and 66!”
            “Yup. Amazing. I love babies in their late 70’s or 80’s. You never know what they’re going to say or do!”

            What a concept: To be born old and weak and dependent, and to get younger and stronger every day. To be born aged and have nothing expected of us except to eat and drink and make messes and give advice and go to bed early and get up in the middle of the night to rattle around in the kitchen and make coffee and watch old movies on TV.
To be able to tell off-color jokes to the minister and, with a head shake, be forgiven.
To snore on airplanes and at concerts and wake up without apology or embarrassment.
To wear colors and patterns that don’t match and pants that are too short and rump-sprung chenille housecoats and bathrobes the size of blankets and go outside and wander around the yard in them.
            To be able to have spinach in our teeth and drool on our shirts and be affectionately forgiven. And to abruptly change the subject during boring conversations without offending anybody because they would know we would grow out of it as we got younger.
            Wouldn’t it be something to have a predictable, finite life? To know exactly how much time we have so that we could do everything we wanted to do with our lives without wasting a moment. To know that, barring an accident, things would just get better and better.
            And as we got younger and younger, we would retain all of our wisdom and become more and more wise until we reached our teens.
            Then we could revel in the joy of all those hormones as we became less and less responsible until finally, jabbering incessantly, say anything and everything on our minds in articulate gibberish.
We could take refuge in diapers and woobies and beds with sides on them and ultimately, crawl back in the womb and stay there, floating in perfect warmth and security while we did occasional somersaults, all the while getting smaller and smaller and more and more comfortable to our mothers until we were just a magnificent gleam in two people’s eyes that would simply burn until it flickered…
And went out.
            What a life to live.
            And what a way to leave!