“I’m not here for a necklace,” I’ll say. “I need a liver.”
I made the mistake of turning on the TV this morning. A news clip featuring ballet dancers from some new Broadway show.
It was a mistake because dancers always make me feel old. It’s a Catch 22 I guess. I love watching these beautiful creatures leaping in the air with their sinewy grace, but it makes me feel terrible about myself. And they got attitude. Damn, I know I never had the sinewy thing or the grace thing, but I at least had the attitude thing—for awhile. See how quickly they depress me.
I know what will cheer me up—The Who. Let me turn the radio dial to the classic rock station. Wait for it . . . Stones . . . Beatles . . . ah, there we go—My Generation . . . .
Roger Daltrey turned 72 this year and he’s still singing, “Hope I die before I get old.”
I turned 56 today and I guess this fact should make me feel better or at least ponder irony.
But what would really make me feel good is knowing that when I need a liver transplant (and I’m betting I will) that I won’t have to go to the hospital and get on one of those waiting lists. No, I’m rooting for science to be very timely with my arrival on the planet, like they were with polio (never got it—thanks science!).
When I need a new liver I want to be able to walk into the mall and go up to one of those teenage clerks who work at the cheap jewelry store where you can get your ears pierced right amongst the racks of peace sign necklaces. The teenager will see me looking at the peace sign necklaces and she will say, “They’re very retro.” I won’t smile.
“I’m not here for a necklace,” I’ll say. “I need a liver.” The teenager won’t smile either, but she will say, “Have a seat.” And then she’ll take out this big staple gun thing, like they use to pierce your ears, but this will be even bigger and more high tech.
“Lift up your shirt, I need to mark your skin.” I will lift my shirt and giggle as she draws on me with her El Marko. Then she will cock the big staple gun thing and press it up against my side. “Okay, hold still. This will sting a little, but only for a few seconds.”
And then with a simple “ka-chunk” of the staple gun thing, a new liver will have been implanted inside me.
And after I swipe my credit card and thank the liver-transplanting teenager, I will ask her directions to the nearest mall bar. “You can get beer or wine at the Burger Barn, but if you want liquor, you’ll have to go down to the Chinese place.”
So I guess that’s my birthday wish for my future—that at some point down the line, hopefully after much more self abuse, I will find myself wandering through a mall with my new liver intact, looking for that Chinese place that serves liquor.