I went over to Costco Monday to pick up groceries, pills and stuff like that. The doc turned me on to a half month's supply of Plavix, which was pretty cool considering the stuff goes for over three bucks a hit, and you can't even turn a profit selling it off on the black market. The thing he gave me was some cardboard folder, cheerfully entitled Your Heart Attack Recovery Kit. It was filled with informative literature, a plastic card for the pills, and one of those government/insurance company printouts only slightly smaller than the Sunday Times: one of those oversized pages for which you need a microfiche reader, a law degree, and a doctorate in pharmacology to decipher. I think the purpose of the thing is to say, in essence, that if you kick the bucket from taking this shit it ain't their fault. Fine with me. Risk is my middle name.
But what got me was the picture on the front of the cardboard folder. It showed all these happy, glowey, and full of life seniors grinning away, as they no doubt contemplated Club Med Vacations, golf games, tri-athalons, or at least being able to live long enough (thanks to the Plavix) to blow all their money before their Gen-X grandkids could get hold of it. Still they looked like a bunch of old farts, and I found it somewhat galling to be taking old fart type pills, instead of some cooler drug like Vicodin, or Oxycontin which at least has a decent resale value should I run short of cash in the middle of the month. I mean hell- I'm only...
Oh, shit, yeah. That's right. Fifty-six.
But I had to wait for the prescription to get filled, so I pushed the SUV sized shopping cart around the warehouse grabbing the various items essential to life in the world as we know it. All of it in slightly embarrassing quantities. Thirty rolls of paper towels. The forty-five roll pack of toilet paper. Ninety six pounds of laundry soap. A side of beef, three little pigs, and a barnyard's worth of dismembered chicken parts neatly sealed in plastic blisters. I don't buy cat food at Costco, however. They have these fifty pound bags of stuff that I think they import from North Korea, or somewhere, and I hate the thought of feeding Booger the Cat, and Crabby Old Sam on recycled political prisoners, and toxic waste.
I paid a visit to the electronics section. Not a good idea. I don't even want a giant flat screen TV, despite the demo discs showing how realistic shit blowing up looks in high definition. They had some new desktop computers, but my four year old Sony PC works just fine.
They have the Canon EOS digital Rebel 14mp SLR, with choice of lenses... I don't need it, can't afford it, and I know that my life is incomplete without it. I had to take it off the shelf, hold it, and pretend to look through the viewfinder at the imagined perfect shot that won't present itself to me until I break down someday and buy the damn thing. I considered how much better my timeless portrait of the Loch Ness Rabbit would have come out if only I had the thousand dollar Canon instead of the three hundred dollar Minolta. Greatness and fame were just a credit card swipe, and a signature away... Forget it. Get back to the pharmacy; get your boring damn pills, and go home.
But I had to stop and look for a second. A few people were checking out some new gizmo on some new laptop computer which I needed only slightly less than the camera. And whatdoyaknow. What they were checking out was a camera- one mounted right in the middle of the laptop lid. You could flip the computer open, and see your digital image right there in real time, live on your own private TV network.
I had to look. Bad mistake. Very bad.
We all of us look at ourselves in the mirror every day, and since we see ourselves every day we are seldom surprised by what we see. After all, your reflection at five in the afternoon isn't significantly older than the one you saw at seven that morning. But what we are used to seeing reflected in the mirror is just that- a mirror reflection, a reversed image, backward typeface version of ourselves. The image on the laptop screen was not a reflection. It was my face just as everyone else sees it. Right was right, and left was left, and the effect was startling as a son of a bitch. Talk about the old farts on the Plavix folder- Cripes, I should hope to look so good. Who was this dismal old bastard staring back at me? This computer wasn't worth a shit, I decided. No way I need it.
I got my pills, paid for the groceries, and got the hell out of there.
But today brought a brighter note. I had to go and do a treadmill test this morning at the cardiologist's. No sweat. I fried the thing. Actually did better than I did a year and a half ago. So all those grinning idiots on the Plavix folder can eat their hearts out. So what if trick photography made them look all glowey, and young. I'm sure I could kick their butts.