It's 2014, and everything on my poor old body is hurting.
Even the dawning of a new and beautiful day over our L.A. mountain village of Topanga is so bright and intense that the glare hurts my eyes. I can feel it in back of my pupils and down the sides of my face, a sensation that makes me want to rub and scratch. I hate scratching.
I told my wife Cinelli that this might happen if I cleaned the window of my writing room that overlooks our acre of oak trees. I said that the morning would come pouring in through the dirt-free glass because the window faces east and that's where the morning lives.
"Nonsense," she said. "Your window is so dirty you can't see the yard at all now. You could be looking north or even south, or up or down or..."
"All right, all right," I said, and cleaned the window with a new spray that one of the TV hawkers sells as he screams into your face. Now the window glistens and I'm going blind.
When I say everything hurts this first day of a new year it's because I'm 84 and becoming conscious of the fact that I'm getting old. OK, that I am old. I've already gotten there. Age sneaked up on me when I wasn't looking. The night before, I'd dreamed that I had gone dancing. Well, jumping I guess they call it now. They just stand in place and jump up and down, never touching, never hopping out of their space. Two-stepping is passé. Now it's just jump, baby, jump.
My legs began hurting after the dream, and my toes too. My arms and shoulders ultimately became involved and then my behind. I think it was my attempt to twerk that caused pain to my butt. Twerking is not for those over 15. It even makes my fingers tingle.
But so what?
I said to myself, Me, 84? Can't be. I was just 42 yesterday. I remember looking out my dirty window and cursing the discomforts of aging. That's a word my doctors use. Not that whatever they're doing might hurt like hell, but that it might cause me some "discomfort". Close your eyes if you'd like. Screaming is optional.
Happy New Year, anyhow. I can bear the pain for the additional time it offers. Before I can blink, I'll be 85 and then 86 and who knows? Whatever hurts, I will ignore. I will keep on pecking at the keys of my computer, thanking God and Steve Jobs that the machine is still working.
And then I will look out through my glistening window at the affirmations of life all around me, in the trees, the flowers and the very sky, and thank Bill Gates, too, along with other gods, for allowing me to bring these few words to you. And then, only then, will I smile.
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