Remember when you’d get sick and some old codger would say ‘What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger.”?
That might be true with viruses and other annoying illnesses like the flu, but not so much with bear attacks and power tool accidents.
I always hated that saying because like most men (and my loving family will confirm), what I’m usually looking for is sympathy…and room service…and the TV remote. Not life advice.
But it does get you thinking about what MIGHT kill you.
Statistics will tell you that men die younger than women, not because women have a stronger internal system, but because men are more likely to do something stupid enough to kill themselves, thus skewing the numbers in women’s favour.
Darwin’s theory of evolution was probably right. It’s not the fittest but the most adaptable to change that survive. And men have a distinct disadvantage to women on that front. It’s called testosterone.
Testosterone is what drives men to prove they don’t need to adapt, or be safe, or make good judgement decisions.
This is particularly true of younger men….and oh, boy! Do they prove it!
When I was a kid, I really didn’t think about dying at all – that’s what old people did. When I was a bit older though, death-defying stunts became all too common, and I started to wonder what I’d do that would kill me.
I don’t think I ever deliberately pushed the boundaries of life and death, but I sure made the grim reaper sit up a few times.
It’s funny how your perception of how you’ll die changes as you age. When I was younger, I figured I’d go out in a blaze of glory strapped to a nuclear warhead and shot into a tanker full of fuel and the explosion would cause an earthquake and everyone would say ‘Wow, what an epic death!’.
Pretty stupid, eh? I mean, how would I get a hold of a nuclear warhead? Amazon wasn’t even invented yet.
After you’ve had a few close calls though, you figure that it’ll be something a lot less glamorous than nuclear warheads. Probably a chainsaw accident or alcohol poisoning would be more likely. Or an alcohol and chainsaw combination.
Now I’m beginning to understand that it’s not stupid testosterone-induced stunts, but what’s gonna go wrong with my internal system that’ll finally take me out.
I seem to be spending more time at doctor’s appointments than seeing if I can beat that freight train to the level crossing with my car.
I find myself comparing notes with my brothers about colonoscopies and cardiologist results, and discussing the benefits of eating kale and drinking 4 liters of water a day. I never thought we’d sit around comparing who had the most polyps.
I think my wife likes this change in me. She made this pact with me while I was asleep one night, that she had to ‘go’ first, so that she didn’t have to face old age alone. I don’t recall agreeing to any such pact, and I don’t think there’s much retribution if I renege on it.
It could be that all those stupid human tricks I did when I was younger really did make me stronger, since they didn’t kill me. I guess the old codger was right – what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Except for bears. Bears will kill you.